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.

Creating the COVID-19 Community Response Fund

07-01-2020

The Lewis Prize for Music, a philanthropic foundation established in the United States in 2018, is guided by the mission of partnering with leaders who create positive change by investing in young people through music. We were only two months past announcing our inaugural awards when the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders took effect. At the time, we were finalizing our internal evaluation and identifying lessons learned. We were excited to nearly double the time frame of our process by opening the 2021 Accelerator Award letter of interest in late spring.

Ambassador Updates, July 2020

07-01-2020

These past three months have been quite a challenge. We have experienced increased country-wide unemployment, gender-based violence, murder cases, robbery, and much more throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. The Ghetto Classics programs in all centers were closed, and that meant no music for us because most of us depend on the program’s instruments.

Superar Celebrates Ten Years of International Music-Making

07-01-2020

What can we do to exert a positive impact on society?

That was the question asked in 2009 by our three founding organizations in Vienna—the Vienna Boys Choir, the Vienna Konzerthaus, and Caritas of the Archdiocese of Vienna. The response was to envision a place where music would be the joining element, the core engine to reach equal opportunity, and the key to reenergizing what is most essential in society: justice, personal realization, and solidarity.

Strengthening Our Shared Humanity through Music

07-01-2020

This school year and concert season end in strange circumstances for all of us around the world. For me, this momentous—and for so many, catastrophic—“pause” is, in part, a time to reflect on the value and nature of the work I do. I feel very fortunate in my many professional activities; it is as a choral conductor, however, that I am most invested in trying to make a difference in the world.

Sangeet4All: Celebrating Multiple Musical Cultures

07-01-2020

Sangeet4All is a music education program that connects children in India with Indian classical and folk music in a fun and meaningful way. I started the program with my husband, Shubhendra Rao, in 2014; our first students were 15 girls in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Delhi. The Sangeet4All program now runs in 18 schools in the regions of NCR, Gujarat, and Punjab.

Positive Fatalism and Social Music Projects in Kinshasa, DR Congo

07-01-2020

In Kinshasa, the majority of the population, which is close to 10 million, subsists on less than 2 USD a day—and this is in a place where life, at best, is expensive. Many people live in excruciating poverty. They exist in survival mode. Disease, hunger, and death are omnipresent. There is little prospect of improvement; on the contrary, the standard of living appears to be worsening for millions of people in Kinshasa. On top of the struggle to survive, they must also reckon with politicians, police, and soldiers, who may harass or rob them, or worse.

Prioritizing Families in NEOJIBA’s Virtual Programming

07-01-2020

NEOJIBA is a public El Sistema-inspired program in Brazil, founded by Ricardo Castro in 2007 and implemented by the State of Bahia through the Secretariat of Justice, Human Rights, and Social Development (Secretaria de Justiça, Direitos Humanos e Desenvolvimento Social). One of our most critical components is the Social Development Sector, which is composed of eight professionals with educational backgrounds in social work and psychology. These professionals work daily to ameliorate socioeconomic and educational inequalities that confront many of our students, and to provide full access to social rights. They also provide individual and/or group psychosocial appointments for students and their families. Through attentive and qualified listening, our professionals enable families to work through social circumstances and establish intervention strategies. These unfold in a set of actions, tailored to each individual or family, that help participants work through their specific issues.

Ambassador Updates, June 2020

06-02-2020

At the moment I started writing this, there were about 3 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, nearly 1.5 million in Europe alone. Now, here in my home country of Serbia, the situation is settling, and everything is easier. The media is already back to discussing the economy, politics, and showbusiness. No one seems to mention how hard this is for the school system. Students are used to contact with their teachers—eye-to-eye conversations in real classrooms—and now everything is online.

The Amani Project Partners with U.S. El Sistema Teachers-in-Training

06-01-2020

As students in Longy School of Music’s El Sistema-inspired Masters of Arts in Teaching program, we have recently partnered with the Amani Project, a global nonprofit that uses music to serve youth in Sri Lanka, South Africa, Colombia, India, and many more countries around the world. We have found this collaboration to be a crucial reminder of perhaps the most important part of the El Sistema philosophy: social change. While technical excellence is prioritized in standard music pedagogy, El Sistema pushes us to bring musical competency and social justice into convergence. However, despite being in an El Sistema-inspired program, as music teachers we sometimes lose sight of ideals beyond music for music’s sake.

“Future Farming”: A Case for Investing in Top Talent

06-01-2020

Ilumina is a musical social equity project, chamber music festival, and touring ensemble based in São Paulo, Brazil. Our talent development model is to invest deep, not wide. Each year, we select 25 young South American musicians with extraordinary potential, ages 18-26, using an extremely selective YouTube audition and written application. Our hypothesis (we call it “future farming”) is that deep investment and extraordinary access for potential leaders will sow the seeds for exponential transformation and good teaching down the social and educational pyramid.

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