Eduardo Méndez, Executive Director
From an early age he began to study violin at the El Sistema Nucleus in Mérida. He was a teacher and violinist for the Simón Bolívar Orchestra. Since 2003, he has held the positions of Head of the Academic Division, National Director of Nuclei and Sectorial Academic Musical Director.
Leonardo Hurtado, National Manager of the Professor José Antonio Abreu’s Chair of Thought
Violinist / Doctor of Education. San Juan de los Morros, 1975. He began his musical studies at the age of 8 in El Sistema Guárico state, San Juan de los Morros nucleus, where, at the age of 11, he assumed the role of director of the children’s orchestra and youth. He was a member of various symphonic orchestras and chamber music groups in the states of Carabobo, Aragua and Guárico.
Andrés David Ascanio, Musical Academic Director
He began his musical training with the piano, at the age of 4. At Emil Friedman College, at the age of 11, he began his trumpet studies. In 2000, after auditioning, he entered the National Children’s Orchestra of Venezuela. In 2004, after competing, he was part of the trumpet line of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, with which he has performed under the direction of teachers Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle and Gustavo Dudamel, among others. In addition, he is a member of the Simón Bolívar Trumpet Ensemble. With these groups he has performed in various cities of Venezuela and has participated in international tours throughout the 5 continents.
Lourdes Sánchez, Director of the Simón Bolívar National Choir
A long career as a choralist, choir director and her solid musical training allowed her to lead the National Choir System for more than 10 years, developing an intense work of coordination, dissemination of the a cappella choral repertoire and leadership of the assemblies. symphonic-choirs. She founded the Niños Cantores de Venezuela and assumed the direction of the Choir
Simón Bolívar National.
Christian Vásquez, Conductor of International Career Orchestra
Renowned for his stage charisma, powerful performances, and compelling musicality, he continues to attract international attention. The maestro works regularly with numerous orchestras around the world and stands out as one of the most sought-after Venezuelan conductors today. In 2013, and after a fruitful relationship with the Nordic group, his contract was extended until 2019. During the 2015/2016 season, he was appointed principal guest conductor of the Arnhem Symphony (Het Gelders Orkest) until early 2019. He also made his debut with Bizet’s Carmen at the Norwegian National Opera.
Rafael Payare, Musical Director of the San Diego Symphony and the Orchester Symphonique de Montréal
As the musical director of the San Diego Symphony, their relationship has been recognized as one of the most dynamic in North America. The musical director of the Orchester Symphonique de Montréal, starting in September 2021 and will begin the season 22-23 for an initial period of 5 years. His profound musicianship, technical brilliance, and charismatic podium presence has elevated him as one of the most sought-after conductors. He was Principal Conductor and Music Director of the Ulster Orchestra, from 2014 to 2019, with which he appeared 2 times at the BBC Proms, in 2016 and 2019.
Mayra León, Director of the Simón Bolívar Music Conservatory and the El Sistema Research and Documentation Center
Musician, University teacher. Doctor in Education, Magister in Art, Aesthetic mention and Professor in Music Education. Mandolinist, Director of Choirs and Orchestras. He ventures into the conduction of children’s choirs in El Sistema with Master Irina Capriles in the nucleus of La Rinconada with the children singers of Caracas, later he develops his pedagogical work and conducting initiation, children’s and youth orchestras in the San Agustín Nucleus, Centro Montalbán y Guarenas Infant Academic.
Diego Matheuz, Conductor of an international career
He treasures fruitful periods as Principal Conductor of the La Fenice Theater in Venice, the Mozart Bologna Orchestra and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. His presentations with international media coverage are notable: two of La Fenice’s famous New Year’s concerts, broadcast around the world by RAI; the 2016 ECHO Klassik Gala with Konzerthausorchester Berlin and soloists Anna Netrebko, Khatia Buniatishvili, Martin Fröst and Andrea Bocelli shown live on German television ZDF and The “Tokyo Gala Concert” which celebrated the 120th anniversary of Deutsche Grammophon at Suntory Hall in 2018, with the release of a CD recording a few weeks later.
María Guerrero, Executive President of the Foundation for Social Action for Music
María Guerrero Sanz (Madrid. 1983) created the Foundation for Social Action for Music in 2013, inspired by the social and pedagogical model devised by José Antonio Abreu, musician, economist, politician. Venezuelan activist and educator. She is currently the Executive President of the organization. which seeks to empower children and young people at risk of social exclusion through music.
