An Introduction

Dear Friends,

My name is Stanford Thompson and I currently serve as the Executive Director for the El Sistema-inspired program Play On, Philly! I was inspired by Jose Abreu’s TED Prize Award to pursue a career in developing social development programs using music as the tool to reach under-served and at-risk youth in Philadelphia. I entered the Abreu Fellows program at the New England Conservatory in 2009, and served as the founding director for the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s Tune Up Philly program prior to my current position.

In November 2011, Elisabeth Babcock – CEO of the Crittenton Women’s Union and volunteer faculty for the Abreu Fellows – voluntarily wrote a briefing paper on ideas of developing a national and professional association of music training programs for high-risk youth. This briefing paper directly inspired several leaders and advocates for El Sistema-inspired programs to discuss the possibility of forming an association which would serve the needs of our programs across the United States.

This blog/website is designed to openly share the ideas which Beth is proposing to leaders of music education programs serving under-served and at-risk youth. Beth and I share the hope that this information may help in the development of a national association which would serve the great work happening in music education programs around the country in a concise and transparent way.

Please share this page and actively participate as the discussions continue. Your comments will be discussed and I encourage you to participate in the discussion. All thoughts and views are welcome and will help shape the future of a potential national association.

Thank you,
Stanford Thompson
Executive Director – Play On, Philly!
stanford@playonphilly.org

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About Stanford Thompson

Stanford Thompson is a musician and educator who serves as the Founder and Executive Director of Play On Philly and Founding Board Chairman of El Sistema USA, bringing music education to students in underserved areas throughout Philadelphia and beyond. Recognized as a TED Fellow in 2017, Stanford believes that music education is a powerful tool for positive personal and community change. Mr. Thompson serves on the faculties of the Global Leaders Program, SAAVY Arts Venture, and Dean of the Sphinx LEAD program while regularly lecturing at major Universities and Conservatories about leadership, entrepreneurship and social justice. As a consultant, he has guided the development of dozens of El Sistema-inspired programs across the United States and collaborated with major orchestras and arts organizations to develop new strategies and initiatives that helps provide equitable access to the arts. As a professional trumpeter, Stanford has performed as soloist and section member with major orchestras around the world and continues to perform chamber music and jazz. Stanford is a native of Atlanta, GA and hold degrees from The Curtis Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory’s Sistema Fellows Program.
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1 Response to An Introduction

  1. Kathy Rad says:

    Willdo- thanks Stanford!

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