Saturday, 27 April 2013

ISME Sistema SIG news update #5

ISME Sistema SIG news update #5


Please continue to let me have your news.


ISME business: The ISME Executive Committee is meeting in Moscow from 19th to 21st May.  The agenda includes the consideration of update reports from the ISME Special Interest Groups. I have been asked to complete a template containing a short report detailing any headlines, activity and issues from July 2012 to end of April 2013. The report should show clearly any issues that we feel the Executive should consider / decide upon / refer to the Board. In order to meet the deadline, please send me any comments for inclusion by Friday 3rd May. Thank you.


Sweden: Thanks and congrats again to Malin and Petra et al for a great conference and for being such wonderful hosts. Eric Booth, who presented at the conference, has kindly shared the following essays with those of us who were in Sweden: The Generous Laboratory ; The Fundamentals of El Sistema.

Czech Republic: Olga Jerabkova of The Harmonie Foundation in Prague is delighted to be able to inform us that Maestro Abreu has received the Trebbia European award 2013 for support of the culture and the arts, which is annually awarded in Prague. Please see the following link for more details:

England: Many congratulations to In Harmony Liverpool, which will be playing (and singing) at the Royal Albert Hall this summer as part of the main Proms series with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.


Canada: with thanks to Theodora who sent the following link to the Vimeo produced by the English Montreal School Board (EMSB - largest English school board in Quebec) for St Gabriel school's Sistema program in the neighbourhood of Pointe St Charles. The vimeo is now posted on the McConnell Foundation's website (facebook page):

Portugal: with thanks to Graça who reviewed an article for Music and Arts in Action about the Venezuelan Sistema, and has now been published. The link to download the PDF is: Graça also gave a presentation at the RIME conference in Exeter earlier this month: In Portugal, the creation in 2007 of the Orquestra Geração (OG) was inspired by El Sistema. Whilst most of what is known of Sistema-like projects, through publications and presentations in international forums, offers a descriptive approach to this type of musical intervention, the present research aims at the construction of systematic and critical knowledge about the Portuguese OG project around two main axis: 1) its socially inclusive target; and 2) the ways through which musical meaning is achieved in this particular community of practice. For further information, contact Graça Mota


Germany: Thomas Busch (University of Bielefeld) also gave a presentation at the RIME conference on research into 'An Instrument for Every Child': Findings on program participation, musical self-concepts and practising behaviour. In 2008 the German Ministry for Education and Research set up an accompanying empirical research programme. One of the projects in this programme is the Bielefeld Study on Instrumental learning in Groups (BEGIn 2008 to 2013) which focuses on examining continuance in and drop-out from the programme and on the predictors for also conducts research on the (pre-)conditions for instrumental learning in groups in the primary school setting.


USA: Elaine Sandoval gave a fascinating paper at the Soka Education Conference 2013 entitled "The Ensemble in Educating Cosmopolitanism" Elaine writes: I learned to navigate many different cultures and consider the social contexts of music. I strongly believe that it was largely through my musical experiences that I was able to develop those qualities of wisdom, courage, and compassion described by Ikeda, as well as the ability "to fuse reflective openness to the new with reflective loyalty to the known." Music-making in a variety of ensembles was, and continues to be, a fundamental part of the development of my cosmopolitan sensibilities. Contact Elaine for further information:


LAPhil and USC neuroscientists launch 5-year study of music education and child brain development   Beatriz writes: We have been working very hard with the YOLA group, which is based in  L.A. So far, we have collected lots of data and scanned brains of 6-year- olds and will begin a cross-sectional comparison, collecting data and scanning brains of 9-year-olds in the program, and from a control group. We haven't analysed data yet, but will begin soon! We are still collecting data, as some children have rescheduled their brain scans. We are hoping to finish with our cohort by the end of this month. We will be presenting an overview of our study at the Society for Music Perception and Cognition in August, and she will send some preliminary findings as soon as we have them. Beatriz Ilari Assistant Professor of Music Education USC Thornton School of Music - MUS211 Los Angeles, CA 90089 Tel (213) 821-5513



The Salzburg Festival is an exciting place to be this summer with significant input from El Sistema. Check it out if you want to be in Europe over the summer.


Other recent news:


Exploring El Sistema: April 2013
Tracking the adventures of the current class of the Sistema Fellows Program at the New England Conservatory.


