The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.
News & Resources
The Sphinx Competition is a national competition offering young Black and Latinx classical string players a chance to compete under the guidance of an internationally renowned panel of judges, and to perform with and receive mentorship from established professional musicians. The repertoire requirements for the 24th Annual Sphinx Competition have been announced and applications have opened online.
The Lewis Prize recently announced their COVID-19 Community Response Fund, which will award $1 million in grants to support youth-serving music programs in their responsive and adaptive efforts during COVID-19. Here is a toolkit that includes more information about the fund. The application process for their annual Accelerator Award will begin as soon as the Community Response grants are awarded.
Andrew Gesing, Program Coordinator, OrKidstra, Ottawa, Canada
“From pizza parties and Frisbee games to movie-watching and intense card matches, Fridays have been something to look even more forward to!” For Noah Linson-Hudson and almost 30 other OrKidstra students, Friday night Chamber Music and Youth Group has been the highlight of the week.
The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation Scholarship Program will award over 40 students attending a four-year college or university with scholarships from $10,000 to $25,000. Highly gifted musicians with an interest in Latin music genres are encouraged to apply. The deadline for consideration has been extended to April 13. Guidelines and application are available online.
The Archipelago Project’s objective is to empower student creativity and ownership by supplying musical knowledge, performance opportunities, and professional models to inspire the next generation of engaged musicians. For the past 15 years, Archipelago Project’s iterative process in curriculum design has resulted in our Musical Leadership Academy, a summer music camp focused on providing a diverse population of students and teaching artists with opportunities to create music together, learn when to lead and to listen, and thrive in the ensemble as a metaphor for community.
Eric Booth, co-founder of The Ensemble Newsletters
In the U.S., Sistema programs shut down in early March—first one, then a few, and within a week, all of them. As safety issues were clear, there was little energy wasted on resisting the hard choice. All the predictable, wonderful energy that had been building toward culminating projects and special fundraising events was immediately redistributed into three basic concerns: money questions (Can we keep paying staff? Can we raise the money we need in other ways?), event questions (How do we provide a sense of celebration and culmination for the year’s work?), and student learning questions (How do we keep the learning going online?).
Joanna Borowski, Director of Education, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
The Sphinx Organization is dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. The distinctive mission of Sphinx, within that context, is to address the underrepresentation of people of color in classical music at every level. Earlier this month, artists and arts leaders from all over the world converged on snowy Detroit—Sphinx’s home base—for a week of Sphinx signature programs, culminating in the fourth annual convening of the SphinxConnect conference.
The D’Addario Foundation supports the growth and development of “high-quality sustainable music instruction programs on the frontline” to make music education more accessible for kids, helping them play early, frequently, and for as many years as possible. Grants average $2,500, and D’Addario awards product donations as well. Applicants should submit a letter of inquiry; invited grant applications will be due March 31, 2020.
Institutional funders of El Sistema-inspired programs are typically limited to those dedicated to the arts and arts education. Foundations supporting social programs might think, “Why would we fund Sistema? That’s arts, which we don’t do.”
Patrick Scafidi, Managing Editor, The Ensemble and The World Ensemble Newsletters
Long before I joined The Ensemble newsletters editorial team a few months ago, I knew about El Sistema. I had read about it, listened to interviews, spoken with people inside the movement. But I hadn’t lived it—had barely seen it up close. I grew up playing jazz and orchestral pieces, but my professional background is as an editor, not a music educator. So I arrived in Durham for the 2020 El Sistema USA Symposium and Seminario expecting to listen to a language I barely understood.