El Sistema Aeolian is part of a global movement designed to offer free universal access to an intensive collaborative music program.

There are millions of participants in over 80 countries and the program has spread across Canada quickly. Canadian Provincial and National Associations are forming. Our local program offers five days of instruction to our participants including orchestra, choir and piano lessons. Meals and snacks are also provided. Our participants give approximately 10-20 concerts per year in various settings.

Our Mission

Giving Music to Everyone

The arts enlighten, inspire and transform individuals, helping us build strong, healthy and vibrant communities. El Sistema Aeolian provides an opportunity for children, youth and their communities to experience a free, intensive, innovative and accessible after school music program. We provide expert instruction in a nurturing, safe and inclusive environment allowing participants to develop their full social and musical potential.

Our Vision

A world Filled with Music

We see a world in which all children and youth experience the joy and inspiration of music. The skills they will learn are transferable and include social engagement, inclusiveness, leadership, pursuit of excellence and creative learning styles. These skills and pathways will open new horizons and alternative pathways for these young people. It will assist them to achieve their full potential and enrich our communities.

History of El Sistema Aeolian

El Sistema Aeolian is a free, intensive after-school music program based on a program founded in Venezuela in 1975. Each El Sistema program is free to adapt its delivery in a way that is unique to its community, resources and participants. The initiative has grown to include programs in over 80 countries and has won TED, UNESCO and Glenn Gould Awards.

The Aeolian Hall Musical Arts Association launched El Sistema Aeolian in November of 2011, serving 20 children in the pilot project. In its early days youth from the Old East Village Community and in particular Lorne Avenue Public School were first offered the opportunity to participate in this program but it has now expanded to include participants from different areas, groups, and organizations throughout our City of London. There are now 130 spots offered in the program for the 2022-2023 academic year.

The Aeolian’s El Sistema is the 4th launched in Canada, is supported by a gifted group of musicians, educators, students, interested community members and the Staff/Directors of the Aeolian and it is built on a set of values and principles and not a homogenized curriculum. On April 2015 The Mayor of the City of London gave El Sistema Aeolian a Pillar Award in recognition for its outstanding community impact.  The program has also won a Jack Richardson Music Award in the Classical Category.  Participants have performed in the JUNO’s and had mentorship with Buffy Sainte-Marie.

The goal of El Sistema Aeolian is to hold the tension between musical and social outcomes.  There is a social curriculum, leadership class and students do mindfulness training at The Indonesian Gamelan.  A food program offers participants regular nourishment and opportunities to broaden their culinary experience.  Participants perform regularly with artists presented on the Aeolian stage including names like The Canadian Brass, Royal Wood, Valdy, Ashley McIsaac, Matt Alber and Ty Herndon.

  • 3 String Orchestras (Beginner, Intermediate, Senior) as well as full orchestra including strings, brass, percussion, organ and piano
  • 2 Choirs (Junior, Senior) as well as the full festival choir
  • Entry level instruction for new students in strings, winds and brass
  • winds, brass, percussion & piano instruction
  • Each participant attends a minimum of three days per week
  • Instruments are provided to participants to use while they are in the program
  • Daily meals provided
  • Collaboration with seasoned professionals and el sistema patrons
  • Leadership class for advanced participants
  • Over twenty performances per year on stage and in public spaces
  • Workshops: Brassroots, Tafelmusik, Rebelheart Collective, A Few Good Men Choir, Ashley MacIsaac, Grammy Winner Matt Alber, London Pro Musica Choir
  • classes and concerts held at the cronyn education campus
  • 400+ Hours of volunteer and training opportunities for youth ages 12 to 26 years of age
  • Leadership and teaching staff are highly trained professionals with University Degrees in music and education. Executive Director has attended several El Sistema Conferences, including “Re-framing El Sistema” Conference in Baltimore and Positive Education Conference


Clark Bryan


Clark Bryan, BMus’90, Mmus’92 is an award-winning concert pianist and has performed internationally, recorded 14 CDs and has been featured on radio and television. As a teacher, Bryan has taught thousands of students, adjudicated more than 70 music festivals coast to coast in Canada, given dozens of workshops and written a book, “Gateways to Learning and Memory”.

In 2004, he founded The Aeolian Performing Arts Centre. Today, this historic and legendary Centre is recognized as a beacon for arts and culture in Ontario and regularly hosts musical artists of many genres and is prized for the gift of intimacy and acoustics it provides to both audiences and performers.

Bryan believes that everyone should have universal access to music, art and culture. Because of this belief, he launched El Sistema Aeolian in 2011. This free, UNESCO award-winning program has offered more than a thousand children and youth an opportunity to experience the joy of a rich musical education. “Music is one of the powerful tools we have for social change today,” he says. In all his roles at El Sistema – teacher, administrator and executive, he displays a progressive, social-justice mindset. Whether incorporating mindfulness exercises with music lessons or arranging for ensembles to perform with celebrity musicians such as Ashley MacIsaac, The Canadian Brass or Stephan Moccio, he is consistently researching and applying new ways to make music education more engaging.

Other activities have included co-founded two new programs.  Pride Men’s Chorus London, a choir open to men of all backgrounds and identities and Rebelheart Collective, a conductor-less chamber orchestra that offers mentorship to young apprentices and offers free tickets to every concert.