Worldwide Literature Review of El Sistema Inspired projects
Sistema Global is delighted to announce that it has commissioned a Literature Review of Projects Inspired by El Sistema from an international team of music ...


Time for Cleveland's budding El Sistema music education ... - SBYOV
Time for Cleveland's budding El Sistema music education movement to expand .. .Plain DealerThe time seems ripe to consider it. Jose Antonio Abreu, visionary ...


Richard J Hallam MBE

m 07850 634 239

fax and office phone 01908 690078


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Sistema-inspired Literature Review

Worldwide Literature Review of El Sistema-Inspired projects

Researchers need ALL programs to send documentation for this first
global research study.

Sistema Global has commissioned a Literature Review of Projects
Inspired by El Sistema. An international team of music education
researchers led by Dr. Andrea Creech, of the Institute of Education,
University of London. Together with colleagues from McGill University
in Canada and the Autonomous University of Chihuahua in Mexico, the
IoE researchers will be reviewing the many academic journal articles,
evaluation reports, dissertations and policy documents that have been
produced on Sistema programmes outside Venezuela in recent years.

Please send materials now; the Review is expected to be available in
July and will be widely distributed. Please send the following
information (or questions) to Andrea Creech:

The researchers are focusing on research and evaluation, so please send:

• Published research

• Unpublished research (theses and dissertations)

• Evaluation reports with evaluation instruments, if those are not
included as appendices in the report

• The researchers are also compiling a bibliography of media articles,
but will only include those in the actual review if they report
evidence (collected systematically) that has not been reported

• Finally, the researchers are also compiling an overview of
programmes that identify themselves as Sistema or Sistema-inspired.
They wish to include programmes on this list even if they do not yet
have any evaluation evidence, so they would invite programmes in that
category to send documentation that includes descriptions of what they
provide, including aims, objectives and any details about how the
programme is delivered.

Sistema Global Research Committee:

Eric Booth

Richard Hallam

Marshall Marcus

Glenn Thomas

Richard J Hallam MBE
m 07850 634 239
fax and office phone 01908 690078

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Worldwide Literature Review of El Sistema Inspired projects

Worldwide Literature Review of El Sistema Inspired projects.

Sistema Global is delighted to announce that it has commissioned a Literature Review of Projects Inspired by El Sistema from an international team of music education researchers led by Dr Andrea Creech of the Institute of Education, University of London, UK. Together with colleagues from McGill University in Canada and the Autonomous University of Chihuahua in Mexico, the IOE researchers will be reviewing the many academic journal articles, evaluation reports, dissertations and policy documents that have been produced on Sistema programmes outside Venezuela in recent years. The Review is expected to be available in early July. For further information or to contribute to the research contact Andrea Creech (
Practitioners have already started showing great interest in this initiative and positive feedback is being received:

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

[ISME Sistema SIG] news update #4

Dear colleagues – one week before flying off to Gothenburg for a really stimulating international conference, (see below for details), here is more news from around the Sistema inspired world:


ISME news update #4


Sistema Europe's next meetings: Don't forget, you can join Malin and several more of us in Gothenburg next week. For further information and details of hotels please contact Ann Kjellson Sistema Europe meetings are only open to Sistema Europe members, but the conference is open to all.


London, England

Something very special happened in London last month. Future Play: Music Systems in the 21st Century, presented by the Barbican Centre and LA Phil, as part of their Barbican International Associate Residency with Gustavo Dudamel, took place. There were concerts, masterclasses, an open rehearsal with Dudamel and an orchestra of young people from across London, pre -concert talks and films!


With members from Youth Orchestra Los Angeles and Heart of Los Angeles presenting as well as a keynotes from the inspirational John Adams, Peter Sellars and Richard Holloway of Sistema Scotland it is not surprising that references to El Sistema were never far away. The openness, generosity of spirit and preparedness of people to give as much time as it takes to young people and to each other that is so much a trademark of El Sistema was evident for all to see with delegates from as far afield as Germany, Holland Ireland and Israel as well as the USA.


And on the south side of the Thames:

Confirmation of Date: June 28, 29 30 is now confirmed as a nucleo style event based at the South Bank Centre. More details to follow.


