North America

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

Social Change from Within: Learning Human Values Through Music

03-30-2019

Social change, the primary objective of most El Sistema programs, is usually thought of as an external challenge. Addressing such challenges as poverty, violence, racism, inequitably funded schools, language barriers, and other familiar obstacles to success often involves outside foundations bringing in programs to the communities of need. This work is critical and important, and needs to continue and grow. However, because true change also must come from within a community, looking within ourselves to more reflective practices can help provide context, clarity, and purpose.

The Ambassadors’ Exchange, March 2019

03-01-2019

On 9 February, the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth (OFY), led by their conductor Joshua Dos Santos, performed a pre-Valentine’s Day concert titled “Musika at Misyon” (Music and Mission) at the Sun Life Amphitheater in the BGC Arts Center in Taguig, Metro Manila. They played an eclectic mix of pieces, from classical works such as Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance No. 8 and Wagner’s Rienzi Overture, to fun pieces such as the “Mission Impossible” theme and “Mambos” by Toussaint and Perez Prado, as well as classic Filipino favorites. What made this concert special was that for a few pieces, the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth and the Ang Misyon Children’s Orchestra performed as one ensemble for the first time.

OrKidstra Sings at Canada’s National Hockey Game

03-01-2019

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El Sistema USA Leads 2019 National Symposium

03-01-2019

Over two hundred program leaders, teaching artists, supporters and advocates of the El Sistema movement in the United States came together in Detroit, Michigan in January, to reflect upon current practice and explore promising new directions in the field.  The gathering was designed and led by El Sistema USA, a national organization whose membership includes many Sistema-inspired programs.

EDITORIAL: Inspiration from Venezuelan Master Teachers

03-01-2019

The U.S. El Sistema-inspired movement felt like “a field” at the El Sistema USA National Symposium in Detroit, Michigan this past January, as we honored our lineage together and shared new ideas about how to advance our practice. The symposium brought together more than 200 Sistema colleagues, representing 80 organizations and hailing from 28 different states, for a day and a half of intensive dialogue and interactive demonstrations.  Elsewhere in this issue we will report on some of the key features of the Symposium, but this editorial focuses on one distinctive aspect of El Sistema:  Venezuela.

Join the Global Leaders Program

03-01-2019

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FROM THE EDITOR, March 2019

03-01-2019

I am lucky enough to have been able to go to Venezuela and see El Sistema in action, during those golden years when the Sistema threw its doors open wide to an international multitude of visiting musicians and Maestro Abreu dreamed of Caracas becoming the Vienna of the 21st century. Sadly, it’s hard to visit Venezuela at all now, and El Sistema struggles with the same desperate economic and political crisis that grips everyone in that beautiful and beleaguered country. For the global Sistema community, the poignant silver lining of the crisis is the evolution of a kind of Sistema diaspora, with many Venezeulan master teachers, teaching artists and conductors working with programs around the world.

The Symposium: A Reflection

03-01-2019

When I landed in Detroit, Michigan on January 29th for the El Sistema USA Symposium, warnings about the extreme winter temperatures were all over the radio, but I needed to find out on my own. So I took a short walk in my Atlanta “winter clothes”: sneakers, a small coat, no gloves. At that moment, I realized that the next time I went outside in Detroit would be to catch the plane back to Atlanta!

The El Sistema USA National Symposium

03-01-2019

It was clear that the 2019 El Sistema USA National Symposium was going to be special when, in the midst of a historic cold spell, over 200 attendees representing 80 different El Sistema-inspired organizations braved sub-zero temperatures to attend. Attendees arrived early for the welcome and filled the ballroom with the type of vibrant energy surrounding a convening of friends for their annual trip. Christine Taylor Conda, the ESUSA board chair, chose to forgo the typical welcome and, instead, immediately had the entire room singing a three-part song to meet and welcome one another, setting a tone of collaboration and camaraderie for the symposium.

Save the Date: Make Music Day will be 21 June

02-10-2019

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