Benjamin Franklin and the Reflective Conservatoire

Huffington College - Wed, 2015-03-25 08:27
I recently heard a mordantly humorous new take on Benjamin Franklin's most famous quote: "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes and the immutability of conservatoires." Tony Woodcock

"Hot topics" with Eric Booth

Exploring El Sistema - Thu, 2015-03-19 16:10
In mid-February, Sistema Fellows Program faculty member Eric Booth hosted a conversation on Google Hangouts, joined by Eriel Huang '14, Tatjana Merzyn '14, Megan Moran '14, Liz Schurgin '11, and Xochitl Tafoya '13. The wide-ranging conversation began with Eric describing his recent experiences visiting El Sistema-inspired programming in twenty-five countries... Sistema Fellows Program

Construction Starting Soon–What You Need to Know

NEC Construction News - Tue, 2015-03-17 16:12

As recently announced, NEC will soon begin the construction of our new Student Life and Performance Center! With this note, we are launching a steady stream of internal communications designed to keep you well informed regarding the project. We recognize that aspects of this exciting new campus development will be disruptive; the NEC communications team will do its utmost to deliver timely updates to you across multiple communications channels. Here’s the first round of changes that will affect your on-campus experience:

  • First, the smaller parking lot behind the Jordan Hall building will close April 1, in order to accommodate the removal of the dumpster and other equipment from the St. Botolph parking lot.
  • As you may know, the current handicap-accessible entrance for the St. Botolph building is the parking lot entrance. However, since this entrance will soon close, we are required to build another. Consequently, the main entrance to 241 St. Botolph will be closing April 17 for approximately two-three weeks, in order to build that handicapped access ramp.
  • During these weeks, access to the St. Botolph building will only be through the side parking lot entrance, closest to Rooms G13 and G14.
  • Once the ramp is fully installed, the main entrance will reopen, and the parking lot entrance will close permanently. This is expected to happen in early May.
  • The Botolph parking lot will close permanently on May 1 in order to accommodate the removal of the Annex building.
  • At the same time, the Botolph Street sidewalk, and part of the traffic lane closest to our building will close for the duration of construction, beginning May 1. St. Botolph will continue to be a two way street. Street signage will help direct that pedestrian traffic.
  • Foot traffic will be rerouted to the Matthews Arena side of St. Botolph for the duration of the project.
  • The classrooms 313, 314 and 315; the Opera rooms G13 and G14; the Jazz and CI office; the Health Center; Student Services and the EM offices will be temporarily relocated the first half of May for the duration of the summer. These new locations will be announced in a subsequent e mail.

Here’s how we plan to keep you informed:

  • Open Forum Discussion Sessions will be held March 23rd, 10 – 11:30 am in the St. Botolph conference room, and April 9th, 2-3:30 pm in the St. Botolph conference room. These will be opportunities to bring all your questions to Ed Lesser, Mike Ryan and the Tishman construction team.
  • Effective April 1, our construction blog will appear on the NEC website and will be regularly updated. This will be your information hub for all relevant information; we encourage you to use this as the source of updates. The blog, too, will be a place to register any concerns or questions you may have.
  • This e-mail is the first of a series that will be generated by the communications team, outlining the key events/needs-to-know between now and June 1. Subsequent e-mails will be much shorter! Throughout this period, you can expect to see early warning and/or reminders a week prior so there are minimal surprises.
  • Electronic Signage just to the right of the Jordan Hall main entrance will also keep you updated. Screens will also be installed in the St. Botolph and Residence Hall lobbies over the summer.
  • Our NEC Facebook , @necmusic and @necmusic_today Twitter channels will have all of the latest updates.
  • Articles will appear in the Penguin on a regular basis, and we will partner with Student Services to ensure you are informed and stay safe.
  • For our PREP parents and SCE students, updates will be included in their weekly e-newsletter and other outbound communications.
  • Through all relevant website listings, we will continue to inform concert attenders how this will impact their access to Jordan and Pierce Hall programming.

We’re committed to making this transition as comfortable as possible for all of us, and the disruption as minimal as possible. We’re keenly aware of the big changes ahead, and are very grateful for your patience as we embark on this exciting campus evolution! If you have questions or concerns, contact us at .

Warm regards,
NEC Marketing and Communications Team

Junior/Senior MYWE Concert Interview with Diego Bacigalupe!

