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The five-day camp is made up of young musicians from states in the Western United States and will culminate in a free performance in the Benedict Music Tent on June 28.


ASPEN, Colo. – This June, Aspen and Take a Stand – a partnership of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Longy School of Music of Bard College, and Bard College – partner in a national project that brings young musicians from El Sistema-inspired programs in the western U.S. to Aspen for a five-day music festival.  This gathering – held June 24-29 – is the first regional gathering of the National Take a Stand Festival (, a three-year initiative launched in 2015 that will bring together students from El Sistema-inspired programs across the country in two regional gatherings in summer 2016 – in Aspen in June, 2016 and at Bard College in August, 2016 – and a national gathering in Los Angeles, CA in summer 2017. Students represent programs inspired by Venezuela’s revolutionary music education program that supports social change through music.


The National Take a Stand Festival in Aspen will be overseen by Aspen’s distinguished Music Director Robert Spano and will culminate in a 6pm concert in Benedict Music Tent on June 28.  The free performance, during which the festival orchestra will play works by Brahms, Saint-Saens, John Williams, and Piazzolla, will also feature local students in AMFS’s own after-school programs performing music by Sean O’Loughlin.  For additional information, go to


“Here in Aspen, we well know how music-making can transform lives, and – through individuals – transform whole communities,” says Alan Fletcher, President and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School.  “El Sistema is a powerful force for good, and we are very proud to be partnering with the LA Phil, Longy School of Music of Bard College, and Bard College in supporting its growth in the United States.  In Aspen, the young musicians in this program will join a highly dynamic, international community of professional and student musicians. We look forward to their arrival and hope they will find the immersive musical experience – and the spectacular mountain setting – as inspiring as we do.”


The three-year National Take a Stand Festival features a teaching faculty made up of representatives from El Sistema-inspired programs across the country.  This faculty will serve as the master teachers at the two regional youth orchestra camps this summer – at AMFS and at Bard College – and continue to oversee programming at the seven-day national youth orchestra festival in Los Angeles in 2017, which will feature a final performance led by LA Phil Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel.


By offering young people the opportunity to learn from exceptional musicians, become ambassadors of their programs, and – for some students – travel out of state for the first time, this project aims to develop a model for excellence and a national community of citizen musicians from historically excluded populations in the United States.  Students will not only have access to top artistic and educational resources, but will experience some of the world’s finest learning institutions and concert venues – such as Aspen Music Festival and School’s Benedict Music Tent, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and Bard College’s Fisher Center.




About the Aspen Music Festival and School

The Aspen Music Festival and School is the United States’ premier classical music festival, presenting more than 400 musical events during its eight-week summer season in Aspen. The institution draws top classical musicians from around the world to this Colorado mountain retreat for an unparalleled combination of performances and music education. Many events are free, and seating on the David Karetsky Music Lawn and in the Music Garden is always free.


More than 630 music students from more than 40 U.S. states and more than 40 countries come each summer to play in five orchestras, sing, conduct, compose and study with approximately 130 renowned artist-faculty. Students represent the field’s best talent. Many have already begun their professional careers; others are on the cusp.


Renowned alumni include violinists Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Cho-Liang Lin, Robert McDuffie, Midori, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Gil Shaham; pianists Ingrid Fliter, Orli Shaham, Conrad Tao, Yuja Wang, Wu Han and Joyce Yang; conductors Marin Alsop, James Conlon, James Levine, Leonard Slatkin and Joshua Weilerstein; composers William Bolcom, Philip Glass, Augusta Read Thomas, Bright Sheng and Joan Tower; vocalists Jamie Barton, Danielle de Niese, Sasha Cooke, Renée Fleming, and Dawn Upshaw; cellists Lynn Harrell and Alisa Weilerstein; guitarist Sharon Isbin; performer Peter Schickele and bassist Edgar Meyer.


About Take a Stand

The powerful message of El Sistema, Venezuela’s revolutionary music education program, is spreading across the United States and igniting a movement that engages thousands of children and families in music making and community building. To support this pioneering field, Bard College, the Longy School of Music of Bard College, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic have formed Take a Stand, an innovative national initiative that supports social change through music. Key project areas include annual conferences for the field of El Sistema-inspired programs world-wide and a Masters of Arts in Teaching program, situated at an LA Phil YOLA site, with a focus on infusing El Sistema philosophy into music teaching practices.

About the Los Angeles Philharmonic

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music & Artistic 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 September 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.


About Longy School of Music of Bard College

Since its founding in 1915 by renowned oboist Georges Longy, Longy School of Music of Bard College has pioneered groundbreaking, rigorous music education programs through specialized training and immersive community engagement experiences. With a mission to prepare musicians to make a difference in the world, Longy serves 225 graduate and undergraduate students from over 35 states and 25 countries at its Conservatory campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts and its campus in Los Angeles, California that houses the El Sistema inspired Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree program. In the Boston area, Longy’s Sistema Side by Side initiative brings together young people from El Sistema-inspired programs with musicians from the Longy Conservatory Orchestra, an expert faculty of teaching artists, and special guest artists for intensive rehearsals and celebratory performances throughout the year.


About Bard College

Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City on the east bank of the Hudson River. It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with concentrations in more than 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 11 programs; 9 early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally. Building on a 150-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College’s mission has expanded across the country, around the world, and to meet broader student needs. The undergraduate program at our main campus in the Hudson River Valley of upstate New York retains a reputation for scholarly excellence, a focus on the arts, and civic engagement. Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders.






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