Rosicler Gómez (Ecuador) – Deputy UNDP Venezuela
Since March 2018, she was appointed Deputy Resident Representative in Venezuela. Rosicler joined UNDP in June 2000 and started as Head of the Procurement Area in the CO of Ecuador and became Operations Manager in 2004. She was appointed International Operations Manager for the Argentina CO in November 2014 and fulfilled this position until February 2018, managing the second largest programme of UNDP in the world.
Marcus Marshall, Founder of Sistema Europa
Secretary General of the Youth Orchestra of the European Union, Executive Director of the International Youth Foundation, President of Sistema Europa, Trustee of Sistema England and member of the Honorary Council of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Founder of Sistema Europa, Sistema Africa, SERA Archive, European Music Campus and the Simón Bolívar Baroque Orchestra of Venezuela, and Co-founder of the Orquesta del Siglo de las Luces.
Maria Majno, Vice President of the Sistema Europe Association
Song onlus, Milan, Italy August 2021. Maria Majno is a musician, musicologist, and manager, graduate of both Milan’s Conservatoire and its State University. During her extensive tenure as the artistic and executive director of the Società del Quartetto di Milano, Maria Majno oversaw a number of thematically based seasons as well as a complete performance of Bach’s Cantatas. And, since 2002, she has been involved in the international network of European Mozart Ways. In this network of the 10 countries visited by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Maria Majno coordinates initiatives in the areas of performance, scholarly research, publishing and educational projects. Since 2006, she has been the president of the association.
Yutaka Kikugawa, Executive Director/CEO Friends of El Sistema Japan since 2012
Born in Kobe in 1971. BA (Honours) in Geography from University College London and MA in Policy Studies from Institute of Education, University of London.
Joined UNESCO as Programme Officer in Education in 1998 after working with institute for Social Engineering, Inc. In 2000, joined UNICEF as Adolescent and Youth Development Officer in Lesotho (- 2003) and HIV/AIDS Coordinator in Eritrea (- 2007).
Rocío Ortega, Head of Communication of UNICEF Venezuela
Originally from Mexico, Rocío has worked for UNICEF for more than 12 years. First, she as a national communication officer in her country and as of 2019 as head of communication at UNICEF Venezuela, a position she currently holds.
Ron Davis Álvarez, Artistic Director of El Sistema Sweden and Artistic Director of Dream Orchestra Association
The Royal Swedish Academy of Music awards Ron Davis Álvarez with the 2020 Pedagogy Prize for his “unique musical pedagogical competence”. Selected in 2017, as one of the 50 best teachers in the world by the Varkey Foundation, as part of the Global Teacher Prize, known as the World Teaching Prize, the Venezuelan Ron is specialized in the training of teachers for children’s and youth orchestras.
Helen González Lorenzo, General Director of the Music Program 100×35
Helen González Lorenzo has dedicated her life to the field of music. Her professional career includes the managerial administration of music education programs, as well as the musical direction of symphony orchestras.
González Lorenzo’s academic preparation includes a bachelor’s degree in music from the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music with concentrations in Singing and Composition. She too, she holds a master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from Georgia State University School of Music.
José Henrique de Campos, educational director of the Neojiba Program
José Henrique de Campos gained a Bachelor’s Degree in Music (guitar) from the University of São Paulo (USP), a Master’s Degree from the University of the State of São Paulo (UNESP) and a specialization in Music Education at the University of Cantareira (2014)
Gisela Flanigan, Executive Director of Sistema Global
Gisela Flanigan is a piano soloist and collaborative chamber musician who has performed for international festivals in Italy, France, Spain, the United States and South America, most notably, solo appearances with Orquesta Sinfonica de Maracaibo and Orquesta Sinfonica Simon Bolivar. She has presented Guest Artist recitals at DePaul University in Chicago and Drake University, as well as recitals in Caracas, Venezuela at the University Institute of Musical Study (IUDEM) and the Simon Bolivar National Music Conservatory.
Nikoletta Polydorou, she has been working as a Music Instructor in the most disadvantaged schools in Nicosia
Nikoletta Polydorou is a Social Music Educator with a PhD in Music Education. Since 2011 she has been working as a Music Instructor in the most disadvantaged schools in Nicosia, that fall within the Ministry of Education’s “School and Social Inclusion Actions” Programme. In addition, Nikoletta works as a Scientific Collaborator at the European University of Cyprus.
