Sistema Global Board of Directors
Co-founder and currently co-musical director of the Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra (SEYO), also co-founder and president of Superar Suisse 2012 - 2014. He actively contributed to the coordination of Sistema Europe since its first years and continues to be strongly involved in the network.
As violinist and conductor he is passionate about exploring new ways in classical music and enjoys a successful international career. He performed with Claudio Abbado for 18 years, as a member of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and principal second violin of the Orchestra Mozart Bologna and the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra.
John Henry Dale
With nearly twenty years of experience in audio, video and IT engineering, music production, and streaming media John Henry Dale holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies (Latin America focus) from Kenyon College and a Master of Science in Digital Composition and Performance from University of Edinburgh. He is also an active DJ, drummer and music producer, with a passion for cutting-edge music, art and culture from around the globe. He lives and works in Miami Beach where he is currently an artist-in-residence at Art Center South Florida and the Manager for Distance Learning and IT at New World Symphony.
Dr. Gisela Flanigan
Dr. Flanigan is a social entrepreneur/consultant with more than a decade of experience advocating for the arts at local, state and national levels. Her wealth of knowledge and experience includes consultancies, site visits and panel participation with various arts organizations. Dr. Flanigan has given lecture-recital presentations for the College Music Society regional, national and international conferences, and presentations for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Educational Department.
Gisela’s civic and professional affiliations include: former Chair of the Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture, Board of Directors member of the Crested Butte Music Festival, the Denver-based non-profit MindSpark (an innovator in the “Maker” movement), the Global Affairs Council for Western Colorado and is the Vice-Chair of Arts for Colorado. She serves on the following College Music Society committees: Careers Outside the Academy and Cultural Inclusion and is Sistema Global Governance Development Committee. She has been a grant reviewer, conference planner and facilitator for Colorado Creative Industries. She is currently the Executive Director for MusicSpark, and El Sistema inspired program and she is now honored to serve as Executive Director for Sistema Global.
Since taking up his current post, Méndez has steered the development of the El Sistema projects across Venezuela, with an emphasis on increased social inclusion and higher standards of performance. He supervises major capital projects including the building of new educational facilities and performance spaces, which propels El Sistema’s nationwide network of over 400 núcleos to expand both in number and in scope. He also plays an active role in selecting, identifying, developing and promoting musical groups throughout the institution, which range from major symphony orchestras to local choirs.
One of Méndez’s key missions is to maintain the stability of El Sistema’s capital structure, as the institution employs over 12.000 staff at present. He engages in strategic and negotiations with various parties including sponsors, public and private institutions for the development of artistic and educational programmes. He also seeks to enhance El Sistema’s profile as one of the world’s most innovative social development programmes in the field of classical music, with major international tours for multiple symphony orchestras as well as other initiatives.
He graduated from the law school at Andrés Bello Catholic University in 2000, also obtained a Masters in Public Management from the Institute of Advanced Studies of Administration and Management in Caracas in 2007. Recently, he obtained the certificate of Professional Fundraising at Boston University.
Leonardo is an international performer and speaker and has served as an international El Sistema embassador to assist in the creation of Sistema programs in Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras, Spain, and Tokyo.
A former trumpet section member of the Orquesta Simón Bolívar and Barquisimetal Brass Quintet, Leonardo has led the Academic Program for the Venezuelan National Children Orchestra Coordinación Académica de la Orquesta Nacional Infantil. He was the founder and executive director of the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble which has performed in Carnegie Hall and Los Angeles.
Leonardo has extensive leadership experience both at the national and international level. He managed the International partnership between the El Sistema, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Inter American Development Bank, as well as being the the Academic Director for the Centro de Acción Social por la Música for 8 years. Leonardo is presently the director for the following FUNDAMUSICAL (formerly known as El Sistema) National programs: New Members (founder), Hospital (oncology department), and Special Education at the national level.