El Sistema Fellows: The New Class

Image: Courtesy of YOLA at HOLA. YOLA at HOLA is a partnership of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA).

When Venezuelan musician and catalyst Jose Abreu founded his music education program El Sistema (“The System”) in 1975, he assembled a band of 11 local kids to make classical music together. Three decades later, what began in a Caracas garage is now celebrated throughout the world after thousands of children’s lives were changed by El Sistema’s learning model that includes a deep investment of time, compassion, and togetherness from individuals and ensemble members.

In 2009, Abreu revealed his TED Prize winning wish to “create and document a special training program for at least 50 gifted young musicians, passionate for their art and for social justice, and dedicated to developing El Sistema in the US and in other countries.” Devoted to the mission of educating postgraduate musicians to lead music programs that inspire social transformation for youth in the world’s most vulnerable communities, the New England Conservatory’s Sistema Fellows Program emerged in response to his vision.

This month, New England Conservatory announced the appointment of their fifth Sistema Fellows Class, the most internationally diverse and highly specialized cohort in the program’s history. With the addition of the newest 10 members to the 40 existing Sistema Fellows alumni, Abreu’s wish is well on its way to fulfillment.

On top of joining the extraordinary ranks of El Sistema-inspired programs that impact communities in 45 countries with over 70 programs in North America, the latest group of Sistema Fellows will receive a one-year certificate from the New England Conservatory’s Department of Continuing Education, a full scholarship, and a living stipend.

Starting in September, the new class will begin their yearlong curriculum and continue to create and cultivate exciting possibilities and promising futures for underserved youth. Meet the new class.