Saturday, 2 March 2013

ISME Sistema SIG News Update #3

ISME Update 3 2013
Maestro Abreu's acceptance speech for the TED award (17 mins well worth listening to!) The El Sistema music revolution - Jose Antonio Abreu - YouTube

ISME related news
Beatriz Ilari writes that in Bahia, for example, Group Neojib√° is doing a wonderful job and that there are many other groups as well. Beatriz compiled a list for the ISME conference world conference in Greece in 2012. Beatriz will be able to let me have further information if this is of interest to anyone.

Beatriz also plans to attend the ISME world conference in Porto Alegre in 2014 by which time she hopes to have some results from her study. Here is a press release that came out in October: Beatriz says that they have been working very hard with the YOLA group, which is based in L.A. So far, they 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. They haven't analyzed data yet, but will begin soon!

The Canadian Music Educators Association (CMEA/Acme) is delighted to announce the release of the latest addition to their Research to Practice Biennial Book Series entitled Personhood & Music Learning: Connecting Narratives and Perspectives, edited by their Senior Editor Dr. Susan O'Neill. There is also a press kit for other volumes in the series. Theodora Stathopoulos encourages us to consider using these excellent resources  in our teaching and/or research. The books may be purchased online by visiting and adds NB: If these books are not already in your university libraries, please consider requesting that they be added to the library's collection. For more information please contact the Chair of the CMEA/Acme Publications Advisory Committee Dr. Ed Wasiak, and/or CMEA/Acme's Senior Editor Dr. Susan O'Neill

Theodora Stathopoulos
also shared this link to Conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim's youth orchestra joining Arabs and Israelis:

To be included on the circulation list for USA's The Ensemble contact
For inclusion on the circulation list for England's Ensemble contact: Reynaldo Trombetta IHSE
To sign up for Sistema Scotland's Big Noise's e-bulletin visit:

Are there any other newsletters out there that you would like to share? Let me have the contact addresses and I will include them so that colleagues can sign up.

Globalisation of Sistema This study is part of a research project called Globalizing El Sistema, conducted by Lauren Silberman, a Masters Candidate from the University of Oregon in the Arts and Administration Program. Information gathered will be used to create a publicly available cultural map of El Sistema as well as a needs assessment for international support and networking structures. The purpose of this qualitative study is to gather a holistic picture of the worldwide social development and classical music phenomenon known as El Sistema.

Sistema Europe's next meeting: Don't forget, you can join Malin and several more of us in Gothenburg in April. For further information and details of hotels please contact Ann Kjellson

Armenia Advances:
Anna Mikaelian Meschian <> writes to inform us that some wonderful progress has been made with Sistema Armenia.  Anna has been able to secure a "fiscal sponsor" - the Fund for Armenian Relief, who will act as a parent organization for as long as is needed before forming an NGO.  FfAR will take care of most of the administrative aspects of the organization, deal with the government, provide tax-exempt status and much more.  Anna's current plan is to start with a 2-week workshop/festival at the end of August (19th-31st) and launch the first nucleo on September 2nd, 2013 in Yerevan.  The nucleo will start with choir and percussion, and will begin rehearsing as a string orchestra in November 2013.  This nucleo will also serve as a training facility for teachers throughout the country.  The children of the nucleo will often travel to various regions of the country and play music together with the locals.  (This will serve to develop their leadership skills as well as engaging them as citizens of their country).

Starting in late August, Anna will also have their first "branch" in the small town of Talin, an hour outside of the capital.  Anna says that "This is a music school with some wonderful people who truly want to create an El Sistema nucleo for the kids in their town and surrounding villages."  Due to lack of teachers, Anna plans to start with a choir (a small choir already exists) and has found a sponsor for this future nucleo, who will build them a new center from ground-up.  

Anna also has a preliminary agreement to work together with UNICEF Armenia on this project - the youth orchestra they have been sponsoring for a couple of years will become the leadership orchestra for Sistema Armenia.  

Finally Anna writes that she is collaborating with the Media Lab at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) on creating a new technology that may be of use for Sistema worldwide.  They are going to use Sistema Armenia as an open-air lab to find ways to use (new) technology to make the project more successful.

Surely Anna is an example to us all for energy, focus and 'joining up' initiatives to produce an even greater impact.

Austrian Success
I am delighted to inform you that Superar Austria's EU project proposal has been selected for the grant. You will find this information on: . The project "ESEDP" is listed as no. 63. The project will officially start on 1st May 2013.

Congratulations too to Carmen Hiti in Croatia who is in the early stages of starting a Sistema inspired programme. We all wish you well!

England's Ensemble
In Harmony Sistema England Just too late for inclusion in the last news update is this edition of 'Ensemble' England's quarterly newsletter. (Not to be confused with The Ensemble – Sistema USA's newsletter).

February 2013


In Harmony • Sistema England's quarterly newsletter
Irish Initiative:
Free to attend for any Sistema Europe colleagues: University Concert Hall in Limerick will host 'Express Yourself' will take place on 21st June 2013 at 1pm to celebrate Ireland's Love: Live Music Day. All 300 children from Sing Out with Strings will take to the stage to perform their own compositions, with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and special guests. This concert will also celebrate their 5th birthday. Kathleen hopes to follow the concert with a day of workshops for Community Musicians but details on this are yet to be confirmed. Contact Kathleen Turner, Community Engagement Manager, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Tel. +353 61 234632, Email: for further information.

Swedish Sistema's expand:
Malin Aghed writes that El Sistema is now in all 10 parts of Gothenburg city, and in 5 other cities. Malin is also helping Umeå to think through the starting of their El Sistema. Is this the most northerly El Sistema in the world?

Afghan Orchestra
Thanks to Erica Donald for information about the Afghan Orchestra's tour of the US. They sold out Carnegie Hall and also played for John Kerry on his first day as Secretary of State of the US (he told them he loved music and had played in a rock band, which the kids loved!). An example of media coverage of the tour can be found at:

Choral in Atlanta: Those interested in choral aspects of Sistema inspired programmes may find Amplify of interest: Atlanta Music Project launches AMPlify - Exploring El Sistema;

Marshall Marcus attended Sphinx's inaugural convocation about diversity in the performing arts – see for his interesting blog

Sistema Fellows:
Visit for information regarding the Sistema Fellows programme with several interesting blogs in the archives. Too numerous to mention, but if you haven't come across this site, you will enjoy reading the content.

Please continue to keep me informed of any information you would like to share.

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