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About the 2020 El Sistema USA National Symposium & Seminario:

Photo: Downtown Durham


We are thrilled to announce that the 2020 El Sistema USA National Symposium will take place in Durham, NC from January 31 – February 2, 2020!

The 2020 symposium will take place in the heart of Downtown Durham, at the Durham Convention Center, with events also taking place at sites of El Sistema USA Member organization, Kidznotes, and El Sistema USA partner, Duke University!

In addition, the 2020 El Sistema USA National Symposium Fundraising Reception will take place Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 6:30 P.M. at the Durham Arts Council. The reception will feature live music from the 2020 National Symposium Fundraising Reception Guest Artist, Shana Tucker, student performances by Kidznotes, heavy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails by Social House Vodka, beer and wine.

Tickets are $100 and all funds go to support Regional Seminarios for students across the country, bringing El Sistema programs together from multiple states, uniting students through performance!

All details for the 2020 El Sistema USA National Symposium & Seminario can be found below!



Register today for the 2020 El Sistema USA National Symposium & Seminario! 

January 31, 2020 - February 2, 2020 




Registration Fees - Regular Pricing (Updated: January 1, 2020)


Symposium Fees

  • El Sistema USA Member - General Admission - $225
  • El Sistema USA Member - Teaching Artist - $150
  • Non-Member - General Admission - $300


Pre-Conference - January 31, 2020

(includes lunch & transportation - see full details in schedule) 


  • General Admission - $100 




Book your Hotel at the El Sistema USA Symposium Rate! 

El Sistema USA has reserved a block of rooms for Symposium Attendees at a special rate of $149/night. This rate is available from January 31 - February 2, 2020.

As spaces are limited, we encourage you to reserve your room prior to December 31, 2019




Would you like to be connected to other attendees looking for a roommate? Please fill out our Roommate Form here.



For a full schedule and session details, please visit:


Announcing the Keynote Speaker for the 2020 El Sistema USA National Symposium & Seminario! 


Carla Canales 

Internationally acclaimed mezzo soprano and Founder, The Canales Project




About Carla Canales:


Carla Dirlikov Canales is an internationally known opera singer who is emerging as a leader in the area of using the arts to advance important social issues.  She has been a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities Turnaround Arts Program, was selected by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of its 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2015 and won the Medal of Excellence from the Sphinx Organization, which was presented to her at the Supreme Court by Justice Sotomayor.  In each case, she was the first opera singer ever to receive the honor.  As a singer she has received worldwide acclaim, and is best known for her portrayals of Bizet’s “Carmen” which she has performed close to 100 times in over a dozen countries.  She has performed as a soloist at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and top international venues in Europe, Asia and Latin America.  She is the founder and CEO of The Canales Project, aimed at giving voice to issues of identity and culture through music and conversation. 



Highlights from the 2019 El Sistema USA National Symposium “360 Degrees of Excellence”!

On January 30 – 31, 2019 in Detroit, MI our movement gathered for the 2019 El Sistema USA National Symposium, “360 Degrees of Excellence”. In total, 200+ attendees, including 30+ students from Detroit-area El Sistema-inspired programs, gathered to connect, learn, and share time together.


Thanks to El Sistema USA’s partnership with the Sphinx Organization, over 100+ attendees stayed to attend SphinxConnect 2019: Leaders Rising for free!


In addition to our partnership with Sphinx, we were thrilled to partner with El Sistema USA Member organizations Accent Pontiac, Detroit Youth Volume, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to bring 40+ students from Detroit together to make music!



“360 Degrees of Excellence” by the Numbers!

200+ Attendees

80+ Organizations Represented

20+ Sessions




Thank you to our 2019 Sponsors & Partners!

Thank You to Our 2020 El Sistema USA National Symposium & Seminario Sponsors! 

(Updated December 16, 2019)

Seminario Sponsor



Teaching Sponsor

Bonnie Reagan


Music Sponsor





Lucia Powe


Student Sponsor

Table Sponsor




Additional Supporters



Thank you for your support! Please see details regarding Sponsorship below.

For more questions or for information on placing an Advertisement in the Symposium Program, please contact President & CEO, Katie Wyatt at [email protected] / 919-451-0077.

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