‘We might need to pay for extra baggage for our flight to England,’ jokes Ron Alvarez. ‘I’m bringing a violin, lots of music scores and all the passion, energy, curiosity and positive energy that I can carry!’
Ron is one of two teachers from Venezuela’s El Sistema who will work with four Sistema-inspired programmes across England from 27 April to 30 May, as part of the Sharing Notes project organised by Sistema England.
Ron will spend the first two weeks at In Harmony Lambeth, in London, while his colleague Félix Briceño works with The Nucleo Project in North Kensington. Ron will then travel to work with In Harmony Liverpool in Everton and Félix will work with Sistema in Norwich in Norfolk. You can follow their progress in this blog.
‘We are here to share the experience of El Sistema in Venezuela, but also to learn about the great work that is already being done by the programmes in England,’ says Ron. ‘We’ve seen some of their performances on video and are excited to be able to join them in this residency. I hope that at the end of this experience we will all be more passionate and knowledgeable, and this will benefit the children and the communities we engage with.’
Fiona Cunningham, Managing Director of Sistema England, explains: ‘Great teachers are great learners. ’Sharing Notes’ is about exploring methods used by strong music teachers from around the world. Where better to start this journey than with teachers from the original Venezuelan El Sistema? We know this project will be a fantastic learning experience for everyone involved, and hope it leads to many international exchanges. Our heartfelt thanks to Fundamusical for letting us ‘borrow’ Ron and Felix, when their skills are in demand at home and abroad.’
Rod Skipp, Artistic Director of In Harmony Liverpool said: ‘We look forward to welcoming Ron to Everton and sharing with him the passion and commitment of our wonderful young musicians as well as making some great music together.’
Félix Briceño is a violinist and conductor. Since 2012 he has been Musical Director at Fundamusical for the state of Aragua, and is the principal conductor for the Symphony Orchestra of Aragua and the Youth Orchestra of Maracay. He was Music Director of the Guatire nucleo from 2003 to 2009. In 2006 and 2008 he studied conducting at Sherborne Summer School of Music with Robert Houlihan, Denise Ham, Rodolfo Saglimbeni and George Hurst.
Ron Alvarez is a violinist and conductor. He was the director of the Guatire nucleo from 2003 to 2011. He was also a tutor in Fundamusical’s programme for nucleo directors from 2009 to 2011. Ron has worked for long periods with Sistema programmes in Greenland and Denmark. Since January 2014 he has been Fundamusical’s Coordinator for International Relations, responsible for sharing knowledge and experience with Sistema-inspired programmes around the world.
In Harmony Lambeth is led by Lambeth Council in partnership with Southbank Centre. In Harmony Liverpool is led by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. Both programmes are part of the national In Harmony initiative. jointly funded by the Department for Education and National Lottery through Arts Council England, that aims to inspire and transform the lives of children through community-based orchestral music-making. In Harmony Liverpool is also supported by major gifts and donations from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Youth Music, the Rayne Foundation, Eric & Margaret Kinder Charitable Trust, The Oglesby Charitable Trust In Harmony Fund, The Granada Foundation, Weightmans, Faith Primary School, West Lancashire Freemasons Charity and private donors.
Sistema in Norwich is an independent programme run by Norfolk & Norwich Community Arts (NORCA).
The Nucleo Project, led by Lucy Maguire, is a social action programme in North Kensington that uses the pursuit of musical excellence as a way to enrich the lives of children, young people and their families.
Sistema England is a charity, founded by Julian Lloyd Webber, that seeks to transform the lives of children, young people and their communities through the power of music making, as part of the international El Sistema movement.