Preparatory School - Fri, 2015-03-13 16:35

Today we had the chance to talk with one of Senior MYWE’s musicians, Diego Bacigalupe! He gave us some insight on some of the pieces that will be played as well as some of the difficulties that came in preparation of the Junior and Senior MYWE combined concert.

What have been the challenges of this program and how have you grown as a musician from these challenges?

The most challenging part of preparing Sunday’s program is mastering the music with the limited rehearsal time. We only meet as a group once a week, making it difficult for us to learn a lot of music. This has forced us to prepare diligently for rehearsals, focus during rehearsal, listen and adjust to each others playing. Even with limited and scattered rehearsal time, we can efficiently learn music to perform.

What are you most looking forward to about this performance?

I’m most looking forward to hearing Jr. MYWE play their music and play with us. Live wind ensemble performances don’t happen often so hearing another group play similar music is a rewarding experience. I also can’t wait to perform with Jr. MYWE because the combined group will sound amazing. When I was in Jr. MYWE, I would have loved the opportunity to play with Sr. MYWE.

Pick your favorite piece on the program. What does that piece mean to you?

My favorite piece on the program is Eric Whitacre’s October; I love the colors he evokes. This piece is special to me and many others in Sr. MYWE because we played it back when we were in Jr. MYWE. Playing it again after we’ve developed into more mature musicians is an amazing experience.  The fact that we’re playing this piece in a combined Jr./Sr. MYWE concert brings it full circle.

Is there an experience with music that inspired you to be a musician?

When I was 7 years old, I remember visiting my grandfather while my family was in Spain. He played jazz cornet with his friends in a band and I remember watching him perform for people on the street as a hobby. I thought it was so cool that he could do this for fun with his friends and entertain strangers on the street so from then on, I always wanted to be a musician.

What is your favorite piece of music?

I don’t have an all-time favorite piece because I love so much music, but right now my favorite pieces are Respighi’s Pines of Rome, and Chabrier’s España.

A new definition for El Sistema in Venezuela

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2015-03-02 13:45
Today I débuted a new definition of Sistema. I’m sure it angered some of those in attendance by excluding many of the emotionally-laden trappings, if not misconceptions, about the program in Venezuela, but it shouldn’t have, really. Once you look at El Sistema for what it is – what its... Sistema Fellows Program

The Ensemble, March edition

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2015-03-02 13:28
The March edition of Tricia Tunstall and Eric Booth's publication chronicling the emerging field of El Sistema-inspired activity in the US and beyond is found here. Sistema Fellows Program

YAMA turns two

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2015-03-02 13:24
As our beloved Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA) turned two in the last month, I found that trying to understand YAMA as a two-year-old child has actually been quite illuminating and helpful, as we at YAMA continue to celebrate our successes, asses who we are becoming, and strive to continue... Sistema Fellows Program

Andrea Profili at MYCincinnati

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2015-03-02 13:13
For one week in February we had a guest teaching artist at MYCincinnati. Andrea Profili is a Sistema Fellows Program alumna and currently works, teaches, and trains teaching artists at El Sistema-inspired programs in the New York City area, including WHIN Music Project. Andrea worked with our students and teachers... Sistema Fellows Program

Sistema Global Research: Geoff Baker interview

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2015-03-02 13:00
"As far as I’m concerned, if you believe in social justice, then you believe in gender equality. If you believe in gender equality, then you have to put up your hand and say, El Sistema is a patriarchy, and you get more social action for your music if you’re male."... Sistema Fellows Program

Master of Arts in Teaching to be offered in Juneau

Exploring El Sistema - Fri, 2015-02-20 23:56
In partnership with Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM) and the Juneau Symphony (JS), the University of Alaska Southeast proudly announces its one-year Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Music K-12 certification program to reflect the changing role of today’s music teacher. As part of the course requirements, MAT students will... Sistema Fellows Program

Aubree's residency in Peru

Exploring El Sistema - Thu, 2015-02-19 21:00
I was recently awarded an Innovation Grant from the Sistema Fellowship Resource Center to observe and document the programs of Arpegio Perú through a three-week residency. Tatjana Merzyn, Sistema Fellow ’14, is the Director of Programs at Arpegio and leads an impressive Sistema-inspired music education initiative serving over 400 Peruvian... Sistema Fellows Program

PD workshop series underway

Exploring El Sistema - Thu, 2015-02-19 17:00
On Wednesday afternoon, nine Fellows spent an hour on a conference call with Sistema Fellows Program faculty member Greg Kandel. Two Fellows presented real life strategy challenges for Greg's feedback, and received additional suggestions from their colleagues on the call. This activity is part of a series of professional development... Sistema Fellows Program

Why Does London Need a New Concert Hall?

