SphinxConnect > 2017 Schedule > SESSION: Empowered Youth = Social Change


FRIDAY 2/10/17
10:00 – 10:50am
Esquire Boardroom


Learn about the progress of the El Sistema movement and the unique role musicians can play in it. Join the exciting conversation that will spark ideas for musicians, teachers, and advocates, and consider getting involved with your local El Sistema program.



Artistic Director, OrchKids

Dan Trahey is a musician, composer, educator, social entrepreneur and architect for dozens of social change through music programs in the United States, South America, and Europe. Dan co-created the “OrchKids” with Marin Alsop where he currently serves as Artistic Director.

Dan also founded the El Sistema inspired program “Tuned In” at the Peabody Conservatory where he also teaches creative composition and community engagement. As a tuba player with The Archipelago Project, he concertizes and promotes cross genre performances and has performed for hundreds of thousands of children specifically targeting impoverished areas with little access to live performance. Dan has held orchestral positions in Mexico, the United States, and Germany. Dan received a Masters of Music from Yale, and a Bachelors of Music Education from Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Trahey is from Detroit and has just launched a new program in neighboring Pontiac called Accent Pontiac.

He is a frequent collaborator with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Lukes, The Grand Rapids Symphony, Opera North, Philadelphia Orchestra, MusAid, Yale University,SouthBanke Center, Liverpool Philharmonic, National Youth Orchestra of Belize, The Calgary Philharmonic and countless other organizations.




Executive Director, El Sistema USA and KidzNotes

Katie Wyatt is an accomplished musician, executive and innovator in social change through music. In July 2010, Katie co-founded and assumed the post of Executive Director of Kidznotes, North Carolina’s first “El Sistema” inspired organization. Including her work in El Sistema, Katie is a national leader in the orchestra field in creating programs for access and opportunity for all people to experience the transformative power of music. She enjoys teaching “Music and Social Entrepreneurship” as adjunct faculty at Duke University, and as a violist has performed with chamber groups and orchestras around the world. Starting July 2016, Katie became the first Executive Director for El Sistema USA in a new partnership with Duke University. There she will champion the cause of El Sistema nationally while continuing to support Kidznotes locally. Wyatt speaks Spanish and French and holds bachelor degrees in Political Science and Viola Performance from Indiana University and a Master’s Degree in Viola Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Katie lives and works in Raleigh-Durham, NC with her husband and their new puppy, Bear.



CEO of Crescendo Detroit

Damien Crutcher is a native Detroiter and a graduate of Cass Technical High School.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Michigan State University, and a Master’s in Conducting from The University of Michigan

After graduating from The University of Michigan, Damien served as Director of Bands and Orchestra at Southfield-Lathrup High School. Under his direction the Southfield-Lathrup ensembles, including the Lathrup Symphony Band have performed in San Francisco, Chicago, the Bahamas, the White House and Carnegie Hall.  Many of his students from Southfield Lathrup are currently professional musicians, music teachers and artists across the country

He is currently the co-founder and CEO of Crescendo Detroit. Crescendo Detroit is a nonprofit whose mission is to transform the lives of school age children, ages 5-18, in Detroit, by engaging kids in intense instrumental music, vocal music and dance programs that promote artistic excellence and character building. It is the goal of Crescendo Detroit to create a neighborhood to college pipeline using the arts

Mr. Crutcher begins his 13th season as the Conductor and Artistic Director of the Farmington Community Band and is a frequent guest conductor and clinician throughout Michigan.


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