NEC Announces 2011-12 Abreu Fellows

The 2011-2012 Abreu Fellows are: Aisha Bowden, Julie Davis, David France, Ben Fuller, José Luis Hernández-Estrada, Stephanie Lin Hsu, Jennifer Kessler, Alysia Lee, Avi Mehta, and Albert Oppenheimer.

From the New Englad Conservatory of Music

April 11, 2011

NEC Welcomes Third Class of Abreu Fellows to Train as Leaders of El Sistema-inspired Programs in US
Class Includes Several with Prior El Sistema Experience

The Abreu Fellows Program at New England Conservatory is delighted to announce its third class of 10 post-graduate musicians “passionate for their art and social change” to train as leaders of El Sistema-inspired music education programs in the United States. The program was created in response to El Sistema founder José Antonio Abreu’s 2009 TED Wish to Change the World and has produced young musical entrepreneurs who are leading nucleos (music education programs) in Juneau, Los Angeles, Durham NC, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston and—soon to come—Cleveland and Cincinnati (see Rebecca Levi from first class of Fellows in photo.)

Classes begin August 29 and continue through May 2012 and include residencies in several American cities and in Venezuela. The certificate program is under the direction of Erik Holmgren, Education Director and Stephanie Scherpf, Managing Director of El Sistema USA. The Abreu Fellows Program at New England Conservatory is an official program of NEC's Preparatory and Continuing Education Schools directed by Dean and Executive Director Leslie Wu Foley.

Now 35 years old, Venezuela's El Sistema is a phenomenally successful program of social action through music education that transforms the lives of at-risk children. It currently provides free music lessons and orchestral playing experience to more than 300,000 children and young adults throughout Venezuela. Its intent is to provide poor children with what Dr. Abreu terms "affluence of the spirit." Through its intense time commitment, rigor, loving concern for each child, and emphasis on the individual player as an essential member of the ensemble, it has rescued many youngsters from the social ills they might otherwise experience. Many graduates continue to play in professional orchestras and many have gone on to college and successful working lives. El Sistema's flagship orchestra, the Símon Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela has become internationally renowned. And the young El Sistema-bred conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, has become a superstar and currently serves as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The new class of Fellows brings together five women and five men, several of whom already have experience working in several North American or international El Sistema programs. They include three violinists, a trumpeter, a composer, a hornist, three conductors, and a singer.

For this third year, program planners are working to deepen the Fellows’ connections within NEC, the Boston community, and the burgeoning El Sistema movement across the United States. Fellows will combine intensive seminar learning with field work at the local, national and international level. The students will be assigned to several different music and education organizations in the Boston area, including the Conservatory Lab Charter School, where Rebecca Levi and David Malek, alumni from the Class of 2009-10, are running an after-school program. Mini-residencies in previous years have also included assignments with OrchKids in Baltimore, KidzNotes in Durham, NC, and Community MusicWorks in Providence, RI.

These community placements will offer on-the-ground experience in teaching, curriculum design, non-profit management, grant writing, strategic planning, and partnerships. Seminars will once again draw on the faculty and staff of NEC as well as nationally-renowned artists and educators to focus on two primary areas of study: education and organizational management. The Fellows will also spend several weeks in Venezuela observing firsthand the El Sistema model. By connecting seminar learning with exposure to the El Sistema movement, the Abreu Fellows will complete their certificate program at NEC with the skills and inspiration to lead the movement forward. 


Leave a comment

Add comment