In February 2022, the Philharmonie de Paris was filled with the music of young people from across the continent. Young musicians from all 27 E.U. member states, representing 15 European Sistema-inspired initiatives, came together to participate in an ambitious project—Orchestre Démos Europe.
This past April, we told you about Boston Public Schools’ partnership with Boston Music Project, during which students worked alongside teaching artists to compose original music that shared their perspectives from the pandemic.
A new video series that blends music, film, interviews, spoken word, and dance offers young creatives a chance to examine how artists respond to the world around them.
From the Motherland is an on-demand virtual concert experience hosted by Castle of Our Skins, a concert and educational series dedicated to celebrating Black artistry through music. The event explores “Zimbabwean cultural roots and a personal rite of passage into womanhood.” There is a “pay-what-you-like” donation associated with the series, which goes directly to supporting original works from artists such as Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa Nzou Mambano, who composed, directed, arranged, and performed the concert’s music. Ticket and program information can be found at castleskins.org.
Symphony is a new virtual reality film that offers a chance to experience classical music in a new way. Integrating two films by Igor Cortadellas, the project features Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in addition to 41 young people—making an ensemble of 101 people from 22 countries, performing pieces by Mahler, Beethoven, and Bernstein. The young musicians came together from Venezuela, Sweden, Spain, Argentina, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Colombia, and the U.S. for a two-day leadership development seminario in Spain in 2019. The film experience is presented in two specially outfitted mobile pop-up cinemas. The first film explores the power of music in three young musicians’ lives, in Colombia, New York, and on the Mediterranean coast; the second film is the immersive VR journey inside the orchestral experience. Symphony will tour the world for ten years, spending its first year in dozens of cities and towns in Portugal and Spain. If you are interested in possibly hosting a visit, write: firstname.lastname@example.org. This project comes from a partnership between the Dudamel Foundation (co-chaired by Dudamel and his wife, actress María Valverde) and “la Caixa” Foundation. Its goal is to provide a new way to excite people, especially young people, about the power and beauty of orchestral music.
Interviewed by Patrick Scafidi, Executive Editor of The Ensemble News
Last month, the Royal Swedish Academy of Music recognized Dream Orchestra Director (and El Sistema Sweden Artistic Director) Ron Davis Álvarez with the Göran Lagervall Pedagogy Prize for “his activities in 40 cultural schools, where he renewed the pedagogical orchestral tradition with his experience from Venezuela.” Just days later, Álvarez conducted a performance for the Global Teacher Prize Award Gala, hosted digitally this year. A former candidate for the Global Teacher Prize himself, Álvarez conducted 70 students from ten countries in a performance of Sara Bareilles’ song “Brave.” Afterward, Álvarez was kind enough to sit down with The World Ensemble to discuss his busy week, his experiences with the Dream Orchestra, and his pedagogical philosophy.
The first time I smelled tear gas, it was a January morning around 10:00 a.m. I was sitting in the car alongside Franco Toro Contreras, the Music Director at Enrique Soro Music School in Quilicura, Chile. Franco picked me up every morning from Monday through Friday at the “Zona Cero” in Santiago, ten miles from the school. Against a backdrop of political and economic upheaval, we drove every morning through the smell of tear gas that had been deployed against protesters the previous night. Despite this troubled socio-political situation—and the fact that I was teaching summer classes—I noticed that attendance never wavered throughout my time at the school.
The People’s Music School has announced its Performapaloozathon (Virtual Edition) on June 21, 3-4 p.m. CDT on Facebook Live. This culminates a series of 22 events across Chicago, a virtual showcase of over 800 students.
Aisha Moody, Cofounder and Chief Program Officer, Atlanta Music Project, GA
In February of this year, the Atlanta Music Project presented a monthlong concert series celebrating music of the African Diaspora. The Music of the African Diaspora Concert Series garnered much attention and welcomed larger audiences than most AMP events. Its success led us to make the series an annual event, not only due to our supporters’ positive response but also because of its impact on our young musicians during and leading up to the concerts.