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NEC's prestigious program fellows named

Posted by Geoff Edgers  October 13, 2009 07:54 PM

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Dudamania may be all the way across the country but the US-based branch of El Sistema, the successful, Venezuelan music education program the conductor was involved with as a boy, is heading to New England Conservatory.

Ten grad-level musicians have been picked to head to NEC as the school launches the Abreu Fellows training program, one of the first major initiatives of El Sistema USA. These fellows will spend a year studying at NEC and in Venezuela so they can learn how to run music education centers throughout the world.

And the fellows are...

Daniel Berkowitz, a Northwestern University graduate, who studied trombone with Michael Mulcahy, Randall Hawes and Charles Vernon. Along with playing music, over the last year he's live in London working "as an entrepreneur developing the infrastructure for Morningstar’s Pan European and Asian Fund research endeavor."

Jonathan Andrew Govias, who holds a Bachelor of Music (BM) degree with distinction from the University of Victoria (Canada), a certificate in arts administration from the International Institute of Culture Management (Munich), and a Master of Music (MM) degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Denver.

Music teacher and librarian Lorrie Heagy, based at Glacier Valley Elementary School in Juneau, Alaska, works to "integrate and advocate the arts for all kids."

New York born Rebecca Levi splayed piano and flute at the Mannes and Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Divisions. She attended Yale and, since her graduation in 2007, has lived in Peru working "in a home for abused children and teaching music and English classes."

Clarinetist David Malek is from Texas. He made his solo debut in 1987 with the San Antonio Symphony performing Debussy’s Premiere Rhapsody. Along with his playing career, he joined the United States Air Force Band in San Antonio, Texas as principal clarinet. He works with children in rural America, the inner-city and with the Harmony Project with students in South Central Los Angeles.

Dantes Rameau, who was born in Ontario, Canada, is of Haitian and Cameroonian descent. A basoonist, hH earned a Master of Music from Yale in 2007 and has performed with Charleston Symphony, Wallingford Symphony and Aspen Chamber
Symphony. He's taught at the Yale School of Music Outreach program been a coach at the Carnegie Mellon University Basketball camp.

Álvaro Rodas, born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, is a percussionist, teacher and arts administrator. From 1992 to 2004 he was principal percussionist at the Guatemala National Symphony. Since 1997, he has been deeply involved in the replication of El Sistema in Guatemala.

Georgia native Stanford Leon Thompson studied trumpet with members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Georgia State University. He's since appeared as soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Ocean City Pops Orchestra and the North Springs Philharmonic. He also manages professional music ensembles, runs a trumpet studio and counsels musicians.

At Northwestern University, Christine Witkowski studied horn performance and also volunteered for Youth Organizations Umbrella Inc. She eventually became program director for “Breakfast Club,” a mentoring and tutoring program for disadvantaged youth.

Kathryn Wyatt served as director of education and community engagement for the North Carolina Symphony from 2007-2009. "Her call to leadership in the arts was inspired by YOA’s joint performances with the Símon Bolívar Orchestra of Caracas, VZ in 2005. The power and success of El Sistema moved her to begin thinking how and where else this passion for music could translate to benefitting communities."

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About Exhibitionist Geoff Edgers covers arts news for The Boston Globe..
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