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


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