Salzburg, Austria

Two exciting events are coming up in the summer: On July 27, a big choir concert will take place as part of the Festspiele. In addition to the many children of Superar Vienna, there will be delegations of other Superar projects of the different countries (Switzerland, Romania, Slovakia, Bosnia, Turkey) who will join in. The concert will involve the Caracas Youth Orchestra and several Salzburg choirs. On August 6/7, an orchestra encounter + concert is planned in Kuchl near Salzburg, where the Superar Orchestras from CH, AT, BH and "Music for peace" from Turkey will meet the Venezuelan Infantil Orch.


Czech concert

Many thanks and congratulations to Milada for the exciting news that the Prague Philharmonia is hoping to put on a concert in support of the Harmonie project. The hope is that this will be part of the Dvořák Prague festival and may be broadcast and could even become an annual event. Milada has been successful in engaging the media, appearing on national radio and involving the press. Please contact Milada Cholujova ( for further information.



There have been two issues of The Ensemble since the last ISME news update:


The Ensemble is now the Newsletter of the U.S. and Canadian El Sistema Movement.  Eric and Tricia decided it was time to include Canada in their coverage, for three main reasons: the excellent work unfolding in Canada that colleagues in the U.S. can learn from; it began to feel weird to not include them when there is so much synergy; it is El Sistema's spirit of inclusion. In this issue you will find an introduction to the work in Canada, a number of useful resources, and the announcement of Tricia's new website (which includes a complete archive of all issues of The Ensemble and her new blog).


The previous issue had, in addition to its focus on composition in El Sistema-inspired programs, some other highlights: 


• The Ensemble Book Club completed its focus on Drive, an archive of the conversation is available at:


• The December Symposium in Philadelphia included a three day discussion on promising El Sistema-inspired teaching practices.  Thanks to five Sistema Fellows who took notes and distilled them, an overview document is now available at: You can also access the report by going to the symposium website; go to "Teaching Seminar" under the Agenda, and links to the document appear:


• Also in this issue ... a new program is launched, a new workshop intensive with OrchKids, a new book about El Sistema.



Los Angeles The next Take A Stand symposium in Los Angeles in February 2014 as part of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela residency in partnership with the LA Phil. A survey of Tchaikovsky's orchestral works under Gustavo Dudamel will conclude in a performance combining both orchestras. The TchaikovskyFest includes a wide spectrum of additional events, including the TAKE A STAND symposium and community activities.


Oklahoma City Jamie Bernstein, a writer, arts advocate and daughter of composer Leonard Bernstein, will be the keynote speaker at Oklahoma City University's "Music Transforms" symposium April 13 that will introduce the renowned Venezuelan music-education program El Sistema to Oklahoma. Bernstein's keynote speech begins at 10:30 a.m. in the atrium of the Bass School of Music at N.W. 25th Street and Blackwelder Avenue. Admission and lunch are free, but pre-registration is required by e-mailing The half-day session is free to the public and is particularly geared toward community leaders, educators, musicians and parents who are interested in the program.

In addition to Bernstein, 20-minute presentations will be given by Christine Witkowski, director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's YOLA at HOLA, the acclaimed program of Gustavo Dudamel; Stanford Thomas, CEO of "Play on Philly!" and chairman of the U.S. National Alliance of El Sistema-inspired programs; and Jose Luis Hernandez-Estrada, executive director of the newly established El Sistema Oklahoma.

The symposium is co-sponsored by St. Luke's United Methodist Church and Oklahoma City University. For additional information, contact Hernandez-Estrada at (405) 208-4921 or

New Mexico Philharmonic 2012-2013 Educational Programming: Young Musicians Initiative Program (El Sistema)

The NMPhil will provide El Sistema to 40 elementary school children in a pilot project during school year 2012-2013 in one Albuquerque public school. They are committing three years to this pilot program to ensure it receives the best start, and the best opportunity for assessment and adjustment as time progresses. The announcement goes on to state that the promise of the Sistema approach is that it invites a rediscovery of the purposes and processes of classical music. As the U.S. struggles to find the relevance of classical music to more than the small "arts club" percentage of their populace, El Sistema proposes answers that can change not only the life trajectories of at-risk children, but the trajectory of at-risk arts culture.


Sistema Fellows: Interested in singing and Special Needs? Here are some blogs by one of  Sistema 2013 cohort more blogs are available at: 


Lauren Silberman 650.296.7120 a Masters Candidate in Arts Administration from the University of Oregon, is conducting her final research project on the growth of El Sistema is still happy to have any completed questionnaires from anyone willing to participate.


With all good wishes




Richard J Hallam MBE

IHSE Director and Trustee

m 07850 634 239