Artistic Director and Orchestra Director of El Sistema Cyprus
Thanks to his demanding training as an orchestra conductor, his early experience on the podium and his social commitment, Santiago Ossa Alzate was chosen, at the age of 23, as artistic director and conductor of El Sistema Cyprus, a social and musical program that is revolutionizing the Cypriot island, inspired by the National System of Orchestras and Youth and Children’s Choirs of Venezuela.
Juan Carlos Maggiorani, Musical Director of the Orquestra Geração
Juan Carlos Maggiorani is a Venezuelan violinist and musical director of the Orquestra Geração. He has been part of the project since 2007, where he teaches Violin, Workshop and Orchestra classes. He won the First Prize for Chamber Music in the RDP Young Musicians Prize competition in Lisbon, the First Prize for Chamber Music in the VI Rotary Club Chamber Music Competition of Santander (Spain) and the special prize for the best interpretation of a work of Mozart. He was considered the best string quartet of the Reina Sofía School, with the diploma awarded by the Queen Sofía of Spain.
Andreas Knapp, freelance photographer, musician and production manager
Together with the viola player Leila Weber he created and runs HANGARMUSIK, an „El Sistema“inspired music project for children. Since 2015 playing in an orchestra is possible in refugee camps in Berlin/Germany and the island of Chios/Greece.
Alix Didier Sarrouy, researcher at CICS, NOVA of the University of Minho (Portugal)
Social science researcher, a musician and a performer. French, he has worked in several countries, mostly in Portugal. He has a degree in Cultural Mediation (Paris III) and MA in Cultural Politics (Paris VII). In 2017 he completed a double PhD in Sociology of Arts & Culture (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle & Universidade do Minho). Your PhD thesis was titled: Actors of music education: comparative ethnography between programs inspired by El Sistema in Venezuela, Brazil and Portugal.
Eric Booth, writer, researcher and consultant for arts organizations
In 2015 Eric Booth was given the highest awar in arts education in the USA, and was named one of the 25 most influential people in the arts in the USA.
He began as a Broadway actor, and became a businessman (his company became the largest of its kind in the U.S. in 7 years), and author of seven books, the most recent are Playing for Their Lives (which is the only book about the global growth of El Sistema) and Tending the Perennials.
Anis Barnat, co-founder of El Sistema Greece
Anis is a multi-cultural citizen of the world with experience and journeys in the private sector, public administration, private-public institutions. A social entrepreneur committed to a core life’s mission as co-founder of El Sistema Greece, Anis believes in community arts projects as a tool for social inclusion.
Francisco Javier Romero Naranjo, creator of the BAPNE Method
Francisco Javier Romero Naranjo has a doctorate from the Alexander von Humboldt University in Berlin, a master’s degree in Clinical Neuropsychology from the European University of Madrid and a master’s degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of Maryland (USA). At present he is a tenured professor by opposition at the University of Alicante and coordinator of the Department of Didactics of Musical Expression.
Clarinetist and educator, Jessica Zweig, believes that all children deserve the opportunity to benefit from the highest quality music education. As Program director at Play On Philly (POP), an intensive after-school music program for Philadelphia youth, Jessica is responsible for all aspects of programming including crafting engaging curriculum for over 250 K-12 students in Philadelphia and leading and training talented teaching artists in topics as far ranging as instrumental pedagogy and student-engagement to trauma-informed classroom approach and cultural competency.
Jose Angel Salazar Marin
The 24-years-old, José Angel Salazar Marín is a prominent young conductor. Despite his short age, he has vast experience in the approach of different repertoire and varied programming.
Tupac Amaru Rivas Estanga
His musical studies began at the Núcleo Lara, belonging to the National System of Orchestras and Youth and Children’s Choirs of Venezuela, where he studied Violin, Musical Language, Choral Practice and Orchestral Practice. In Caracas, she obtained a Bachelor of Music, mention in Musical Education, at the University Institute of Musical Studies (Iudem-Unearte).
Valeria Atela, president of the Soijar Foundation
Teacher, professor and graduate in Music with specializations in Musicology and recently in Management of Educational Institutions.
Based on the initiative of Maestro José Antonio Abreu, she is, since its creation, president of the Soijar Foundation, as the founder and general director of the Orchestra-School of Chascomús, the main pedagogical laboratory of the orchestra-school methodology that is applied and developed in many parts of the country. Her work was recognized by numerous organizations and universities and featured from the Konex Prize in Education to the Vatican.
