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  • LAPA
  • Feb. 6, 2014
  • Presenters include Deborah Borda, Leon Botstein, Guy Raz, Antonio Damasio, Marianne Diaz, Robert Duke, Eric Booth, Jesse Rosen, Dennie Palmer Wolf, Karen Zorn, and El Sistema experts from around the world

    Registration is now open at



    TAKE A STAND – a partnership of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Longy School of Music of Bard College, and Bard College – is an innovative initiative that supports social change through music. Inspired by El Sistema, Venezuela's revolutionary music education program, Take a Stand supports the field through national conferences and a Master of Arts in Teaching in Music degree program.

    Los Angeles - (February 6, 2014) – The Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil), in partnership with the Longy School of Music and of Bard College, hosts the third annual Take a Stand symposium in Los Angeles, Thursday, February 20 – Saturday, February 22, 2014, during the LA Phil’s TchaikovskyFest.

    The symposium will explore the question, “How can we empower students to take control of their futures?,” and investigate how, through El Sistema-inspired practices, to best draw forth and nurture student leadership and citizenship. Symposium guests will also attend concerts performed by both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

    The Take a Stand 2014 Symposium brings together innovative thinkers and role models from a range of different fields to engage and foster creative discussions.

    Deborah Borda
    Deborah Borda’s outstanding career in music administration has been distinguished by her bold, creative leadership and implementation of innovative business model changes, revitalizing each institution she has led. A highly effective communicator, strategic planner, and consensus-builder, she is widely respected for her record of transforming major musical organizations through a combination of artistic vision and fiscal responsibility.

    Leon Botstein
    Leon Botstein has been President of Bard College since 1975, and recently celebrated his 20th year as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. He is also co-Artistic Director of the Summerscape and Bard Music Festivals, which take place at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry. He is also Conductor Laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as Music Director from 2003–2011.

    Guy Raz
    Guy Raz is the host of TED Radio Hour, a co-production of NPR and TED that tackles astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems and new ways to think and create. 

    Antonio Damasio
    Antonio Damasio, M.D., Ph.D. is University Professor and David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California

    Marianne Diaz
    Marianne Diaz is the founder of CleanSlate Inc. - which assists gang members, survivors of Domestic Violence, and those affected by the justice system in their efforts to move forward in their lives. She has worked for over twenty years to end the cycle of violence among the poor.

    Robert Duke
    Robert Duke is the Marlene and Morton Meyerson Centennial Professor and Head of Music and Human Learning at The University of Texas at Austin, where he is University Distinguished Teaching Professor, Elizabeth Shatto Massey Distinguished Fellow in Teacher Education, and Director of the Center for Music Learning. 

    Eric Booth
    Eric Booth is an award-winning actor, author, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and arts learning consultant in New York. Having been on the faculty of Juilliard, Lincoln Center Education, and The Kennedy Center, he works tirelessly to advance the profession of teaching artistry and the growth of the El Sistema movement. 

    Jesse Rosen
    Jesse Rosen has been recognized as one of the outstanding thinkers in contemporary performing arts leadership. As president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras since July 2008, he has raised the level of debate about orchestras among the nation’s cultural, policy, and opinion leaders and among the League’s 800 member orchestras. 

    Dennie Palmer Wolf
    Dr. Wolf trained as a researcher at Harvard Project Zero, where she led studies on the early development of artistic and symbolic capacities. She directed Project PACE (Projects in Active Cultural Engagement) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an organization that focused on children and youth as vital, but often ignored, forces in cultural planning.


    Karen Zorn
    Karen Zorn is the President of Longy School of Music,  Vice President of Bard College and a founding member of Take a Stand. Zorn is a classically trained musician, educated as a pianist in the United States and Germany.  She served as Associate Provost of Berklee College of Music and Executive Director of the MacPhail Center for the Arts in Minneapolis. 

    Concurrently, Take a Stand will host a new student symposium. The Leadership Forum for Young Musicians will bring together 24 students from 13 El Sistema-inspired programs in 9 states to take part in an intensive leadership seminar held simultaneously with the Take a Stand symposium. Over the course of the three-day forum, the students will collaborate and gain knowledge, in an agenda focused on refining communication skills, teaching strategies and critical thinking. The group will create a leadership philosophy for students in El Sistema-inspired programs in the United States to document their vision and action plan for leadership.

    The symposium concludes with two graduating YOLA seniors interviewing LA Phil President and CEO Deborah Borda about leadership prior to a side-by-side rehearsal that includes students from the National Leadership Forum for Young Musicians, members of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, and fellow attendees.

    Gustavo Dudamel's Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA) program – inspired by Venezuela's revolutionary El Sistema – the LA Phil and its community partners provide free instruments, intensive music training, and academic support to over 600 students from underserved neighborhoods, empowering them to become vital citizens, leaders, and agents of change. YOLA has served as a model for El Sistema-inspired programs since its launch in 2007.

    For the complete symposium agenda and presenter bios, please visit:

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music from all genres – orchestral, chamber and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music and pop – at two of L.A.’s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall ( and the Hollywood Bowl ( The LA Phil’s season at Walt Disney Concert Hall extends from September through May, and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education and community programs.

    Longy School of Music of Bard College, founded as Longy School of Music in 1915 by renowned oboist Georges Longy, is a degree-granting Conservatory located in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The school serves 250 undergraduate and graduate students from 37 states and 20 countries at our central Cambridge campus and recently opened Master of Arts in Teaching campus in Los Angeles, California. Longy’s mission is to prepare musicians to make a difference in the world, and it is rapidly gaining international recognition for its efforts to meet a changing musical landscape head-on, giving its classically trained graduates the skills to perform, the ambition to teach, and the ability to reach new audiences and new communities beyond those traditionally associated with classical music.

    El Sistema founder Dr. José Antonio Abreu has developed a comprehensive music education philosophy that stresses the important link for children between the intense study of music, and improved self-esteem, communication skills, and curiosity. Abreu’s model program offers young children and teenagers the opportunity to participate in rigorous music training - from the basics of rhythm to advanced orchestral performance - for up to six days a week at community El Sistema training centers, or nucleos. Since its inception over 35 years ago, the program has taught more than one million of Venezuela’s poorest children, changing students’ lives and transforming the communities around them.


  • Contact:

    Sophie Jefferies,, 213.972.3422
    Lisa Bellamore,, 213.972.3689