The World Ensemble
Dear World Ensemble Subscriber,

This is the first issue from the new home of The World Ensemble —the Longy School of Music of Bard College . In this issue, you will learn about a program in Asia that focuses on creative choice-making, a new national Sistema Orchestra in Sweden, and a novel approach to teaching “very young composers.” We also share news from the Global Leaders in Latin America, and an editorial about an important transition for this newsletter. 

Send us your news, your questions, your ideas. We would like to share them with the global field. Is there a particular feature of your program you are proud of and want others to know about?—let us know.  SEND US STUFF !

Best wishes,
The WE Team
By  Eric Booth and Tricia Tunstall
Co-founders, The World Ensemble
It’s exhilarating to make something new. Anyone who’s ever started a “music for social change” program, or any kind of new program, or even any work of art or craft, knows that feeling. For us, starting The World Ensemble in January 2016 (as a companion publication to The Ensemble, which we started in 2011) was exciting—it was downright thrilling, in fact—because we knew were creating a medium for communication and exchange for the worldwide Sistema movement. We were creating something needed and helpful where before there had been nothing. 

We’ve loved all the developmental steps along the way, as The WE grew and flourished—with the extraordinary help, over years, of Managing Editor Graciela Briceno. It’s been exciting to identify new ideas, new trends, new programs within the global movement of passionate citizen artists devoted to music for social engagement…to offer our own hopefully-useful views in editorials, to find and work with volunteer writers across the world…to create a cohort of young student Ambassadors in farflung places, who bring fresh news and make fresh connections.
The Global Leaders Plant a Musical Seed in Tlaxcala, Mexico
by Raul Vergara
Co-Founder and International Programs Director,  Global Leaders Program
Tlaxcala, located in the heart of Mexico, is one of the states with the greatest cultural activism in the country. In fact, it is a referent at the national level in terms of student participation of musical programs, a process inspired by the Venezuelan model “ El Sistema ”, which was first implemented in Tlaxcala 30 years ago. Within this process, the role of Casa de Música (Music Home)—an initiative of the Tlaxcalan Institute of Culture—has been very important, allowing for thousands the opportunity to approach a musical instrument through the different venues offered by the state.

While participation of students (k-12 level) in music programas is high, it decreases considerably at the higher level of education (college age). There are multiple reasons for this, including the lack of professional opportunities in music. In fact, Tlaxcala is one of the few states in the country that does not yet have a professional symphony orchestra. This makes for a significant exodus of talent, as trained musicians move other sectors of the country in search of higher education and professional development possibilities.
Creative Choice-Making for Change
by Beata Moon
Teaching Artist, composer, pianist
The top El Sistema orchestra in Korea, the Orchestra Dream Seongbuk, launched a bold new inquiry this summer into how its teachers could better incorporate creative choice-making through teaching. I was honored to be a part of this experiment, traveling to Korea from the U.S. last August to collaborate with the orchestra and its team of dedicated teaching artists. I shared and modeled creative choice-making in warm-ups, improvisations, and composition. My work is about sparking curiosity in students that ultimately leads to new discoveries. My trip to Korea to work with the ODSB was made possible in part by a grant from the Seoul International Teaching Artist Conference (ITAC).

My collaborators were Jeehye Suh, founder of Socially Engaged Musicians Network (SEM) and teaching artist advocate, and conductor Jintak Moon. Together, we planned workshops for the ODSB and their teaching artists, while TA’s from the SEM network observed and participated in reflective discussions.
Very Young Composers: A New York Philharmonic Program for Young Musicians Around the World
by Jon Deak, founder/director, VYC
The Very Young Composers (VYC) program takes much of its inspiration from El Sistema. I initiated and piloted this program in Denver with the Colorado Symphony in 1995– 97, with the blessing of Deborah Borda, who was then executive director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. The VYC has been a part of the New York Philharmonic ever since.

Very Young Composers is founded on the belief that all children are creative, and that our youngest generation, starting from the age of 9 or 10, should be listened to and empowered to compose, and can affect and refresh the repertoire of the symphony orchestra and beyond.

