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!


About Stanford Thompson

Stanford Thompson is a musician and educator who is passionate about using music for social action and serves as the Founder and Executive Director for the El Sistema-inspired program, Play On, Philly! and the Chairman of El Sistema USA. He also serves on the boards of the Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Composers Forum, and as Chairman of The Curtis Institute of Music Alumni Network. He regularly contributes to the communities of TED, League of American Orchestras, and El Sistema-inspired initiatives around the world. For El Sistema inspired programs he has implemented, Stanford has secured over $8.5 million in funding which has impacted the lives of hundreds of children in Philadelphia. Trained as a professional trumpeter, Mr. Thompson has performed with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, Symphony in C and recorded on the Ondine label with Christoph Eschenbach. Stanford also appeared as soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Ocean City Pops Orchestra and the North Springs Philharmonic. He has lead residencies with Philos Brass in Milford, Pennsylvania and Atlanta, Georgia where they performed recitals and outreach presentations, presented master classes, and conducted clinics. In the jazz idiom, Stan has performed for the Berks Jazz Festival, performed on the Washington College Concert Series and presented for the opening gala of the Philadelphia Orchestra with the Rittenhouse Jazz Quintet. Stanford is a native of Atlanta, GA and holds degrees from The Curtis Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory’s Abreu Fellows Program.
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1 Response to An Introduction

  1. Kathy Rad says:

    Willdo- thanks Stanford!

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