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Working together for positive change and the power of the arts to unite.

Duke Arts and El Sistema USA have come together in a multi-year partnership to explore music for social change. This collaboration spans university departments, fields of study, faculty and students.

El Sistema is the international movement of music for social change that began in Venezuela in the 1970s with twelve kids in a parking garage, and now enrolls over two million kids worldwide. The model of El Sistema emphasizes a dedication to rigorous, artistic ensemble playing as a vehicle for social change, and has captured the attention of hundreds of artists, philanthropists and community arts organizations in the United States.

El Sistema USA (ESUSA) is a membership organization which supports all El Sistema-inspired programs and individuals in the United States and beyond. The model and mission of these programs are broadly defined as intensive youth music programs that seek to affect social change through the ambitious pursuit of musical excellence by empowering the children with the fewest resources and the greatest need. El Sistema programs provide instruction and resources to their students at no charge.

El Sistema USA and Duke University have a blossoming relationship, involving a variety of institutions including Duke Arts, Bass Connections, the Social Science Research Institute, and the Sanford School of Public Policy. Recent and upcoming collaborations include:

Meet a Faculty Member

Katie Wyatt, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist

As a successful violist and national leader in creating programs for access and opportunity through the transformative power of music, Wyatt co-founded the first El Sistema-inspired program in North Carolina, Kidznotes. In 2017, she was named the new Executive Director of El Sistema USA as she developed a multi-faceted partnership with Duke Arts. She is also a member of the 2017 class of the Kennedy Center's Citizen Artist Fellows.

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