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NEC Sistema Fellows Present Symposium

Young musicians will engage together in improvised performance. Program directors will meet to strengthen collaboration.

NEC’s Sistema Fellows Welcome Local El Sistema-inspired Music Education Programs for Music-making and Symposium, March 27 and 28, 2013

Students from Local Youth Music Programs to Participate in Collaborative Music-Making Activities and Improvisation Guided by NEC Faculty

Program Directors and Teaching Artists Focus on Boston Area Relationship Building and Future Collaboration

New England Conservatory’s Sistema Fellows Program will host a two-day event, March 27 and 28, for El Sistema-inspired music education programs in the Greater Boston area. Under the guidance of Program Director Heath Marlow, and organized by the 10 members of the 2012-13 Fellows class, the “seminario” will mark the first time Boston has hosted such a convening and will build on previous such events held in New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.  The planners hope that the project will create and strengthen ties between programs— several of which were founded and are directed by former Sistema Fellows—and set the stage for future collaborations.

Approximately 70 students from the local El Sistema-inspired  “nucleos” will gather on the first day to engage in fun and educational activities in groups as well as in a single ensemble. For the first time, these young musicians will not come with prepared pieces, but will collaborate on improvised music. They will do this in a workshop setting guided by NEC’s Contemporary Improvisation faculty members, including Eden MacAdam-Somer and Nedelka Prescod

On Thursday morning, the 28th, Program Directors of the invited nucleos will join together to talk about the process that resulted in the previous day’s collaboration, as well as to think about future collaborations and unifying opportunities.

To kick off the public portion of the symposium, Arlene Goldbard, a prominent speaker on arts and community building, will present catalyzing opening remarks followed by a fishbowl-style panel discussion, and, finally, breakout sessions for all participants. Special guests will include Tanya Maggi, Director of Community Performances and Partnerships at NEC, and Hubie Jones, Founder of the Boston Children’s Chorus. 

According to Marlow, this two-day event “represents a first attempt at bringing together many like-minded and similarly inspired program leaders and teaching artists who are all engaged in creating transformative experiences for local youth through the vehicle of music. This year’s class of Sistema Fellows is honored to play a small role in catalyzing future collaborations between local El Sistema-inspired programs.”

The portion of these events that is open to the public is from 10 am to 1 pm on Thursday, March 28. Free registration by March 20 is required, as space is limited. As the details are finalized, they will appear on the Sistema Fellows Program’s blog,

Participating El Sistema-inspired programs will include the Conservatory Lab Charter School, Bridge Boston Charter School, Youth and Family Enrichment Services, Revolution of Hope, El Sistema Somerville, El Sistema at Josiah Quincy Elementary School, and Margarita Muniz Academy.

In its fourth year, the Sistema Fellows Program is a professional training program at NEC designed for ten postgraduate musicians and music educators who are passionate about creating careers for themselves that connect music, youth, and social change. Past participants in the Program have gone on to guide the development of numerous El Sistema-inspired programs across the United States and beyond.

For more information, contact Heath Marlow, Sistema Fellows Program Director.


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory in Boston, MA offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, contemporary improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Programs and Partnerships Program, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music, jazz, and contemporary improvisation.

NEC presents more than 900 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, century-old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz, contemporary improvisation, and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre or Paramount Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Senior Communications Specialist
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115