The international implications of VYC became clearer to me upon my first contacts with the El Sistema community, encouraged by Gustavo Dudamel and by Sistema advocate Dani Bedoni. Through this interaction, I learned that kids anywhere could not only play great music, but also create music for professional ensembles, unedited, with only notational help, creative play, and encouragement. 
Integrating Music with Health, Law, and Social Services
by Hélène (Sioui) Trudel, lawyer & certified mediator
Founder of  Garage à musique
The Garage à musique was born in April 2008, when I realized that more than 50% of children living in a disadvantaged neighborhood have some kind of developmental challenge (motricity, language, social, cognitive, emotional). Without proper resources, a large number of these children abandon school at a young age or are simply excluded. I strongly feel that society commits a crime when it fails to seriously address this issue. All that is required is to ensure that children are properly stimulated as early as possible.

In a just society, all children should have the same opportunities to develop their full potential. This is why I launched Garage à musique, to offer children and youth aged 2 to 22 and living in a poor neighborhood free access to collective music training. Studies based on neurosciences have demonstrated that children whose brains have not been stimulated from birth may have learning difficulties, behavioral disorders, lack of concentration and of inhibition. Yet, these studies have also demonstrated that the collective practice of music, including choral, is a powerful tool to stimulate the brain and to reduce the stress hormone level (cortisol).
A National Sistema Orchestra Launches in Sweden
by the staff of  El Sistema Sweden

This fall, El Sistema Sweden will initiate a national youth orchestra, with the support of the Swedish music copyright organization Stim. It will be the first of its kind in Europe. Young musicians will be selected from El Sistema programs and cultural schools across Sweden and will gather in the country’s capital for three days of rehearsing and playing together

The mission of El Sistema Sweden National Orchestra is to invite talented children and young people who want to put extra effort into their orchestra playing. For three days at the end of October, the 40 selected young people between the ages of 11 and 19 will come from all over the country and gather in Stockholm to play, socialize, and have fun together with specially invited educators and musicians. In collaboration with Konserthuset Stockholm, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the Berwaldhallen Concert Hall, and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the music camp will conclude with a public concert in front of a live audience at Konserthuset Stockholm on October 31, 2019.
The Ambassadors' Exchange
The WE Ambassadors are a group of El Sistema student musicians who serve as representatives of their programs around the world.
Celebrating Childhood and Music
by Timor Sultani (Sweden)
What a fantastic evening of music! On 11th September, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia attended a 20-year anniversary celebration of  The World Childhood Foundation  at the Gothenburg Concert Hall. World-renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who introduced El Sistema in Sweden ten years ago, conducted the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Also on the stage were El Sistema Sweden’s artistic leader Ron Davis Alvarez, presenter Maria Möller, singer Katarina Karnéus, and members of Västra Götaland’s Youth Symphonics.

The World Childhood Foundation was founded by Queen Silvia. The program works primarily with children who are most at risk of being subjected to violence and sexual abuse. These include children living on the street, children who have already been subjected to violence and abuse, children who cannot live with their parents or who live in a family where the parents do not have the energy to be what the children need most.
Sistema Whangarei Updates
by Aurian White (New Zealand)
Sistema Whangarei had its final weeks of program recently and started gearing up for its holiday programme next month. Around 15 students in the Senior Orchestra are practicing hard and getting ready for the  local performing arts competition . For many, this will be their first competition, so students are feeling a bit nervous.

A Night of Music, A Night of Unity
By  Axelle Miel (The Philippines)
The  UUU Orchestra  is a Japanese orchestra that comes to the Philippines twice a year to perform with Cebuano musicians and teach music in local schools. They first came in 2012, and I have been joining at least one concert each year ever since. I have made some great friends through the UUU, and when one told me that they would have a concert in August, I immediately agreed to perform. This concert was especially exciting because the UUU was partnering with the NPO Seven Spirit, the non-profit where I interned last month, so I would have a chance to see my students again and perform with them.

We had a few rehearsals prior to the concert. It was wonderful to see a mass of people from different countries and demographics play music together. This was such a special experience because whenever we played, our combined sound was so powerful. I had never seen an orchestra of this size in Cebu. I got to meet new Japanese friends and sit beside a Japanese violinist named Utan. It was her first time in Cebu, and we did our best to communicate with her weak English and my non-existent Japanese. I also connected with friends I had before, both foreign and local.
Thank you for reading! 

Be on the lookout for additional resources and news later this month.

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have been made possible through the support of the NAMM Foundation.
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