Take a Stand Symposium 2017. Los Angeles, July 20-22, 2017. Save the Date

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Registration Opens February 2017

Open to all, the 2017 Take a Stand Symposium will bring together leaders, teachers, researchers, and key stakeholders from around the world with a vested interest in the El Sistema movement and progressive practices in music education. Coinciding with the tenth anniversary of YOLA and fifth anniversary of the Masters of Arts in Teaching in Music degree program, participants will address and reflect on past, present, and future issues facing the field. Key focal areas will include teaching & learning, research & evaluation, and excellence & inclusion. Participants will also have the unique opportunity to interact with student National Take a Stand Festival participants, and attend their culminating performance led by Gustavo Dudamel at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Check back here for ongoing updates, or sign up below to receive email notifications. Interested attendees can begin booking accommodations at the Biltmore Los Angeles by clicking here. (Note: when booking travel, please keep in mind that an optional pre-session at a YOLA site will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 19.)



Explore Previous Conferences

Re-live our last four conferences through videos, photos and notes.

2015 Take a Stand Symposium

Over 200 music and social advocate activists from around the globe come together in Los Angeles. This year’s symposium discussed issues relevant to El Sistema-inspired programs and to the National Take a Stand Festival. Attendees discussed repertoire selection, goals for social growth, and support for students as they age through programs. At the culmination of the symposium, an orchestra of teaching artists, members of Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, and musicians from the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela performed on stage at Walt Disney Concert Hall. To learn more about the 2015 Take a Stand Symposium, visit the LA Phil's host site.

2014 Take a Stand Symposium

The 2014 Take a Stand Symposium explored the question, "How can we empower students to take control of their futures?" Presenters included Guy Raz, Robert Duke, Deborah Borda, Antonio Damasio, Dennie Palmer Wolf, Marianne Diaz, Leon Botstein, Eric Booth, Jesse Rosen, Sarah Kay, and El Sistema experts from around the world. To learn more about the 2014 Take a Stand Symposium, visit the LA Phil's host site.

2013 Take a Stand Symposium

Take a Stand joined the Barbican's 2013 Future Play Symposium in London March 13-15, 2013. Relive the 2013 symposium through videos, photos and notes on the LA Phil's host site.

2012 Take a Stand Symposium

From January 30 through February 1, 2012, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bard College, and Longy School of Music of Bard College hosted the inaugural Take a Stand Symposium. The conference – which took place during the LA Phil’s Mahler Project – drew over 300 music and social change advocates from 27 states and 13 countries and featured three jam-packed days of inspiring speakers, interactive workshops, and global networking opportunities. Highlights included a special neighborhood concert featuring the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela in a joint performance with YOLA; a presentation by this year’s class of Fellows @ NEC; and conversations with teachers and staff from Venezuela, including a surprise keynote address from Maestro José Antonio Abreu, the legendary founder of El Sistema. See more 2012 Symposium videos, photos and notes on the LA Phil's host site.


Take a Stand – a partnership of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bard College, and Longy School of Music of 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