Huffington College - Wed, 2015-02-18 17:33
The press and media are all over this one and obviously excited at the prospect of luring back Rattle to his homeland. They also argue for something that London really needs. And this feeding frenzy, I fear, could obscure some rational and strategic thinking that needs to be put in place before anyone signs up for a project. Tony Woodcock

Sistema Global Research's first podcast

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2015-02-16 21:34
Elaine Sandoval, Sistema Fellow '13, has helped to launch Sistema Global Research, including a series of podcasts in response to Geoff Baker's recent book criticizing El Sistema in Venezuela. The first podcast, featuring Elaine's interview of Emily Kubitskey, a YOLA wind ensemble director, is now live on the Sistema Global... Sistema Fellows Program

In Progress: WHIN Music Community School

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2015-02-16 17:15
In progress: a music-centered El Sistema-inspired elementary school in Northern Manhattan. Ever since he visited the Conservatory Lab Charter School during his year at NEC, David Gracia (Sistema Fellow '11) has been inspired by the vision of a school with music at its core. That vision may come to life... Sistema Fellows Program

Social Enterprise

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2015-02-16 17:05
When I first heard about the Social Enterprise Conference at the Harvard Business School, I was first curious to know the social enterprise sector, and, to be quite honest, to get a bit educated on what exactly this Social Enterprise thing is about. I wanted to see where my work... Sistema Fellows Program

Harmony Project Phoenix

Exploring El Sistema - Fri, 2015-02-13 10:40
Congratulations to Diogo Pereira, Sistema Fellow '13, founding program director of a new venture in Arizona: Harmony Project Phoenix. According to its new website, "Harmony Project is a research-based multi-year mentoring program for low-income youth that uses music as a means of positive development and social inclusion. Tanner Community Development... Sistema Fellows Program

El Sistema 40

Jose-Luis Estrada - Thu, 2015-02-12 21:35

Por su  transcendencia social y educativa, El Sistema es uno de los más importantes proyectos culturales de nuestros tiempos. En su 40 aniversario, me uno a la celebración de sus logros e ideales sublimados por el trabajo constante y paciente de su fundador José Antonio Abreu. Me siento muy orgulloso de poder ser parte de ese gran sueño de proyección hacia el futuro. ¡Felicidades! 

Because of its social and educational significance, El Sistema is one of the most important cultural projects of our time. On its 40th anniversary, I join the celebration of its achievements and ideals guided by the constant and patient work of its founder José Antonio Abreu. I feel very proud to be part of this great dream of growing better futures. Congratulations!

Victoria Hain and YPO’s February 19th Concert

Preparatory School - Thu, 2015-02-12 17:21

We had a chance to speak with Victoria Hain, percussionist for YPO.  Be sure to check out YPO on February 19th in Jordan Hall! Here’s what she had to say:

What have been the challenges of this program and how have you grown as a musician from these challenges?

I think a unique challenge I’ve had to face as a percussionist is playing a range of dynamics on an instrument like crash cymbals. Soft crashes are always a struggle as a result of the weight and size of the crash cymbals.

What are you most looking forward to about this performance?

I am most looking forward to the Sibelius Violin Concerto because, out of the parts I have this cycle, I play the most in the Sibelius.

Pick your favorite piece on the program. What does that piece mean to you?

My favorite piece is John Harbison’s Remembering Gatsby. It is a different kind of music than our orchestra nominally plays which is exciting. It reminds me of the 1920s and the music from Toy Story, making the listening experience almost nostalgic.

Is there an experience with music that inspired you to be a musician?

When I was in fourth grade the high school band toured all the elementary schools and showed off all the instruments in an attempt get younger kids interested in music lessons. I was fascinated by the kid who was playing drum set and I really wanted to become a rock n’ roll drummer. Ironically enough, throughout my 9 years as a percussionist I’ve studied almost exclusively classical, seldom touching the drum set.

What is your favorite piece of music?

My favorite piece of music is Hoagy Carmichael’s Heart and Soul because pretty much everyone knows how to play it, so it’s always fun to goof around on various instruments and make music with friends.

St. Valentine and the Meaning of Life

Huffington College - Thu, 2015-02-12 14:02
The King was unhappy. Although he knew that he possessed all that a man could possibly wish for, including 70 concubines whose names he could never remember, and had more gold in his treasury than was thought possible, still he was unhappy. Tony Woodcock