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

Canada Connects

11-03-2020

As El Sistema-inspired programs, we value community. Over the years, programs of various shapes and sizes have sprung up across Canada, laying down roots in priority communities. Although each program is unique in how it strives to support the students and families it serves, we are united as El Sistema-inspired programs in our shared belief in the transformative power of music. We are also bound together in confronting issues that concern all Canadians—issues of income inequality, racism, and systemic oppression, to name a few.

El Sistema Programs Share Their Resources

11-03-2020

As a result of the pandemic, El Sistema programs are launching initiatives that aim to share their learning more widely. Play On Philly is opening its resources and programming to students in non-Sistema programs across the country—not just in Philly. Read more about how they’re doing it here. Similarly, the Harmony Program in New York has developed an original series of YouTube-based beginner music lessons for learners ages 7–10, called “Harmony at Home.” This free, year-long series consists of weekly, 30-minute lessons in music fundamentals from prominent artists, including Joshua Bell, Anthony McGill, Jamie Bernstein, and Imani Winds. No instruments necessary.

Collective Action for Greater Impact

11-03-2020

I am a musician, conductor, and educator who strives to bring reason and connection to my community. This focus was emboldened in 2009 when I was invited by Roberto Zambrano to come to Venezuela as a teaching artist with the Archipelago Project. There, I saw how real community engagement and collective effort can produce excellence. In 2018, I was fortunate to apply for a leadership job with the ROCmusic Collaborative in Rochester, NY. What interested me was the opportunity to work inside an atypical structure that could pool resources and work to recreate the communal spirit I witnessed in Venezuela.

On Organizational Service

11-03-2020

The El Sistema-inspired field is committed to ongoing dialogue, reflection, and adaptation. We regularly analyze our successes and failures, and ask questions like, “What more can we do to support our communities?” and “How can we respond to events happening in our backyards and across the nation?”

Three New Podcasts

10-07-2020

Three new podcasts have been launched to broaden your musical perspective. First, Garrett McQueen has co-created a classical music podcast called Trilloquy with Classical MPR host Scott Blankenship. The podcast seeks to explore and uplift classical music of all cultures beyond the Western European canon. The Lewis Prize has also announced the launch news of Original Score, an Indigenous perspective on music, a new podcast produced by Navajo composer and Native American Composer Apprentice Project (NACAP) teaching artist Michael Begay. Read more and share widely using their Announcement Toolkit. And finally, the Atlanta Music Project has launched a podcast series hosted by Cofounder and CEO Dantes Rameau. Titled The Next Movement, it features in-depth video interviews with artistic luminaries that culminate in Q & As with AMP students and faculty. Watch Episode 1 here.

Essays About Arts Leadership Posted to The Lewis Prize for Music Website

10-07-2020

The Lewis Prize for Music has expanded its website to feature essays about “Responsive and Collaborative Leadership” by its three 2020 Accelerator Awardees: Brandon Steppe, Ian Mouser, and Sebastian Ruth. The three essays give insight into these leaders’ and their programs’ focus on building trusting relationships with young people, using creativity to support youth mental health, and rethinking the Euro-centric norms of classical music to foster more egalitarian and inclusive musical practices.

Funds Available from Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund of Arts Administrators of Color

10-07-2020

Microgrants of $200 are available for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) artists and arts administrators impacted by COVID-19, from the Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund of Arts Administrators of Color.

Northeast Seminario Drop Party Recording

10-07-2020

From August 10–14, El Sistema USA and the Collective Conservatory partnered to host the Northeastern Seminario, this time with a special focus on blues music. Eight programs from the Northeast participated in this virtual Seminario, providing the 60 participating young musicians with many opportunities to connect and collaborate. Their week of jamming and improvising together will be presented in a live “Drop Party,” taking place Thursday, October 8, at 7:00 p.m. EDT. Check out ESUSA’s Facebook page for the watch link, which will be accessible after the event as well.

SphinxConnect and LEAD Applications Open

10-07-2020

Things are (always) busy over at Sphinx. Registration is open for SphinxConnect, their annual convening of artists and leaders who advance diversity in music learning. Happening January 28–30, 2021, this year’s theme will be Unity. Also, applications are open for the next LEAD cohort, due by October 20. LEAD (Leaders in Excellence, Arts & Diversity) is a two-year professional empowerment program that annually selects ten arts leaders of color to work with a distinguished faculty; LEAD includes mentorship, networking, and leadership retreats at top institutions nationwide. Finally, now is the time to apply for the 24th Annual Competition for young Black and Latinx classical string players. The deadline to apply is October 20, 11:59pm EDT.

Youth Orchestra Commissioning Initiative Call For Score

10-07-2020

A new initiative has launched to promote the composition of original works for remote performance, intended to amplify the work of women and composers of color: The Youth Orchestra Commissioning Initiative. Many of the initial compositions in this project are intended to be recorded separately and assembled as a video performance. Youth orchestras who join will be required to contribute at least one original composition and will have cheap access to the entire library of works. Click here to begin an application and learn more about current members.

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