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2024 National Symposium

June 13 @ 10:00 am - June 15 @ 6:30 pm

June 13-15, 2024
Butler University
Indianapolis, IN

Calling all administrators, teaching artists, and changemakers working in the field of equity-based youth music programs and creative youth development!

Questions? Please email us for support.

Keynote Speaker

Eric Williamson

Eric Williamson (he/him) is the Artistic Director of Lavender Light the Black and People of All Colors LGBTQ+ Gospel Choir. This choir is dedicated to continuing the legacy of singing…

Read Bio

Symposium Highlights

Musical Guest: The String Queens

Youth Ambassador Cohort

Curated Sessions for Administrators and Teaching Artists

Symposium Overview

The National Symposium, hosted by El Sistema USA® in collaboration with the Indianapolis Center for Arts Education and Innovation, is scheduled to take place on the campus of Butler University.

This year ESUSA will curate sessions for teachers and administrators rather than a call for proposals from the field. Stay tuned for more details on the conference keynote, musical guest, and sessions

The overarching theme, “Inspire, Connect, Transform,” underscores the symposium’s aim to gather inspiration, foster national connections, and catalyze positive transformation in equity-based music education. The symposium will feature sessions on youth leadership (led by the ESUSA High School Youth Ambassador Cohort), best practices in equitable and high-quality music training, and organizational capacity building. There will be sessions curated for administrators and teachers.

The weekend is designed to provide actionable insights and solutions, equipping attendees to advance our collective and individual work as a field. Join us in fostering a community of change-makers, where inspiration meets impact.

The event will be made possible in part by a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thursday, June 13th

10:00 am-5:00 pm

11:00 am


1:00-2:15 pm

Teaching Artist Track Session: All Roads Lead to Music: The Pre-Orchestra Path Explained (Camilo Ortíz, Pre-Orchestra Director of El Sistema Santa Cruz/ Pajaro Valley) 

Sistema-Inspired 101: What Inspired Us? El Sistema’s Evolution within the U.S (Reynaldo Ramirez, Co-Founder & Program Director, Soundscapes)

2:30-3:45 pm
Teaching Artist Track Session: Guidelines for Embedding Social Impact in Music Instruction: An Approach from the Academy for Impact through Music. (Eric Booth, Founder, International Teaching Artist Collaborative; AIM/Academy for Impact through Music, Senior Faculty)

Sistema-Inspired 101: How to Start a Successful El Sistema Program (Armand Hall*, Director of Programs, Gateways Music Festival)

4:00-5:15 pm

Admin Track: Exploring Program Models & Design (Gabrielle Molina, Executive Director of Project Music, Lead Program Consultant, El Sistema USA)

Teaching Artist Track Session: Prepare. Do. Reflect. Strategies from the Teaching Artists Training Institute that Foster Community, Personal and Professional Growth for Teaching Artists (Anna Barson, Managing Director , Teaching Artists Training Institute)

6:00 pm
Keynote Speaker: Eric Williamson

7:30 pm

Welcome Reception

Friday, June 14th

10:00-11:00 am
Opening Plenary

11:15 am-12:30 pm
Admin Track: Deepening Your School Partnerships Panel (Lauren Shelton*, Executive Director, Indianapolis Center for Arts Education and Innovation; Board Chair, El Sistema USA; Hillary Harder, Program Director, ECoSistema and the Community School of the Arts at Goshen College; Kaitlyn Korogy*, Executive Director, The Opus Project at the San Diego Youth Symphony; Isabelle Tuncer*, Executive Director, El Sistema Santa Cruz/Pajaro County)

Teaching Artist Track: Open Rehearsal: Practical Ensemble Rehearsal Approaches for Teaching Artists (Liber Cuervos*, Director of Education and Programs, Miami Music Project)

