European Mozartways

Symposium Sistema-Inspired Music Education in Europe and Beyond

A summary of the conference 26 February 2015


Symposium Salzburg

Inspired by the worldwide phenomenon of El Sistema, created by José Antonio Abreu almost exactly 40 years ago in Venezuela, new audiences and participants of all ages throughout the world are experiencing classical and contemporary music for the first time and existing audiences are being re-inspired by the power of music. Characteristic of El Sistema is its combined action, which bears significant impact on social change through excellence in music making. This was underlined in 2013 by the Salzburg Festival with its own program focus on the residency of El Sistema.

Symposium: Sistema-Inspired Music Education in Europe and Beyond

The European Mozart Ways organize as project partners of the EU project “SMEEC” (Sistema-inspired Music Education and Exchange with Canada) on 26 February 2015 an international Symposium in cooperation with the University Mozarteum and MICA – Music Education Platform Austria. More than 90 experts from 19 European countries and North America will participate.

Topics include the relationship between Sistema-inspired programs and music education, how collective music-making enables social change, as well as the implications on special educational needs. As Speakers, experts from Belgium, Italy, the UK and North America have been invited, who will approach the topic from the perspective of principles, practice and current research.

The concluding Panel discussion titled “New, Young and Keen” addresses the question to which extent social music projects such as “El Sistema” can be an effective instrument of audience development for the music education in Europe and beyond.

In advance of the Symposium, the inaugural meeting of the European “Sistema Europe” Association will take place. Main objective of this new network are the promotion and dissemination of music education activities based on the concept developed in Venezuela of “El Sistema” and its evolutions in the European context on local, regional or national levels. In addition academic research should aim to support and improve methods of music education and their implications on social cohesion.

In February 2002, initiated by the province of Salzburg, the European Mozart Ways (EMW) have been founded as an international network, connecting cities, regions and institutions in the 10 European countries visited by Mozart in the travels that occupied over half of his life and decisively shaped his oeuvre. The Association has its purpose to promote the awareness of meaningful touristic itineraries as well as fostering cooperation in the artistic, cultural, educational and academic areas.

An important milestone in the development of the Association was the designation of the EMW as “Major Culture Route” by the Council of Europe in 2004. The European Mozart Ways within this program represent the only instance centered on the life and work of a musician.