Musical slums: playing for your life in Venezuela’s “El Sistema”

Mount Holyoke Alumna, Yana Stainova MA, will speak to us about El Sistema, a Venezuelan initiative intended to lessen socioeconomic exclusion by providing cost-free music education, and instruments, to half a million young people across the country. While a number of international musical celebrities have arisen out of this program, Stainova asks what has the practice of classical music meant for the majority of students who may or may not achieve professional status as musicians, and who live their lives amidst violence and state repression? This talk is based on sixteen months of multi-sited ethnographic research in Venezuela and teaching flute to children in Aguila, a crime-ridden slum in the capital Caracas. Sponsored by Lynk Curriculum Development Plan. Lunch will be served. 

Yana Stainova is a Ph.D student in Anthropology. She has a BA in International Relations and Spanish from Mount Holyoke College and an MA in Anthropology from Brown University.