December 2018

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

Supporting the Young Artist’s Initiative


This fall marks the second year of an exciting new talent development program at Play On Philly! Our Emerging Artist Collective (PEAC) is a cohort of nearly twenty students who have demonstrated the utmost dedication and whose families have demonstrated the devotion needed for success. Unlike all other Play On Philly students, those in PEAC receive private lessons and advocacy as they navigate Philadelphia’s musical landscape. As director of this program, I work to show them that a life playing music and immersed in music is a true possibility for them.

What It Really Takes


Tuned In is a music program based in Baltimore City that provides free, top-notch musical training for young musicians. As a Tuned In graduate, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of people from a lot of non-profit art programs. Most of all, I really enjoy meeting people who are in the beginning stages of launching their own program.

From the Editor


I’ve been thinking lately about the problematic nature of the relationship between Sistema and pop music. I don’t mean the genre issue. I am a fan of many current pop artists and much pop music. And I think it’s absolutely essential that Sistema programs embrace ensemble arrangements of the pop music that is meaningful to our kids. So this is not about “classical” versus “pop.” Rather, it’s about the collaborative ethos at the heart of Sistema versus the cult of individual celebrity that dominates pop culture.

Students from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia Perform Together


On November 13, a combined orchestra and choir composed of students from three Balkan countries performed a concert at the Vatroslav Lisinski Councert Hall in Zagreb, Croatia. Over 300 students from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia came together for this performance; it was the first joint performance of these three Balkan El Sistema programs. The Bosnian program “House of Good Tones Srebrenica” was the organizer of the event.

Teachers from Mexico and Germany Learn Together


In October, ten teachers from Musica Para la Vida (Music for Life) in Mexico traveled to Berlin, Germany to participate in an international seminar, organized in part by the Federal Association of Cultural Education for Children and Youth of Germany.

Youth Orchestra of Namibia News


Our first two concerts of the second school term were at retirement homes. The first concert was on 29 June at Susanne Grau Heim and the next one was on 18 July at the Katutura Old Age Home. Because 18 July was the birthday of the late Nelson Mandela, we chose to celebrate his centenary by giving our music, time and small gifts to the elderly residents.

Introducing the L.A. Orchestra Fellowship


A model to adopt?  This was the first year of the L.A. Orchestra Fellowship, a two-year intensive for musicians who play violin, viola and cello.


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