Latin America

The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

“Future Farming”: A Case for Investing in Top Talent

06-01-2020

Ilumina is a musical social equity project, chamber music festival, and touring ensemble based in São Paulo, Brazil. Our talent development model is to invest deep, not wide. Each year, we select 25 young South American musicians with extraordinary potential, ages 18-26, using an extremely selective YouTube audition and written application. Our hypothesis (we call it “future farming”) is that deep investment and extraordinary access for potential leaders will sow the seeds for exponential transformation and good teaching down the social and educational pyramid.

Orquesta Juvenil de Curanilahue: Reflecting on the 25-year History of One of Chile’s First Youth Orchestras

05-04-2020

When you arrive in Curanilahue, Chile, one of the first things you see is a large statue of an upright wooden hand. The smaller replicas available for purchase in town read, “Tengo las manos ásperas pero hay pan en mi mesa,” which roughly  translates to: “Though our hands are worn, there is bread on the table.” This blue-collar mantra embodies the economy, culture, and subconscious of the region. From an outsider’s perspective, people are humble and work hard when given the opportunity. Small sheet-metal houses line the streets, and nothing really stands out.

Nurturing the Artistry in Leadership: Wind Conductor Development In Chile

04-02-2020

This was my initial mindset in December of 2019, when I received news that I was to lead a Wind Conductor Intensive in Santiago as part of my work with the Global Leaders Program. I was delighted to learn that one of my most important early mentors, Maestro Carl Hammond, would also be in Santiago working with me as a co-clinician on this course.

Music Was Made in the Jungle

03-04-2020

In a little jungle-engulfed town in the Bolivian Amazon sits a music program that has changed the region’s social, cultural, and artistic complexion: The Music School of San Ignacio de Moxos. The school began without much forethought. Seeing it as an opportunity to pass along the musical legacy of Jesuit missions, a nun of the order of the Ursulines of Jesus opened the school in 1996 to encourage musical learning among her teenagers. Despite its modest aspirations, the school grew into something more impactful than she ever could have expected.

El Sistema Venezuela Turns 45

03-04-2020

Last month, we celebrated another landmark year for El Sistema Venezuela. In its 45 years of activity, this institution has created an unfathomable number of transformative experiences for the people of Venezuela and the rest of the world. This anniversary gives us an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of now three generations of Venezuelan youth, and the legacy of our dearly remembered Maestro José Antonio Abreu.

Strength Through Musical Alliance in San Antonio, Chile

02-05-2020

This is the battle cry, originally from a famous Chilean protest song of the seventies, that resonates in the streets of Chile in recent weeks. The Chilean people occupied public spaces to demand a fairer state and to fight against inequality and social injustice. The rest of the world watches, shocked, at the tragic occurrences unfolding in the protests, and condemns the violence. As, of course, do I.

New Catalogue of Latin American Cello Music

01-23-2020

The new Sphinx Catalog of Latin American Works powerfully dispels the idea that “classical music” is a uniquely European creation. The library, released by the Sphinx Organization, is the most extensive of its kind, with more than 2,200 entries of cello music from Latin American composers ranging from 1783 to the present.

The Bolivars Bring Their New Sound to Russia

01-08-2020

The Bolívars are back!

In December 2019, the 155-member Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, led by Maestro Christian Vasquez, were invited to perform in Russia. It was the first official tour since March 2017 for this orchestra, and a real celebration for their return to the international scene.

A Mexican Village Hosts an International Music Festival

11-06-2019

The Naolinco International Music Festival (Festival Internacional de Música Naolinco) is an annual summer music festival that takes place in the municipality of Naolinco, Veracruz, Mexico. The motto of the festival roughly translates to “the project that will gather all.” This motto expresses the idea that music can be a factor in bringing people together in order to work towards a common goal. The festival has become a project that goes beyond music making—it is a project for social change, since it gives people an opportunity to be united around a music project that now the community has embraced as its own.

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