El Sistema Sweden
News & Resources
Last month, El Sistema Sweden and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra held their annual international Side by Side camp, welcoming participants from Sweden, Greenland, Venezuela, the U.S., and elsewhere to play and learn together. For the second straight year, the pandemic forced the camp to take place online, but the results were no less beautiful.
Your students can sign up for El Sistema Sweden’s gigantic summer camp, Side by Side Digital, until May 21. This camp is for musicians ages 6-23 from around the world; musicians can join one of 16 different ensemble tracks (based on experience level and interest), including six different choruses. The repertoire is online. You have probably heard about it because of its size when in person, but now young people everywhere can join digitally.
Interviewed by Patrick Scafidi, Executive Editor of The Ensemble News
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 Sweden Presses Forward with Open Call for Side by Side Orchestra and Choir Camp—deadline Feb. 7
This past year, El Sistema Sweden and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra demonstrated how effective virtual programming could be in hosting an all-digital Side by Side International Youth Orchestra and Choir Camp. Normally a summer hub for over a thousand young musicians from all over the world, the online camp still provided an intense week of youth empowerment and ensemble playing.
Back in June, El Sistema Sweden and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra were forced to adapt their annual Side by Side music camp to COVID times, transitioning an event that usually hosts over 2,500 young musicians into an entirely virtual experience. Having long desired a digital platform to complement the in-person camp, they hit the ground running. The result? Side by Side Digital, a virtual music camp that hosted 700 participants from 30-plus countries. Their performance of The Lion King’s “Circle of Life,” put together by Christer Hedberg from &friends, combines self-filmed clips with camp recordings from the Concert Hall. In the words of ES Sweden, “‘Circle of Life’ represents for us in a very brilliant way the basic idea behind Side by Side—that music can unite us beyond all boundaries.”
Have you ever been in collegial dialogue with colleagues in Europe? Join two hour-long discussions with El Sistema Sweden and Sistema Europe members in May. The first discussion is on Wednesday, May 6, 17:00 CEST/1:00pm EDT, focusing on Non-Digital Teaching Tools. What activities can we organize to warm up, to create energy, and to manage larger groups? The second discussion is on Wednesday May 20, 17:00 CEST/1:00pm EDT. The topic: Developing Groups and Repertoire. How can we best advance learning in groups, and what repertoire fits best? The discussions will be recorded and later made available on FB/IG. Register by email; you will receive a Zoom link.
Takeaways from El Sistema Academy 2020: The Importance of Reflexivity, Fun, and the Dominant Seventh Chord
Patricia Abdelnour, former Deputy Director of Internal Relations for El Sistema Venezuela
Every year, El Sistema Sweden organizes a three-day symposium, inviting great teachers from Sweden and elsewhere to share their experience and knowledge with an attendee group of music educators who work for social change. I had the joy of attending this year, and I’m still feeling excited about all the things I learned.
Tricia Tunstall, Co-Founder and Executive Editor, The World Ensemble
Over the past few months, some El Sistema activists in the United States have been mobilizing resources to launch an El Sistema program this month for immigrant children in Tornillo, Texas, who are living in the acute stress of the border crisis. Raising money for this has been a challenge; a music industry charity, the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation, recently came through with sufficient support, with help from the Leonard Bernstein Foundation, but many funders with deep pockets don’t understand how ensemble music learning can alleviate a humanitarian crisis.
Emily Kubitskey, Teaching Artist/Conductor
Often, when we think about the word ‘culture,’ we think about the qualities of a community—its shared music, food, or religion. However, the word is derived from the Latin word ‘colere,’ which means to tend or cultivate; so when we take a more active perspective, we can define culture as ‘the medium for growth.’
Yefren Carrero Murrilo, Artistic Director, Passeurs d’Arts, France
Side by Side by El Sistema Sweden is a huge and unique international youth music camp that happens each year during the week of the summer solstice. It is sponsored by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in partnership with El Sistema Sweden and the city of Gothenburg. This summer, we at Passeurs D’Arts in France were thrilled to bring 18 of our students to the camp—they are between 7 and 17 years old, and come from two of our nucleos, Tutti Passeurs D’Arts Méditerranée and Garges-les-Gonesse in Paris.