Student Voice & Leadership
The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.
News & Resources
The WE Ambassadors were recently invited to participate in the El Sistema USA 2021 National Symposium and Seminario. They participated in various events and hosted their own panel discussion on “The Magic of Music Mentoring Around the World.” For the latter, they filmed videos of themselves proudly talking about their musical programs. Here is what they had to say about the experience.
The Colburn School’s Center for Innovation and Community Impact is expanding Fortissima to become national. Launched by Jazmín Morales in 2017, Fortissima is an artistic and leadership development program for high school–age young women from minorities underrepresented in classical music who show an interest in pursuing a career in orchestral music.
The YOLA National Festival has extended the audition window for its July 2021 orchestral training program. The new deadline is March 6 (originally March 1). Open to students from all Sistema-inspired programs, students ages 12–18 are encouraged to apply for one of the two ensembles: the Symphony Orchestra (ages 14–18) or the Chamber Orchestra (ages 12–14).
Patrick Scafidi, Executive Editor of The Ensemble News
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.
The YOLA National Festival has opened its audition portal for its July 2021 orchestral training program. Open to students from all Sistema-inspired programs; students ages 12–18 are encouraged to apply for one of the two ensembles, the Symphony Orchestra (ages 14–18) or the Chamber Orchestra (ages 12–14). The intensive experience is tentatively scheduled to take place in person in Southern California, but an official update on in-person vs. virtual programming options will be shared no later than April 1. Applications are due March 1 and recommendation letters are due March 8.
You probably have several secret (or not-so-secret) young songwriters in your program—pass this resource along to them. Carnegie Hall has posted a five-part workshop on “How to Write a Song,” led by songwriter and performer Bridget Barkan. The series explores the power of songs and provides a step-by-step approach to crafting a song that expresses ideas and emotions; finding inspiration; writing a chorus, verse, and bridge; and making sure that the song has the communicative power of personal voice.
Last month, Brooklyn, NY native Grace Moore became the youngest composer to have their composition performed by the New York Philharmonic. Grace is a 7th grader who recently participated in the Philharmonic’s program. Grace talks about her upbringing, her passion for music, and the significance of being a young woman composer of color in .
The Orchestra of the Americas Launches Virtual 2021 Orchestra Training Program This Spring—Deadline 12.1.2020
Eduardo Méndez, Executive Director, Fundamusical
As the new school year takes off, we think it is a good moment to reach out to our friends in Sistema-inspired projects around the world, to share our experiences in teaching and caring for our kids throughout the months of quarantine.
Axelle Miel, Ambassadors Program Leader (Philippines)
Aside from working together on projects and publishing updates about their respective Sistema programs, Ambassadors are given the opportunity to receive various forms of enrichment throughout the year. This month, they met with Tricia Tunstall, who cofounded The Ensemble and The World Ensemble newsletters and authored the seminal book Playing for Their Lives: The Global El Sistema Movement for Social Change Through Music.