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Director, Arpegio
Trujillo, Peru

Raised in Hamburg, Germany, Tatjana Merzyn is the Artistic Director of Arpegio in Trujillo, Peru since 2014. Her passion for social change through music began when she first visited Peru in 2006 to work as a volunteer in Arpegio. She taught strings and conducted the Orquesta de Barro, that unites children from different social backgrounds. Back in Germany she launched a government-supported volunteer program with young German musicians to assist the Peruvian teachers. Furthermore, she initiated an intercultural orchestra exchange program with the Droste-Hülshoff-Sinfonieorchester. As the Artistic Director, she manages and trains the teaching artists and volunteers and is in charge of international relations and institutional development.

Arpegio is a Peruvian nonprofit organization in Trujillo that promotes social inclusion and cultural development through ensemble-based music education. The project was founded in 2004 and is the first of its kind in Peru. Arpegio’s vision is to support the students in their personal development and to educate them to be creative, tolerant and responsible citizens that have a positive impact on their social environment.

Arpegio started out with 30 recorder students in El Porvenir, an underserved neighborhood of Trujillo. It currently serves 400 kids in six núcleos in Northern Peru, providing 4 to 10 hours per week of instruction by 7 teaching artists and supported by a 10 volunteers. Those who can afford it—about 35 percent of the students—pay for their classes and help to finance the classes for the other students. By bringing students from all different social backgrounds together in the seven orchestras, Arpegio aspires to build bridges between parts of society that used to be separate.

Tatjana earned a Bachelor and Master degree in Music Education and History from University of the Arts Berlin and Humboldt University. She graduated from the Sistema Fellows Program in 2014. She received national scholarships from "Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes," "Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst" and "Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben." As a pianist she was awarded a first prize at Germany's nationwide "Jugend musiziert" music competition. Tatjana served as principal violist in several German youth orchestras. Additionally, she performed as piano soloist and as conductor with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Trujillo in Peru.

Photo: Clara Yang