Gabriela Perona Zevallos, Executive Director of Sinfonía por el Perú
She has a degree in Communication for Development from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), she has a master’s degree in Public and Global Health from the Cayetano Heredia University and the Executive Program in Social Impact Strategies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Diego Naser, Conductor of an International Career Orchestra
Outstanding Italian-Uruguayan director, he has directed major ballet and opera productions such as Consecration of Spring, Carnival of the Animals, Pedro and the Wolf, El Quijote del Plata, Carmina Burana, La Sylphide, the premiere in Spain, after 220 years , from the lost opera by F. Sor Telémaco nell ‘Isola di Calipso and Madama Butterfly, as well as symphonic concerts in Mexico, Luxembourg, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Panama, Austria, Portugal, Germany, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Spain, among others.
Albert Sanz, renowned musician and composer
He comes from a very musical family and begins his encounter with music from his gestation. At age 18 he is selected to represent Spain in the European Jazz Youth Orchestra (EJYO). In 1998 he recorded his first album Des D’aquí as co-leader with Catalan bassist David Mengual. This production was voted the best Spanish jazz album of the year by Spanish jazz critics (Cuadernos de Jazz).
Ira Mireya Rodríguez Díaz, Manager of the Special Education Program
Venezuelan teacher, violinist and music educator. With 24 years of experience as a trainer at El Sistema, working as a Violin teacher at the Simón Bolívar Music Conservatory, a workshop and sectionalist for children’s, youth and regional orchestras, a Musical Initiation teacher in the Special Education Program, a teacher of the New Members Program , professor of the Academic Training Program and as coordinator of Academic Management.
Magdymar León Torrealba, General and Project Coordination | Avesa
Clinical psychologist, feminist, expert in management of social projects and Magister Scientiarum in Women’s Studies. She is an activist for women’s human rights with more than 16 years of work in research, coordination and project management with a gender perspective.
She is a university professor in Women’s Studies at the Central University of Venezuela, with extensive experience in training professional teams in matters of gender, sexual and reproductive health, violence against women and HIV.
Is a leading advocate for the seminal importance of high-quality music education for all children. Her most recent book is Playing for Their Lives: The Global El Sistema Movement for Social Change Through Music (co-authored with Eric Booth; W.W. Norton 2016). A definitive survey of the worldwide El Sistema movement, Playing for Their Lives provides vivid accounts of significant youth orchestra programs around the world, and is grounded in research in over 25 countries.
Erika Colon, president of the Fundación El Sistema Connect in Japan
She is a lyrical soprano with an international career. She was born in Venezuela and studied pedagogy at the University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo and did a postgraduate degree in the same field.
She later studied singing at the Royal Academy of Music in London and graduated with honors. The same year she made her debut at London’s Wigmore Hall, initiating her lyrical career in France, England, and Italy.
Gerardo Gerulewicz, Professor of the Composition Chair at the José Ángel Lamas School of Music and the Simón Bolívar Conservatory
Gerardo Gerulewicz, Caracas 1966. Composer graduated with honors from the Moscow Tchaikowski Conservatory, 1998. Author of symphonic, vocal, chamber and piano works.
He has participated as a composer and pianist in concerts and festivals in Venezuela, Russia, Spain, Germany and Croatia. He participates in the Simón Bolívar Latin American Contemporary Music Ensemble, directed by maestro Alfredo Rugeles.
Enrique Márquez, Director of Music Interlochen Center for the Arts
Highly trained as a performing musician, Enrique Márquez presented his Carnegie Hall debut recital in 2005. He has served as principal viola of The Orchestra of the Americas and the Jeunesses MusicalesWorld Orchestra, performing in over 25 countries in the Americas, Asia and Europe with Kurt Masur, Lorin Maazel, Gustavo Dudamel and Valery Gergiev. He has worked in development programs through music education in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, England, Mexico and Venezuela.
Cleopatra Montoya Silva, Legal Consultant of El Sistema
Lawyer, she based her degree work on the Policies of Protection and Human Rights Applied to Education under the Principles Established in LOPNNA. She is a specialist in Labor Law and Master of International Economic Negotiations, mentioning Multilateral Relations.
