the world ensemble

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

Diversity and Inclusion: A Challenge from Tokyo

01-06-2021

Tokyo White Hands Chorus (TWHC) is a socially inclusive choral group based in Tokyo. Although we initially started with the singing group, comprised of hearing impaired and challenged children, the group now also includes a vocal group of visually impaired and challenged children.

The Fifth Annual International SIMM-posium Will Be Free and Online

01-06-2021

The fifth annual international SIMM-posium (Research Symposium on the Social Impact of Making Music), originally scheduled to occur in Brussels last month, has been postponed and reorganized as a nine-week series of online webinars beginning on January 12. The webinars are free and open to all. You can find detailed information on the full program on the SIMM website. Registration is on the Bozar website; you must register for each session separately.

The Ambassadors’ 2020 Online Musical Pen Pal Project: Part 2

01-06-2021

Throughout the month of November, The World Ensemble Ambassadors organized a pen pal project among five programs scattered across the globe. The project involved musical improvisation activities, games on Zoom, and one-on-one communication between pen pals. It culminated in a creative activity in early December wherein each pen pal group that allowed each group of pen pals to create short videos summarizing their experiences with the project. Below, you can read two Ambassadors’ reflections on the project and view their final videos.

The Abreu Chamber Choir

01-06-2021

The Abreu Chamber Choir (ACC) is a vocal group formed by young Venezuelan singers who grew up in El Sistema programs but are currently residing in several countries in Europe. The group was founded because of a desire to return to making music with colleagues and friends. We have organized a number of concerts, collaborative learning days, and training workshops for young singers and conductors, continuing the legacy and visionary teachings of Maestro José Antonio Abreu.

A Musical and Communal Journey in Lesotho and South Africa

01-06-2021

The story of music education as a catalyst for social change in South Africa and Lesotho is long and complicated. The history of human struggle and social unrest in southern Africa is well documented, but it gave birth to a new era of growth and potential for its people. One might say that in the wake of South Africa’s newfound freedom from Apartheid, democracy opened many doors to Black South Africans. Within that greater context, I share my own musical journey as a snapshot of three decades of music, equity, and opportunity in South Africa and Lesotho.

Technical Magic: 11-Year-Old Grace Moore Debuts Composition with the New York Philharmonic

01-06-2021

On October 9, 2020, Brooklyn 7th-grader Grace Moore stood in front of an audience of New Yorkers. At 11 years of age, she was debuting her first composition, “Summer.” Grace is a participant in the Very Young Composers (VYC) program, a now-international program initiated by the New York Philharmonic over two decades ago. In the VYC, students are empowered to compose and notate their own original works while guided and supported by Philharmonic Teaching Artists. In this alone, the VYC already echoes the spirit of El Sistema, but that is not what made Grace’s debut remarkable. It was momentous because her work was performed, in its debut, by musicians in the New York Philharmonic. This is the standout element of the Very Young Composers program: young participants get to see and hear their work performed by Philharmonic musicians—and sometimes, the full orchestra.

A Letter from the Founders

01-06-2021

Let’s bring in the new year with a quick look back. We launched The Ensemble a decade ago to help strengthen the emerging movement of United States and Canadian programs inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema. Five years later, we realized the global Sistema-inspired movement was developing so fast it required a newsletter of its own, and we started The World Ensemble. We started these newsletters because we wanted you to hear one another’s voices. And we wanted the world to hear all of your voices. It’s a continuing joy to help programs in far-flung places connect with, support, and learn from each other.

Introducing the 2021 World Ensemble Ambassadors

01-06-2021

The World Ensemble Ambassadors are a group of youth musicians representing different Sistema-based programs around the globe. We are pleased to announce the third cohort of Ambassadors, who hail from eight countries and nine programs. 

An Interview with Dream Orchestra Founder/Director Ron Davis Álvarez

01-06-2021

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.

El Sistema USA Invites Sistema Europe to Participate in Upcoming Virtual National Symposium and Seminario

01-06-2021

El Sistema USA invites Sistema Europe to take part in its upcoming virtual National Symposium and Seminario (February 15–19) by presenting a session entitled “All Change! – Exploring European Sistema Strategies at a Time of Challenge” on 17 February (EST 12 noon -1 pm, CET 6 -7 pm, GMT 5 – 6 pm). Sistema Europe program leaders and teachers are invited to submit a proposal to make a brief (5–7 minute) presentation about their program’s specific pandemic response initiatives and their context, results, and impact. Approximately four presenters will be invited to speak, with a particular emphasis on the diversity and originality of various responses. Please send yourproposals by 13 January 2021 by email to marshall@sistemaeurope.org and maria@sistemaeurope.org. Ten to fifteen lines will be ideal to outline what you would like to present.

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