Grow your leadership capacity. Build and maintain a successful career. Empower yourself to address 21st century opportunities and challenges. Join the working artists and administrators gathering at NEC this summer for our #MusiciansAtWork series.

1. Understanding El Sistema
2. Building a Chamber Music Residency

NEW Professional development consultations, especially for NEC alumni interested in mission-driven and community-based activities, are available at no cost from Heath Marlow. Areas of expertise include sustainability, strategic planning, nonprofits (including organizational culture and governance), fundraising, audience development, creative youth development, El Sistema, and creative placemaking.

Sign up for a consultation by clicking on this link.

1. Understanding El Sistema

Cancelled for summer 2020

For over forty years, Venezuela's El Sistema has served as a valuable inspiration for the promise of transformative music education for at-risk youth. Besides excellent teaching artistry and classroom management skills, what else is necessary to create a thriving and sustainable El Sistema-inspired program in the US? 

This institute is designed to help musicians and administrators alike advance their careers and invest more deeply in the mission-driven work of Creative Youth Development organizations. It draws on expertise developed through NEC’s Sistema Fellows Program. Accomplished teaching artists and program leaders affiliated with nationally recognized Creative Youth Development programming will share their personal experiences in this growing sector.

The format will consist of a series of webinars (June 5 & 6) featuring a diversity of important perspectives from the field, along with opportunities to connect with colleagues and engage in conversation. During the two weeks that follow, small group conversations and individual consultations will be scheduled to meet the specific interests of each participant.

View testimonials, photos, and the daily schedule from the 2018 institute here.


Who should attend? 

1.    Teaching artists
2.    Musicians looking to enter the CYD sector
3.    Administrators
4.    Board members

Representative topics:

1.    El Sistema in the United States
2.    Creative Youth Development
3.    Program evaluation
4.    Creative placemaking
5.    Cultural competency
6.    Leadership and organizational culture
7.    Citizen artistry
8.    Teaching artist sustainability

Faculty & Presenters:

Heath Marlow, (former) Director, Sistema Fellows Program

June 2020 presenters:

Erik Holmgren Program Manager, Creative Youth Development, MA Cultural Council; (former) Education Director, Sistema Fellows Program 
Rodrigo Guerrero (former) Deputy Director, Institutional Development & International Affairs, Fundamusical (El Sistema)
Laura Jekel Founder & (former) Director, MYCincinnati; Resident Artist, Price Hill Will Community Development Corporation, '10 Sistema Fellow
Aubree Weiley Faculty and Manager of Community Partnerships, Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, '14 Sistema Fellow
Ealain McMullin  Co-Founder, Newport String Project
Andrea Landin (former) Director, New West Symphony Harmony Project, School Partnerships Director, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, '13 Sistema Fellow



Enrollment & Application Deadlines:

Limited to 20 participants. Applications will be considered as long as space is available.


Housing is unavailable for summer 2020.


$300 ($250 for NEC alumni and direct colleagues of NEC's Sistema Fellows)

How to apply:

To apply, please register online and pay the $50 application fee. Also, please provide a summary of your professional activities, and what you hope to gain by attending this institute (word limit: 500). Summary should be emailed to Heath Marlow.

Apply Now

2. Building a Chamber Music Residency

As part of NEC's evolving response to the COVID-19 outbreak, NEC's campus is closed for on-campus events through August 31. Therefore Building a Chamber Music Residency will be offered in an online format.  For more details, please contact Heath Marlow.

A unique opportunity for professional ensembles committed to the meaningful engagement of audiences and communities to participate in an intensive residency design and planning experience.

Ensembles seeking to build long-term or annual residencies in a specific community will spend time online developing their ideas in a supportive environment of like-minded peers. The primary goal of the program is to support the planning and creation of long-term or annual residencies (e.g. summer festival) that mutually benefit musicians and communities. This will be accomplished through defining and building a plan for an initiative (or organization) that provides a sustainable balance of high-level performing, engagement, and administrative activities—all specifically geared to meet the needs of professional chamber musicians.

Participants will come away with an understanding of best practices in place-based residency-building and a strategic plan for building their residency, having worked through the necessary conceptual and logistical elements (including mission, vision, competitive advantage, benchmarking, budgeting, etc.).

Participating ensembles receive follow up consultation and resources, as needed. Ensembles will be well prepared to apply to Chamber Music America’s Residency Partnership Program. (See CMA’s eligibility guidelines.)


Heath Marlow


Who should attend? 

Ensembles committed to creating a place-based residency, with passion for engagement and community building, as well as performance. This program is intended for professional ensembles (duos through large ensembles, ensembles with variable membership), including ensembles enrolled in graduate-level professional training programs at conservatories. All members of the ensemble must participate.


$300 per person. Scholarships are available; contact Heath Marlow to learn more.

How to apply:

Contact Heath Marlow for information.


"Thread Ensemble is interested in developing a broad spectrum of performance projects and creative ideas, which can get confusing at times. Heath has been extremely helpful in working with us to name our goals and then supporting us to create a concrete plan to achieve them."

—Abigale Reisman, '13 MM Contemporary Improvisation