Musician trained in El Sistema. She is a violinist, trainer, nucleus director, state manager and later head of control and monitoring inspection in the Nuclei Directorate.
Giancarlo Guerrero, director Musical de la Sinfónica de Nashville y la Filarmónica NFM Wrocław
Giancarlo Guerrero is a six GRAMMY® Award-winning conductor, musical director of the Nashville Symphony and NFM Wrocław Philharmonic, and principal guest conductor of the Lisbon Gulbenkian Orchestra. Guerrero has been praised for his “charismatic direction and attention to detail” (Seattle Times) in “viscerally powerful performances” (Boston Globe) that are “at once vigorous, passionate and nuanced” (BachTrack).
Eleni Arapoglou, is a vocalist from Athens, Greece, based in NYC
Is a vocalist from Athens, Greece, based in NYC. Though she began as an art history student she graduated in Drama and Dance at Tufts University. She then decided to focus on music and graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Olivia Salas, Teaching Artist and Education Administrator the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles program
Is a freelance bassist a music educator based in Los Angeles, CA. In addition to frequently performing with local orchestras such as the American Youth Symphony and the Debut Chamber Orchestra, she regularly collaborates with R&B, Soul, and Hip-Hop songwriters and producers in studio recording and songwriting projects throughout Los Angeles.
Daniel Jacobs, teaching artist for Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA)
Is a Los Angeles-based violist and teaching artist. As an educator, Daniel is currently a teaching artist for Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) in partnership with Camino Nuevo Charter Academy-Kayne Siart.
In 2017-2018, Daniel was an Artist Year AmeriCorps Fellow serving as a Teaching Artist in Colorado’s Roaring Fork School District. During his AmeriCorps service year, he designed and implemented community events, a chamber music program, and curriculum with the partnership of the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Gaudy Sánchez, Artistic Administrator (Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles) at Los Angeles Philharmonic
Born in San Pedro Del Rio Venezuela, he began his musical studies in 1993 at the “Marco A. Rivera U.” music school. In 1994 he started his music education at the Nucleo Tachira from El Sistema. 1994, he joined the National children Orchestra from Venezuela. He was a student of the teachers Thomas Klamór (trumpeter of the Berlin Philharmonic), Jairo Hernández, Alexander Barrios, Alfredo Daddona and Antoine Duhamel, participates in all their seminars, international tours to the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Italy, France, Germany and Austria.
Josbel Puche, manager of the Musical Initiation Program at El Sistema
Teacher, author and director of children’s orchestras. She has created what critics call “the basis for leading children’s and youth orchestras to be counted in a few years” in various musical schools around the world. The Paper Orchestra, the novel orchestral initiation teaching method that he designed in 2005, is aimed at the stimulation of children between 2 and 6 years old through collective musical practice, orchestral discipline and the psychomotor development necessary to play an instrument and get closer to the different sounds and timbres of each one.
Xiomara Alemán, doctor in development science, retired from the IDB and practicing as an independent professional
Sociologist with a master’s degree in Public Policy and doctoral studies in Development Sciences at the Central University of Venezuela. He worked for 23 years at the Inter-American Development Bank as a Social Protection Specialist in several countries (Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica and Venezuela) as well as at the IDB headquarters in Washington DC, United States until April of this year.
Bárbara Cervantes, specialist in gender-based violence UNICEF
She is a Mexican jurist with training in international law in the Netherlands and a master’s degree in Law and Gender in the United Kingdom. She has experience working with different international and civil society organizations in areas of gender equality and gender-based violence in Mexico, the United States and Colombia, focused on serving women, girls and boys.
Carlos Medrano Chaguan, musician, composer and arranger
Born in Maturín, Monagas state in 1978. Founding violinist of the Carlos Molhe Symphony Orchestra. Bachelor of music, mention in musicology from the Universidad Católica Cecilio Acosta, Zulia state.
He has served as director of the defunct Zulia Symphony Orchestra, director of the José Luis Paz Conservatory of Music in Zulia state, Professor at the Cecilio Acosta Catholic University and in different positions as manager and director of cultural diffusion in the Zulia state government.
Helena Lima, advisor to the management for the Orquestra Geração
Born in Lisbon, Helena Lima teachers History of Music at the Nacional Conservatoire. Since 2007, she has been an advisor to the management for the Orquestra Geração, being the executive and pedagogical co-coordinator, and is also responsible for the Orquestra de Afectos, which started in 2017.