El Sistema USA Conference in LA

Polyphonic will be publishing a lot of information about the El Sistema USA project, covering many of its myriad facets, in the next month. I arrived in Los Angeles last night for “Composing Change: YOLA and the El Sistema Movement” conference.

Today’s session, hosted by the League of American Orchestras, will be moderated by Eric Booth, and includes an invitational rehearsal with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic. (Tonight we’re attending their performance of Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique. I have a seat behind the orchestra, facing Maestro Dudamel — should be an interesting concert experience.)

Tomorrow is the official YOLA conference (Youth Orchestra of LA) and will include presentations by YOLA and other youth orchestras, as well as the 10 Abreu Fellows who have just returned from 2 months in Venezuela .

I recently interviewed NEC Dean Marc Churchill and Stephanie Scherpf, Managing Director of El Sistema USA, in Boston, and spent a few days in Baltimore with Dan Trahey, Nick Skinner, and Hillary Hahn observing the Baltimore Symphony’s OrchKids program.

Stay tuned here for blog entries over the next few days about what’s happening at the conference in LA, and for in-depth articles about the Abreu Fellowship program at NEC, an inside look at the OrchKids program, and an overview of other El Sistema USA programs around the country.

About the author

Ann Drinan
Ann Drinan

Ann Drinan, Senior Editor, has been a member of the Hartford Symphony viola section for over 30 years. She is a former Chair of the Orchestra Committee, former member of the HSO Board, and has served on many HSO committees. She is also the Executive Director of CONCORA (CT Choral Artists), a professional chorus based in Hartford and New Britain, founded by Artistic Director Richard Coffey. Ann was a member of the Advisory Board of the Symphony Orchestra Institute (SOI), and was the HSO ROPA delegate for 14 years, serving as both Vice President and President of ROPA. In addition to playing the viola and running CONCORA, Ann is a professional writer and editor, and has worked as a consultant and technical writer for software companies in a wide variety of industries for over 3 decades. (She worked for the Yale Computer Science Department in the late 70s, and thus has been on the Internet, then called the DARPAnet, since 1977!) She is married to Algis Kaupas, a sound recordist, and lives a block from Long Island Sound in Branford CT. Together they create websites for musicians: shortbeachwebdesign.com.

Ann holds a BA in Music from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an MA in International Relations from Yale University.

Read Ann Drinan's blog here. web.esm.rochester.edu/poly/author/ann-drinan

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