Cellist Adrienne Taylor received her Bachelor of Music and Performer diploma from Indiana University and her Master of Music in cello performance from Northwestern University.  Her teachers include Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Hans Jørgen Jensen, and Janos Starker.   After completing her Masters, Adrienne performed in the Chicago area as part of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and their MusiCorps program, dedicated to sharing classical music performances and education with schools and colleges in the city, and with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble during their residency in Chicago. Adrienne has performed as a chamber musician in Europe and in Japan, and in 2007 accepted a position as assistant principal cello in Orquestra do Norte, in Portugal.  She later returned to the U.S. to join the Fellows’ String Quartet at Community MusicWorks where she worked alongside the Providence String Quartet building a community through mentoring, music lessons and concerts for youth in the west end and south side neighborhoods of Providence, RI.

Read Adrienne Taylor's blog.

A Talk with Adrienne Taylor

1. Why did you apply to the Abreu Fellows Program?

El Sistema is one of the greatest examples of how music can be a force for change in the world.  I would like to learn more about how the power of music can transform communities here in the U.S.

2. What tools will you develop during this fellowship and how do you think these tools will be useful in your future post?

I would like to learn more about the educational methods of El Sistema, and I would also like to learn how to put my ideas about building a community through music into practical terms.

3. Where do you see yourself in five years? What will you be doing and why?

I would like to be playing and teaching music in an underserved community.  I play music because I love it, but when I’m able to share it with others, especially those who don’t have access to it normally, it gives greater meaning to my life as a musician.

4. Why do you think that music education is important to a child’s development?

I think many kids feel trapped in their schools and in their lives in general because they have no outlet and no medium for creativity and expression.  Music is something that is unique to each individual.  Every person hears music differently and everyone plays it differently.  Music is something a person can take ownership of and gain the ability to learn and problem-solve and experiment in order to find her own voice.  That sense of self carries over into every aspect of a young person’s life.

5. Write a short analysis of the present state of music education for children in the US. What has been done right and where do you see room for improvement?

The very sad thing about the state of music education for children in the US is that because so many schools are facing financial troubles people are cutting arts programs out of desperation because they think the arts are not essential.  People have to begin to understand that the arts are essential to the development of a human being.  The positive thing I see happening in the US is that there are people who realize that this void of artistic expression in young people’s lives needs to be filled, and there are music organizations right now that are really looking for ways to step up and make that happen.

6. How did you learn about El Sistema?

My mom called me and told me that she read an article saying that the most exciting thing happening in music right now is El Sistema in Venezuela.  After talking with her I wanted to find out more.

7. Why do you think El Sistema is unique? What elements made the El Sistema program successful where others were not?

I think the emphasis on love of music and love of people is what makes El Sistema so successful.  I think the intensiveness of the program allows it to have a strong impact on those involved.  Also support from the government has been important to the survival of El Sistema in Venezuela.  In this country one of the biggest challenges will be to generate political support for the arts in order to support programs like El Sistema.

8. Have you worked with or mentored children in the past?

I started giving school concerts as a part of the Chicago Civic Orchestra’s MusiCorps program, and I worked with children more recently as a performer, teacher and mentor with Community MusicWorks during my fellowship in Providence, Rhode Island.