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. Dr. Flanigan has presented master-classes in both North and South America and is in demand for her lecture-recital presentations such as those she has presented on behalf of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Educational Department. She is also in demand internationally as a collaborative pianist and performance coach, having served in this capacity for the El Sistema Ibero-American Brass Festival in Venezuela. She has held positions as adjudicator and lecturer for numerous Music Teachers National Association events.
Dr. Flanigan earned a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Miami under the tutelage of Rosalina Sackstein, a disciple of Claudio Arrau, and is therefore able to trace her musical lineage back through Franz Liszt to Ludwig van Beethoven himself. Dr. Flanigan holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance from the University of North Texas. She has pursued advanced training towards a Certificate of Non-profit Management from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has served as a piano faculty member at Drake University, Grinnell College, Bowling Green State University, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and the Barry Tuckwell Institute. She is presently a faculty member at the University of Denver Arts and Culture Management program.
Dr. Flanigan’s field of expertise is the intersection of leadership, management, and advocacy in the arts. Past civic and professional affiliations include: Chair of the Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture, Board of Directors member of the Crested Butte Music Festival, and Arts for Colorado. Dr. Flanigan has been invited to review programs and grants for organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, Colorado Creative Industries. She is also a HundrED Academy member, and a HundrED Advisory board member invited to be part of the review team for the HundrED Spotlight on Teachers for a Changing World in partnership with the World Bank Group. She regularly speaks at national and international conferences for organizations such as The Sphinx Connect, College Music Society and The Music, Business, and Peace Summit at Indiana University. She is also a member of the International Music Education Policy Group, England, advancing global policy dialogue in music education.
A social entrepreneur/consultant advocating for the arts at local, state and national levels, Dr. Flanigan is deeply committed to social change and collective impact as a social entrepreneur in the nonprofit world. A Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) Certified Change Leader, Dr. Flanigan is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of MusicSpark, an El Sistema-inspired music program. She currently serves as Executive Director of Sistema Global, a HundrED award-winning social change organization inspired by Maestro Abreu’s vision of expanding access to music making as a basic human right. Under her leadership, Sistema Global has been honored to be part of the HundrED Global Education Innovation Collection for 2020 and 2021 in Finland.