the ensemble

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

FROM THE EDITOR

08-01-2017

On Saturday night, July 22, there were 101 young musicians on the stage of the Walt Disney Concert Hall: the first-ever national Sistema orchestra of the United States.

One hundred and one – there is something intensely human about that number. It suggests that the organizers set out to recruit a hundred student musicians – but then there was that one more vivid, luminous youngster they couldn’t leave out.

Helping Teenage Students

07-01-2017

The Youth Apprentice Program grew directly out of a need expressed by high school-aged students at MYCincinnati, an El Sistema-inspired program now entering its seventh year. They wanted to continue playing music at MYCincinnati, but they felt pressure to gain meaningful work experience, support their families, and begin a path toward financial independence. This new program provides meaningful employment, job training, and work experience for current MYCincinnati students.

From the Publisher

07-01-2017

How much should teaching artists in El Sistema-inspired programs be paid?

It’s a fool’s mission to come up with a hard number, because there are too many variables and particularities to factor in. But I can bring some hard-number research to bear on the question.

Partnering With Schools

07-01-2017

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Professional Orchestras & Us

06-01-2017

In 1992 I travelled to Caracas with my colleague Tania Leone, the wonderful Cuban-American composer, to begin plans for an American Composers Orchestra festival of Venezuelan music at Carnegie Hall. Tania knew all about El Sistema and José Antonio Abreu, and of course we paid him a visit. It was inconceivable to me then that the principles of El Sistema could ever take hold in America. But since the movement has in fact arrived, its impact on American orchestras has been profound. El Sistema has been an amazing spark, awakening orchestras to their enormous potential for playing an active role in creating a just society.

From the Editor

06-01-2017

Here’s a question. When your program is in high gear and the teaching is strenuous, the leadership challenges are complex, and the students’ needs seem to be changing constantly (i.e., all the time), is your first impulse to spend an entire Sunday in a room with your colleagues, talking?

Meet, and Join, Sistema Connect

06-01-2017

If you work in an El Sistema-inspired program, chances are high that you experience some sort of struggle on a daily basis, whether it’s a grant deadline, finding quality teachers, or fixing a broken instrument moments before a concert begins. Without diminishing the weight of these struggles, we should be aware that there are emerging Sistema programs across the globe with greater challenges than anything we might face in our own backyard. These are programs with no instruments; no access to quality teachers for hundreds of miles, except for the founder who volunteers his or her time; and, for some programs, the psychological impact of war and famine, or refugee camps filled with children who have never felt a sense of belonging.

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