Bryan was awarded Musical Personality of the Year (2005) and won a Jack Richardson Award for Community Contribution (2011).  In 2017, Mr. Bryan was given the Western Alumni Award of Merit and inducted into the Don Wright Faculty of Music Wall of Fame.  In 2018, Clark was recognized with a Canada 150 Award through the House of Commons for his contributions to community and the nation. In 2022, Clark won Best Classical Solo Musician at Forest City London Music Awards.

Bryan continues to extend his reach into the community about the power and joy of music study by giving a TED talk, engaging in community activism and speaking regularly at events, on radio and television as well as opening The Aeolian’s Education Campus.

Darren Sigesmund:

Program Coordinator

Darren Sigesmund is an award-winning trombonist and composer. He has released five recordings as bandleader featuring his compositions with his jazz ensembles. He has received a 2010 JUNO nomination and a Galaxie Rising Star award at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Darren has toured nationally and overseas, and has written several classical commissions. He holds a doctorate from the University of Toronto in Jazz Performance. Darren has given dozens of workshops and has taught jazz and classical piano at the Humber College Community Music Program. With a strong belief in the importance of music education, Darren aspires to help provide meaningful opportunities for the youth at El Sistema Aeolian.

Lesley Andrew

Choir Director

Known for her extraordinary vocal range and versatility in many genres of music, Ms. Andrew often “switches hats,” performing as the soprano soloist for one engagement and as the alto soloist for the next – from opera to show tunes, oratorio to jazz.

Immediately following the completion of her undergraduate degree, Ms. Andrew began an extended tenure with the Stratford Festival, performing in productions including The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, Twelfth Night, Cyrano De Bergerac, Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Music Man and Patience.  Other theatrical performances include Menotti’s The Telephone and Hopkin’s Three’s Company at the Guelph Spring Festival (featuring and directed by Ms. Andrew). Most recently, Ms. Andrew directed La Boheme (Southern Ontario Lyric Opera), receiving rave reviews as “SOLO’s best production yet!” for her creative direction and use of space.

Ms. Andrew has made special guest television appearances on The Tonight Show, Oprah Winfrey, To Tell the Truth, Donny & Marie, The Comedy Network, YTV, Regis & Kathy Lee and many more.  A popular motivational speaker, Ms. Andrew is engaged across Canada by Educators, Universities, Corporations, Service Clubs and Student Organizations.

Jeffrey Komar

Violin/Viola Teacher/Conductor

Jeffrey Komar has taught with El Sistema Aeolian since January 2016, and he is also a graduate student in Viola Performance at Western University. He conducts the entry-level orchestra and junior choir, teaching music rudiments, foundational string instrument technique, and choral technique. Through his work he also cultivates in his students community-building skills such as confidence, thoughtfulness, and curiosity so that they do not simply play music, but rather they thrive through it.

Bruce Hoadley

Winds and Brass Teacher/Conductor

Part of our teaching staff since 2017, Bruce Hoadley brings to El Sistema Aeolian a diverse wealth of musical experience.  Bruce has been a professional trombonist with the Victoria Symphony and Hamilton Philharmonic, as well as a music educator with over thirty years of experience in all levels from K to 12.  Through the years, Bruce has conducted numerous award winning concert bands & jazz ensembles, and has been a music conference clinician in both the USA & Canada. He has enjoyed playing and singing with the Pacific Opera in Victoria, and now sings with the Big Bandemic Big Band right here in London.  Bruce’s primary teaching responsibilities for El Sistema Aeolian are the Winds & Brass students, but he also conducts and orchestrates music for our Full Symphonic Orchestra.


Maria Angelica Gonzalez:

Violin/Viola Teacher/Conductor

 Iraheta’s roots are firmly planted in the vibrant El
Sistema in Venezuela. Since then, she has grown as a chamber musician with the President’s International String Quartet, a prestigious full Scholarship opportunity to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in music at Western Illinois University. As a viola instructor Gonzalez-Iraheta has taught in El Sistema, Venezuela; Tocar y Luchar Music Program in Bogotá, Colombia, worked with private students and recently taught in the community program of Whispering River Orchestra in Parry Sound, Ontario. Maria has participated in ensembles across the Americas including Orquesta Sinfonica de Falcon, Orquesta Filarmonica de Caracas, Bogota Chamber Orchestra, Miami Symphony Orchestra, Galesburg Symphony Orchestra among others. As a winner of the 2020 WIU Concerto Competition she performed the Hoffmeister Viola Concerto under the baton of Dr. Kenny Lee in spring 2021. She is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Viola Performance at Western University in London, Ontario.

Mary Rose:

Violin/Viola Teacher/Conductor

Mary Rose is a violinist and private music instructor based in London, Ontario. She completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours Specialization in Music at the University of Western Ontario. During her undergraduate studies, Mary received the Willena Evans Award in Music and the Herman Smith Award in Music, for excellence in music and academics. Mary has performed regularly with the Western University Symphony Orchestra, and Early Music Studio on Baroque violin.  She has also been a featured soloist for the Brantford Music Club’s Young Artist Series, held at the Sanderson Center.  During the summers, she has participated in the Starling-Delay Violin Symposium at the Juilliard School focused on violin pedagogy and performance.

Mary is passionate about motivating students to achieve their musical goals, and tailors lessons to meet the needs of each of her students. She has over a decade of teaching experience preparing students for auditions, music festivals, recitals, and Royal Conservatory examinations. While studying at Western, she volunteered with UWO Peer Guides (a student run organization dedicated to helping university students with music history and theory). Mary has also volunteered at the Brantford General Hospital in the Cancer Clinic and Day Surgery, and currently volunteers with St. Johns Meals Program in London. In her spare time, