The Lewis Prize for Music

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

The Lewis Prize for Music Opens Applications for 2022 Accelerator Awards

06-01-2021

The Lewis Prize for Music is now accepting 2022 Accelerator Awards applications. Accelerator Awards are open to Creative Youth Development (CYD) music organizations seeking to influence youth-serving systems so that all young people have access to learning, creating, and performing experiences that reflect their culture and identity. Applications are open until July 16, 2021, at 5 p.m. PST.

Midcasting* Toward Just Futures: Creative Youth Development’s Waymaking to Systems Change through and beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

05-04-2021

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, creative youth development (CYD) organizations have been expanding their work to provide greater support to students, families, and communities impacted by the pandemic. To strengthen this response from the field, The Lewis Prize for Music offered a COVID-19 Response grant to 32 organizations of varying size and geographic locations. Totaling 1.25 million dollars, the fund supported organizations that were leading direct response efforts in their communities. These efforts offered mental health support, food access, housing security, civic engagement support, and academic support, among other things, alongside digital adaptation of regular program activities. Additionally, many CYD organizations supported youth engagement in various forms of movement-building, including, but not limited to, the Black Lives Matter movement and work against voter suppression.

The Lewis Prize for Music Announces Accelerator Awardees

02-02-2021

The 2021 Lewis Prize for Music Accelerator Awardees have been announced!

Lewis Prize for Music Announces Accelerator Awards Finalists

12-16-2020

The Lewis Prize for Music seeks out, honors, and supports programs they consider to be “catalysts” in the U.S. field for community-driven, high-quality music learning opportunities. The goal is to target and amplify programs that spark positive change in society. Listed among this year’s finalists is Atlanta Music Project, under the direction of Dantes Rameau and Aisha Moody; last year’s three grant recipients included Community MusicWorks in Providence, RI.

Essays About Arts Leadership Posted to The Lewis Prize for Music Website

10-07-2020

The Lewis Prize for Music has expanded its website to feature essays about “Responsive and Collaborative Leadership” by its three 2020 Accelerator Awardees: Brandon Steppe, Ian Mouser, and Sebastian Ruth. The three essays give insight into these leaders’ and their programs’ focus on building trusting relationships with young people, using creativity to support youth mental health, and rethinking the Euro-centric norms of classical music to foster more egalitarian and inclusive musical practices.

The Lewis Prize Recipients of COVID-19 Community Response Funds Announced

07-07-2020

The Lewis Prize for Music announced the recipients of its $1.25 million COVID-19 Community Response Fund, awarded to 32 Creative Youth Development (CYD) organizations across the U.S. (including three El Sistema organizations) that have adapted and responded to serve the needs of young people and their families during the pandemic. One-third of recipients have budgets of less than $100,000 per year; two-thirds are led by people of color. Read an article about the Fund in the July World Ensemble.

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.

The Lewis Prize for Music 2020 Announces Awardees

02-04-2020

The Lewis Prize for Music 2020 Awardees have been announced. The Lewis Prize believes that music in the lives of young people is a catalytic force to drive positive change in society. Each of the awardees is doing exemplary work to build community, foster engaged citizens and support the holistic growth of young people through music. Learn more about the ten inspiring changemakers here. A special congratulations to Lewis Prize 2020 Awardee Sebastian Ruth, Founder and Artistic Director of Community MusicWorks. Sebastian recently penned The Ensemble’s editorial in November, which you can read here. His Lewis Prize will support a new alumni fellowship and leadership of the MusicWorks Network of community-based music programs, which collaborate across the eastern United States to spread and deepen the work with and for the youth they serve.

Principles of Scale for Growing a Sistema System

09-01-2019

In the early days of the U.S. El Sistema movement, Maestro Abreu regularly spoke at national conferences. Often during these events, he would state, “El Sistema is not a system.” Yet we all marvelled at the interconnected structure of neighborhood núcleos, regional seminarios, state youth orchestras, and the multiple levels of youth orchestras based at Caracas’s national conservatory.

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