With their missions aligned, the D’Addario Foundation and El Sistema programs empower children and communities via a free and uniquely effective music

FARMINGDALE, NY–June 21, 2013–The D’Addario Foundation has pledged its support to music programs that employ the El Sistema method of music education.

Part music education, part initiative for social change, El Sistema provides free musical instruments and instruction to children and teens who cannot otherwise afford them, but also much more. The unique methodology instills in its students powerful feelings of belonging, pride and purpose.

The programs, which are often intense and demanding, leave students with a deep knowledge of music and their instrument as well as defined senses of capability, endurance and resilience having just overcome the program’s great challenges.

One of the first El Sistema programs in the United States was launched five years ago at the People’s Music School in Chicago, IL. “We’ve been providing free music education for the purpose of social transformation for over three decades,” remarked the school’s executive director, Bob Fiedler. “And when we became aware of the El Sistema philosophy and methodology, we felt that it was a very natural extension of our mission.” During this time, the People’s Music School has elevated the performance abilities of many elementary-school-aged children from novice to college level. “Some of our former students are now among the best players in their high school orchestras,” continued Fiedler. “But more importantly, as a result of participation in our program, our kids – many of whom rarely leave their neighborhoods – have performed at Chicago’s prestigious music venues and traveled the world. This program broadens horizons, and we couldn’t do it without the enthusiastic support of the D’Addario Foundation.”

Another successful D’Addario Foundation-supported music school incorporating the El Sistema method is KidZNotes in Raleigh-Durham, NC. “Through El Sistema, KidZNotes has awakened hope and ambition for young musicians in our community,” commented the school’s executive director, Katie Wyatt. “El Sistema is opening doors for our kids. When Michelle Obama walked onto the tarmac at Raleigh-Durham Airport and greeted student ambassadors it was no surprise to me that the two students selected to represent their school were KidZNotes trumpet players.”

The D’Addario Foundation has long supported initiatives that provide music education and inspiration to children in underserved communities. For example, during its annual Performance Series season at Carnegie Hall, the foundation regularly arranges for world-class guitarists to perform at inner city New York schools. The school visits bring joy, musical inspiration and encouragement to the students and provide much-needed attention for the schools’ music programs.

The D’Addario Foundation presently supports twenty El Sistema-based music programs throughout North America.

Founded in 1975 by economist and musician José Antonio Abreu, El Sistema began in a garage in Venezuela. Today, El Sistema music programs in over 25 countries provide free music education to hundreds of thousands of children each year. Among the graduates from El Sistema Venezuela are Gustavo Dudamel, music director of both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, and Edicson Ruiz, double-bass player of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2009 Abreu received a TED Prize for this work on El Sistema.

# # #


About the D’Addario Foundation

For over 30 years the D’Addario Foundation has dedicated its support to not-for-profit organizations that provide sustainable, high-quality music instruction programs in underserved communities. Through the generous support of D’Addario and Company, the D’Addario Foundation awards grants, product donations and uniquely inspiring performances to organizations that strive to achieve this mission. Believing in the transformative nature of music, the D’Addario Foundation hopes to create positive change in the world by creating more musicians and opportunities for children and adults to express themselves through music.