Sistema Global Board of Directors

Etienne Abelin

Etienne Abelin

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.

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John Henry Dale

John Henry Dale

New World Symphony Manager of Distance Learning and Information

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.

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Aaron Dworkin

Aaron Dworkin

Photo Credit: Dwight Cendrowski of Dwight Cendrowski Photography LLC

Named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, President Obama’s first appointment to the National Council on the Arts and Governor Snyder’s appointment to the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, Aaron P. Dworkin served as dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, which is ranked among the top performing arts schools in the nation. He is currently a tenured full professor of arts leadership and entrepreneurship at the university. He is also the founder of The Sphinx Organization, the leading national arts organization with the mission of transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. Dworkin is the producer and host of AaronAsk, a weekly online mentoring show on creativity and leadership. A multi-media performing artist, author, social entrepreneur, artist-citizen, and educator, he continually receives extensive national recognition for his leadership and service to communities. Aaron also founded the Dworkin Foundation where he serves as chairman of the Board.

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Dr. Gisela Flanigan

Dr. Gisela Flanigan

Sistema Global Executive Director

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.

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Eduardo Méndez

Eduardo Méndez

Executive Director, El Sistema Venezuela (FUNDAMUSICAL)

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 Méndez

Leonardo Méndez

FUNDAMUSICAL - Gerente Nacional de Programa Nuevos Integrantes, Programa Hospitalario y Educación Especial.

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.

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Jay Seller, PhD

Jay Seller, PhD

President

Dr. Seller Dr. Seller holds a BS in Business Administration, Master’s in Education, and a doctorate in Organizational Leadership, with a special emphasis on at-risk youth. He comes to Sistema Global’s board president role in arts administration and public policy, after an impressive 32 years as a fine arts coordinator, theatre educator and former executive director for Think 360 Arts for Learning.

Dr. Seller is recognized as a Change Leader in Colorado by the Colorado Creative Industries, and the Office of Economic Development. As Colorado State Captain for Americans for the Arts, Dr. Seller regularly lobbies for the Colorado arts communities ensuring transformational changes in both funding and legislation. He is the developer of three educational apps available in the app market place for quantitative support within the arts classroom supporting teacher effectiveness.

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Glenn Thomas

Glenn Thomas

Sistema Global Founder

Glenn Thomas is the Founder and Chairman of GCThomas, a corporate sponsor of Sistema Global. Glenn ran away from home at 15 years old and was rescued by his high school music teacher, Dr. Lewis Phelps. He founded Sistema Global in 2011 with a vision of connecting, encouraging, and inspiring Sistema teachers and leaders worldwide. Glenn majored in vocal performance at the University of Arizona and lives in San Diego.