Alvaro Abreu Fellow
Director, Corona Youth Music Project
Queens, New York

The Corona Youth Music Project (CYMP) in New York City works to empower youth, fight poverty, and promote social inclusion through music education and performance. It is the first organization in the borough of Queens modeled on El Sistema, and it emphasizes ensemble performance and individual mentoring with progressive, cyclical programs designed to start children in this process as early as preschool.

Alvaro founded the CYMP in 2010 with 12 students. As of 2014, it had grown to serve 200 students in three orchestras and a choir. Under the guidance of five teaching artists, CYMP students spend up to 4.5 hours a week in CYMP programming. CYMP students are quickly taking initiative within the program, and the fall of 2014 marked the debut of a student-led orchestra.

Alvaro first became involved in the El Sistema movement in 1998, when he was on the leadership team developing El Sistema-inspired programming in his home country of Guatemala. He has also consulted for the government of El Salvador to help them plan a national system of youth and children’s orchestras and choirs.

Photo: Alvaro Rodas