El Sistema in the UK – Directory and History

The United Kingdom (encompassing the separate regions and governments of Scotland, England, Wales and N. Ireland) has a long history with Sistema in terms of both núcleo development and presenting Venezuelan ensembles...and the situation in England proper is about to change dramatically!

El Sistema in Canada – 2012 Update

Canadian núcleos are some of the oldest in North America; Canadian universities have hosted the first academic conferences related to el Sistema; a national foundation presented the Símon Bolívar Orchestra in its largest venue to date and formally honoured Maestro Abreu's achievements in 2008; and a Canadian youth orchestra has set the current gold standard internationally in advocating for and securing major government funding.

Orkidstra Ottawa announces Symposium and Simon Bolivar String Quartet Performance

the Orkidstra program will step into the limelight between March 30 and April 1st, as they co-host the Símon Bolívar String Quartet of Venezuela with the Ottawa Chamber Music Society for a symposium and performances.

Top 10 of ’11

Here is something completely arbitrary, compiled in an utterly unscientifically manner bereft of statistical methodology or evaluative metrics. Ten thoughts from 2011, ten memories or developments or events or discoveries that I think might be worth mentioning

The Morality of “Paid to Play”

We should pay children to read great literature. It has manifest educational and social benefits. It’s not a foreign idea to be immediately despised; it was hatched in America. It’s not socialist or morally objectionable; it’s just early exposure to capitalism in that it concretely rewards effort.

Dollars and Sense Part 4 – Paying for the pipes

Instruments represent the number one capital expenditure of any Sistema initiative, even very few purchase them new. The default option, the “instrument donation drive,” has evolved into a rite of passage as part of a program launch. It’s excellent publicity, and it reduces start-up costs considerably, although not entirely. There’s no such thing as a free viola: the instruments that are donated always require some degree of maintenance or repair, especially strings. Even once restored to playing condition, they continue to need constant care, especially strings. They’re also extremely fragile…especially strings

Dollars and Sense Part 3 – The Quest for Corporate Support

Govias with a logo on his back

...successful corporate solicitation is the current holy grail of arts organizations. Any illusions Canadian and British groups previously held about the reliability of government funding have been utterly shattered in the last two years, and Americans never had government funding to speak of in the first place...