North America

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

U.S.A. National Sistema Orchestra Members Visit the Barbican

02-05-2020

Since last July, I have had the distinct pleasure of participating in the inaugural cohort of the YOLA National Institute (YNI). YNI, an initiative launched last year by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, is an in-depth training program for young musicians interested in pursuing a career in the field of music. It consists of selected members of the YOLA National Symphony Orchestra, an audition-only ensemble that is the first nationwide El Sistema orchestra in the United States and that performs every summer at the YOLA National Festival.

Inclusion through Tiered-Parts Music

02-04-2020

How to find repertoire that excites our students and invites inclusion of their many different skill levels? The Harmony Project Phoenix (HPP) has been exploring this question in the course of a several-year partnership with Arizona State University (ASU).

Harmonizing Across Many Languages

02-04-2020

At Sistema New Brunswick (NB) on Canada’s east coast, we’ve recently faced a unique challenge with broad implications: How best to integrate students of disparate languages into one program? What began in 2009 with one centre and 50 children has grown to over 1,200 children daily, in ten locations, all learning and playing orchestral music. Until September 2019, however, all of these students worked in their own districts, using their own languages.

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.

Athens to Texas: “We’re With You”

01-08-2020

Over the past few months, some El Sistema activists in the United States have been mobilizing resources to launch an El Sistema program this month for immigrant children in Tornillo, Texas, who are living in the acute stress of the border crisis. Raising money for this has been a challenge; a music industry charity, the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation, recently came through with sufficient support, with help from the Leonard Bernstein Foundation, but many funders with deep pockets don’t understand how ensemble music learning can alleviate a humanitarian crisis.

Share Your Time & Talent: Sistema Connect

01-08-2020

Looking for a meaningful New Year’s Resolution that will benefit children and your own musical journey? Sign up to become a Sistema Connect Volunteer and help an emerging El Sistema program, whether through travel or from the comfort of your home. Sistema Connect is a new initiative founded in the U.S.; its mission is to connect people who want to share their skills with programs who need those skills.

Editorial: January 2020

01-07-2020

At the start of every New Year, I look for inspiration, and this week I found it. “It (Still) Takes a Village,” Krystle Ford’s article also in this issue, reports on the work of the Indianapolis Symphony’s Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, which seeks to engage multiple generations of family members in its El Sistema work.

It (Still) Takes a Village

01-07-2020

What does it mean to teach with a village mentality? This is what we do every day at the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra (MYO). Families learning alongside one another is at the core of our program.

Editorial: December 2019

12-03-2019

Right on time, after ten years of start-up and growth, Sistema programs in the U.S. are entering a new phase, in which we are ready to embark on an exploration of the “Q” word: quality—an essential building block of excellence.

Sistema as School: WHIN’s Ways of Being

12-03-2019

As the world has seen El Sistema stretch far beyond the barrios of Venezuela, musicians, educators and citizen artists around the globe have been experimenting with how to use the principles and ideologies of Maestro Abreu in new and exciting ways. In northern Manhattan, that experiment takes the form of the WHIN (Washington Heights & Inwood) Music Community Charter School, an inclusive full-day charter founded on the principles of El Sistema.

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