2023 Ravinia National Seminario: Orchestras For All


National Seminario: Students coming together for learning, community, and performance

July 5–8, 2023 at Ravinia Festival

Inspired by Chief Conductor Marin Alsop’s artistic vision, Ravinia’s Reach Teach Play education programs will host National Seminario Ravinia, a gathering of students from El Sistema-inspired organizations. Participating students will experience four days of orchestral training and mentorship from members of the National Seminario Ravinia Orchestra Partner Chicago Philharmonic.


2 rtp students smiling holding instruments

Harmonizing Together

The Seminario will bring together over 130 young musicians, from 15 states and Canada, selected through a collaborative nomination process. The gathering will culminate in a concert featuring Seminario students in a side-by-side orchestra with the renowned Chicago Philharmonic. Additionally, in partnership with El Sistema USA, Ravinia will provide a series of professional development workshops for teaching artists and administrators.


Attend the Performance

The Seminario will culminate in a free, public side-by-side Pavilion concert with Chicago Philharmonic on July 8. Marin Alsop and Jonathan Rush will lead performances of Ravel’s Bolero, a newly commissioned work, and as a nod to the Global Ode To Joy project, an arrangement of the familiar tune. The performance will be presented as part of Ravinia's 2023 Kids Concerts series

View Performance


Artistic Leadership

Marin Alsop

Ravinia Chief Conductor
Marin Alsop graphic in a colored circle

“The opportunity to work with students so dedicated to boosting their life skills through the universal language of music is as important to me as leading any orchestra. I’m thrilled to have time over these four days to also meet with the educators who are such crucial mentors for these young people, supporting their personal growth and affirming that they are welcome and, in fact, already a cherished part of this national community of musicians.”

Jonathan Rush

Lead Seminario Conductor
Jonathan Rush graphic in a colored circle

“Sistema-trained students bring pure passion to their music; it’s instantly inspiring. There’s an energy, in the middle of them onstage, that the Chicago Philharmonic and I are excited to fortify, so that the students can experience being peers with not only these professional musicians, but young people from across the country who share this spirit. Meeting with their conductors as well will be a wonderful chance to exchange and develop ideas to focus the enthusiasm and the talent of their student musicians.”

Orchestra Partner

Chicago Philharmonic playing on a stage
“We are excited and honored to partner with Ravinia to support the National Seminario Ravinia. Our vision at Chicago Philharmonic is to create a more inclusive future for symphonic music, and investing upstream in the next generation of musicians is essential to this mission.”
—Terell Johnson, Chicago Philharmonic Executive Director


Chicago Philharmonic

The Chicago Philharmonic Society is a collaboration of nearly 200 of the highest-level classical musicians in the Midwest. Chicago Philharmonic’s symphonic and chamber concerts have garnered praise from audiences and critics alike.

The Philharmonic excels in creating innovative programs that break down genre barriers, performing throughout the Chicago area at the Ravinia Festival, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Auditorium Theatre, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Symphony Center, and The Chicago Theatre. Chicago Philharmonic is committed to recognizing and breaking down systems of segregation and racism that exist in the classical music community.

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RTP Students in colored tshirt on stage

About Reach Teach Play

Ravinia’s Reach Teach Play education programs serve thousands of young people across the Chicago area each year. Reach Teach Play’s many offerings provide underserved children and families with music education and live music performances in their schools, communities, and at Ravinia through a portfolio of high-quality and inclusive programs, including Sistema Ravinia. This transformational orchestral program fosters social development year-round through daily small-ensemble and orchestral training for 4th12th grade students in Chicago and Lake County public schools. 

National Seminario Ravinia extends the vision of Reach Teach Play to open doors where everyone can access and experience the positive impact of music and create pathways for continued success. “Bringing this diverse group of kids together from around the country will be such a special experience,” said Christine Taylor Conda, Director of Ravinia’s Reach Teach Play education programs. “We hope that students will see that this movement [El Sistema] is much larger and more connected than just their local ensemble or community, that they will be challenged musically and that they will develop lasting friendships.”  

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Frequently Asked Questions

While the learning activities and events are are only open to participating students and their home music organizations, free advance tickets to attend the final culminating performance on July 8 will be available for the general public.

Please order tickets in advance starting May 1 to support these students in concert. Donors to Ravinia get early access to tickets as early as March 22. More info.

For updates on the upcoming season, subscribe to our mailing list.

National Seminario Ravinia is open to students from El Sistema-inspired organizations. Organizations can reach out to seminario@ravinia.org for more information on enrollment for National Seminario Ravinia 2024.


National Seminario Ravinia Presenting Sponsor:


National Seminario Ravinia Program Partners:

Chicago Philharmonic
El Sistema USA

Participating Organizations:

Accent Pontiac
Boston String Academy
BRAVO Youth Orchestras
BSO OrchKids
Chicago Arts and Music Project
Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project
East River Children and Youth Orchestra
El Sistema Colorado
El Sistema Lehigh Valley
El Sistema Texas
Empire State Youth Orchestra CHIME Program
Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer
New Brunswick Youth Orchestra
Paterson Music Project
Play On Philly
Sistema Ravinia
Sistema Tulsa
Sistema Utah
Sunstate Orchestral Program
United Children Music Project