El Sistema: Threat, Fad or Future of Music?

Exploring the Myths, the Facts, the Ideas – and the Implications

Jonathan Govias
  • event type:Classical:NEXT 15 conference
  • date:21 May 2015
  • time:12:15 - 13:00
  • city/area:Rotterdam
  • venue:de Doelen - Conference Room 2
  • country:Netherlands
  • event posted by:Piranha Arts

Chaired by:

Jonathan Govias (Canada/US)
Director of orchestras and assistant professor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

We've all heard this one before: a radical new idea emerges, one that will revolutionize or save music forever. Most recently it was the “Mozart Effect,” the theory that listening to music by a great composer would automatically make you smarter. Now it’s “El Sistema,” the Venezuelan-pioneered orchestral program that promises not just better musicians, but a better world too. But underneath the hype and the mythology around Sistema lies the nucleus of a greater idea, one that manifests as a computer in a hole in a wall in a New Delhi slum; a symphony orchestra in a barrio of Caracas; or something as simple as a child learning to walk, tapping into human nature at the most fundamental level. This presentation separates Sistema fact from fiction and explores the implications when state-of-the-art research into psychology and cognition converges with the centuries-old traditions of music.


Jonathan Govias:
A former symphony marketing director and CSR consultant for a German media multinational, Jonathan Govias turned his problem-solving skills to the artistic and human challenges of the symphony, and found himself conducting some of the most famous orchestras in the world, after studies with Kurt Masur and David Zinman.