Skip to page content
  • WDCH
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic, Longy School of Music & Bard College Announce Take a Stand an Innovative Education Initiative to Support Social Change Through Music
  • Oct. 4, 2011
  • Launches January 2012

    Dr. José Antonio Abreu, founder of the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela (El Sistema), serves as Honorary Advisor

    Los Angeles - (October 5, 2011) – The Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil), the Longy School of Music (Cambridge, MA) and Bard College (New York) today announced TAKE A STAND , a partnership which supports social change through music, provides a national platform for pioneering educators, and advances work in music education within the United States, inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema. This initiative seeks to support the development of unique adaptations of the Venezuelan system in the U.S. The new bi-coastal alliance leverages the synergies of the LA Phil’s robust existing program YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles), Bard College’s experience in developing renowned academic and socially based training programs, and Longy’s role as a leader in progressive and rigorous training for performing and teaching musicians. Based on the El Sistema model, TAKE A STAND seeks to unite music programs throughout the U.S., providing leaders with tools for growth through a series of conferences and workshops, and creating a pipeline of music teachers to be trained via the launch of a new Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Music degree program (accredited through Bard), all based in Los Angeles. Dr. José Antonio Abreu has agreed to be Honorary Advisor to TAKE A STAND.

    TAKE A STAND literally takes a stand for music and its power to effect change in children and their communities,” said Deborah Borda, President and CEO of the LA Phil. “This unique partnership of institutions brings together the resources and skills of a symphony orchestra, a college and a conservatory, all aligned by shared values of innovation, music and social responsibility. We believe this national alliance will inspire and lead change in music education, addressing both a public and musical imperative that is cried out for today. We are partnering to invest in the mission of music as a fundamental and essential human right.”

    Gustavo Dudamel, himself nurtured by El Sistema, said, “In order for programs like YOLA to develop and flourish, we need to share what we’ve learned and to train more teachers who understand the unique needs of these kinds of programs. My LA Phil family, by partnering with these two important educational institutions, will become a catalyst for change in communities throughout the U.S. It is my dream to see music become a reality for every child – this is a beautiful beginning.”

    TAKE A STAND supports learning for individuals and organizations that have their own El Sistema-inspired projects. It offers training for musicians who want to teach with these values and has two areas of focus: field-wide conferences and teacher training.

    • Field-wide conferences

    The national conferences will take a global perspective on El Sistema-influenced programs that are growing beyond the borders of Venezuela. Utilizing resources from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, Gustavo Dudamel, and YOLA as well as innovative programming from the MAT, these convenings will allow participants to learn together and explore best practices. The TAKE A STAND inaugural convening takes place in Los Angeles (January 30-February 1, 2012), in conjunction with the LA Phil’s Mahler Project. Attendees will experience Gustavo Dudamel’s Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela working alongside YOLA children and will have access to leaders and teachers from El Sistema’s headquarters, Caracas. Some work study scholarships will be available; for additional information please visit:

    • Teacher training

    The Master of Arts in Teaching in Music will operate with a clear goal: to promote the integration of MAT graduates into El Sistema learning labs and schools throughout the country, and to deepen the national conversation surrounding El Sistema philosophy and pedagogy in the United States. Initially taking place at one of LA Phil’s premier established nucleos (Heart of Los Angeles, a community center which is part of YOLA - LA Phil’s signature education program serving over 500 children in two underserved LA neighborhoods) and at the Paramount Bard Academy in Delano, CA (a charter school associated with the Bard MAT program), this training program will draw upon Bard’s experience in teacher education and Longy’s focus on performance training. The specialized program offers candidates opportunities for intensive fieldwork at YOLA nucleos, YOLA Neighborhood Project schools, public, and charter schools, as well as mentorship from YOLA at HOLA teachers; MAT students will have the opportunity to study privately with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Graduates of the yearlong MAT course will receive a Master’s degree in Teaching in Music from Bard College and credentialing in 48 states. For additional information please visit:

    “Bard College is proud to be a part of the collaboration between the Los Angeles Philharmonic and our new partner, the Longy School of Music, with whom we are merging. Through the combined cooperative efforts of these three institutions, we hope to make an important contribution to music education, and to the extension of music education to the most underserved population in the United States,” said Bard College President Leon Botstein. “The traditions of music education at Longy and the efforts of Bard in the reform of public education, combined with the artistic distinction and civic leadership of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will make an historic contribution to music education where it is most needed.”

    “Music doesn’t exist solely in concert halls and conservatories,” said Karen Zorn, President of Longy. “As educators, we need to adapt the power of El Sistema in ways that fit our country and the distinct musical identities of our individual communities. TAKE A STAND gives teachers and leaders real and powerful tools to work together, build programming, and deliver the message that all children should have access to music.”


    For more information, visit:;;

    (NOTE: The TAKE A STAND dedicated website will be announced and up shortly.)


    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music from all genres – orchestral, chamber and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music and pop – at two of L.A.’s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall ( ) and the Hollywood Bowl ( The LA Phil’s season at Walt Disney Concert Hall extends from October through May, and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education and community programs.

    Longy School of Music, founded in 1915 by renowned oboist Georges Longy, is a degree-granting conservatory and community-based school of preparatory and continuing studies with a curriculum that blends traditional European approach to musical training with progressive education for the modern professional musician. Its faculty promotes profound musical understanding and technical mastery, encourages growth of imagination, and fosters an attitude of inquiry about the role of music and the musician in the larger world.

    Bard College is a private, highly selective independent coeducation college of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to promoting a rigorous education through innovative programs and high academic standards. The College, founded in 1860 and located 90 miles north of New York City, offers undergraduate degrees in the arts, languages and literature, social studies, and natural sciences and mathematics, as well as graduate degrees in teaching, the studio and performing arts, environmental policy, curatorial studies, and the decorative arts and material culture. Bard’s MAT Program is designed to foster scholarship, intelligence, and creativity: qualities that are the hallmarks of fine teachers. Its programs, with locations on the Bard College campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, and in N.Y.C; Delano, California; and the West Bank, integrate theory and practice with study and application, through an active collaboration between the MAT faculty, public school teach teachers, and its students.

    El Sistema founder Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu has developed a comprehensive music education philosophy that stresses the important link for children between the intense study of music, and improved self-esteem, communication skills, and curiosity. Abreu’s model program offers young children and teenagers the opportunity to participate in rigorous music training - from the basics of rhythm to advanced orchestral performance - for up to six days a week at community El Sistema training centers, or nucleos. Since its inception over 35 years ago, the program has taught more than one million of Venezuela’s poorest children, changing students’ lives and transforming the communities around them.

    Press/Media Only, Contact:


    Sophie Jefferies

    213.972.3422 / 213.972.3408

    Longy School of Music

    Lael Harris

    (617) 876-0956 ext. 1554

    Bard College

    Mark Primoff

    (845) 758-7412

  • Contact: