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Music for Social Change


“What a fabulous experience. The concert was inspirational not only because of the performance by the NZSQ but because the players moved so smoothly into our setting. Our children have even more aspiration to play well, our community is still buzzing, and I am continually inspired.” - Samantha Winterton, Director of Sistema Whangarei

Reaching out to the next generation of string players is something we are passionate about, and we feel privileged that over the past two months we have been able to encourage and inspire nearly 300 young string players from low income backgrounds. In August and September we’ll continue our outreach work in South Auckland and look forward to working with the inspirational Virtuoso Strings of Porirua as well.

“From the moment a child is taught to play an instrument, she is no longer poor” – José Antonio Abreu, El Sistema founder

Three of the programmes we work with annually - Arohanui Strings (Taita, Lower Hutt), Sistema Aotearoa (Otara, South Auckland) and Sistema Whangarei - are based on the visionary El Sistema movement, founded in Venezuela by conductor José Antonio Abreu under the motto “Music for Social Change”. Abreu, who died in March this year, aimed to provide free classical music education “that promotes human opportunity and development for impoverished children”.


Our work with these programmes takes many different forms, from working in small groups on basics such as how to hold a bow, through to performing for and with the children. In Whangarei in May we spent the best part of a day with their 40 young players, giving small group workshops, coaching their orchestra and ultimately performing for and with them to a large hall of parents and local community members. Sistema Whangarei director Samantha Winterton wrote afterwards to say:

“What a fabulous experience. The concert was inspirational not only because of the performance by the NZSQ but because the players moved so smoothly into our setting. Our children have even more aspiration to play well, our community is still buzzing, and I am continually inspired.” 

The Tironui Music Trust is an independent school-based programme established by former NZSQ board member Peter Hubscher and his wife Pam to promote formal education in music, with particular emphasis on young children from low-decile schools. All children receive free tuition, books and transport to and