12:30-2:00 pm

2:00-3:15 pm
Admin Track: Empowering Communities: Innovations in Research Methodologies for Lasting Impact (Elizabeth Moulthrop, Executive Director, El Sistema USA; Ivonne Chand O’Neal, Principal, MUSE Research)

Teaching Artist Track Session: Equity, Agency, and Expression in Beginning Strings (Debbie Lyle, Executive Director, Bornoff Foundation; Felipe Morales-Torres, Assistant Director & Program Manager, Bornoff Foundation)

3:15-3:45 pm
Coffee Break

3:45-5:00 pm
Admin Track: Navigating Impact: Insights from National Foundation Funders (Carol Minter*, Executive Director, Soundscapes; Karen Cueva*, Head of Operations, The Lewis Prize for Music; Jeffrey Dollinger, Executive Director, Find Your Light Foundation; Chiho Feindler, Chief Program Officer, Save the Music Foundation)

Teaching Artist Track Session: Decolonizing the Music Classroom (Felipe Morales-Torres, Assistant Director & Program Manager, Bornoff Foundation)

5:00-7:00 pm
Educators Happy Hour with FASE and TATI (Chilly Water Tap Room)
Dinner On Your Own

7:00-8:00 pm
BCAS Strings Camp Concert

* Denotes current board member of El Sistema USA

Saturday, June 15th

9:30 am
ESUSA Member Coffee Meet & Greet

10:00-11:00 am
ESUSA Membership Annual Meeting

11:00 am-12:15 pm
Admin Track Session: Creating a Fulfilling and Sustainable Workplace Environment for our Teaching Artists (Paloma Ramos, Business & Memberships Manager, El Sistema USA)

11:00 am-12:30 pm
Teaching Artist Track: Teacher Training with The String Queens

12:15/12:30-1:45 pm

1:45-3:00 pm
Admin Track: Fearless, No-Ask Fundraising: Insider Secrets to Take You From Scarcity to Surplus (Anna Klimala, President, Miami Music Project)

Teaching Artist Track: ESUSA Youth Ambassador Cohort Panel 

3:00-3:30 pm
Coffee Break

3:30-4:45 pm
Admin Track: ESUSA Youth Ambassador Cohort Panel

Teaching Artist Track: Artistic Director Panel

5:00-6:30 pm
The String Queens Panel and Concert

* Denotes current board member of El Sistema USA

Registration Rates

Early Bird Pricing ends March 30, 2024

Early Bird 2024 Regular Price
ESUSA Member Teaching Artist $175 $225
ESUSA Member Administrator $225 $275
Non Member $325 $375
Day Pass $100 $150
Virtual Pass $25 $50

Hotel Options

The 5/1/2024 deadline has passed for discounted rates at the Drury Plaza Hotel Indianapolis Carmel. Book your stay at the normal rate using the link below.

Butler University Fairview House

Rooms are no longer available at Butler University Fairview House.

On-Campus Meal Pricing Options

Lunch will be provided each day to conference attendees. Breakfast and dinner is on your own. Breakfast is included at the Drury Hotel. There are many excellent restaurant options within a short driving distance of Butler’s campus.

You may also sign up for campus food for breakfast and dinner at a cost of $14 per additional meal. This can be added on later if you prefer to only register at first.


Attendees may purchase a parking pass if you would like to park on campus for $10 a day.

If you have already registered for the ESUSA Symposium and would like to add housing, meals, or parking, please click the button below.

If you would like to sponsor or have a table in our networking hall, please see our Symposium Sponsorship Packet to learn more. To become a sponsor, please contact Executive Director Elizabeth Moulthrop at or 908-308-4632.

Thank you to our sponsors!

If you would like to sponsor or have a table in our networking hall, please see our Symposium Sponsorship Packet to learn more. To become a sponsor, please contact Executive Director Elizabeth Moulthrop at or 908-308-4632.





Studio 49

FASE The Bornoff Foundation for the Advancement of String Education


June 13 @ 10:00 am
June 15 @ 6:30 pm
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