Abreu Fellows and their Blogs


The Third Class of Abreu Fellows at New England Conservatory of Music, Photo by: Andrew Hurlbut


The Abreu Fellows Program has two primary goals: to educate 10 people each year to make significant and sustainable contributions to the growth of the El Sistema movement in the United States and, through that work, to contribute knowledge and artifacts that are of use to others interested in growing El Sistema throughout the world. Upon completion of the Sistema Fellowship, graduates of the program are required to work on behalf of The El Sistema movement, preferably in the U.S., for at least one year. Graduates will become members of an ever-expanding network of Sistema Fellows, mentoring other leaders and teachers while developing their own local programs consistent with the original intent of El Sistema.

My fellow Fellow's Blogs:

David France:  "We talked of their love of learning and taking every opportunity to grow when outsiders visit. I am not a seasoned string specialist….yet so coming into a situation where I don’t know the level of the students and wanting to make a lasting impact the “what should I do here?” question was very important. Do I just work on sound, musical ideas, vibrato, posture, bow hold, intonation, phrasing, or rhythm? The answer is a resounding YES!"

Albert Oppeheimer: "There is a glowing classical music connection through history in New Orleans, but it has dimmed recently. How can we rekindle that light? If Sistema were to grow in New Orleans, the classical music that we would hear from the youth in underserved communities would not be a new sound, but a rebirth!"

Jennifer Kessler: "This is what it means when we talk about "building community:" giving the families a sense of pride in their children and in what the young people in their neighborhoods can do through musical accomplishment."

Stephanie Hsu: "And yet, flexibility and spontaneity seem also to be critical components of El Sistema’s success, making common denominators helpful, but never definitive Gospel. Ultimately, no discussion of common denominators can be had without a focused emphasis on outcomes."

Avi Mehta: "The music making was not only relevant to this community’s culture, but provided the students with three hours of artistic and academic instruction in a safe, compelling, and passionate environment."

Alysia Lee: "Large ensemble festival experiences have been an inspirational turning point for many young musicians and also motivate young musicians who often have little opportunity engage with peers musically-MICS provides that opportunity!"

Aisha Bowden: "I remember the day I first learned of El Sistema. It was during a normal meeting of music teachers in D.C. when Ben Hall (Director of Music for Washington D.C. Public Schools) mentioned an amazing music program in Venezuela that was taking the world by storm."

Ben Fuller: "Our purpose as Abreu Fellows is to make a significant contribution to the growing El Sistema movement in the United States."

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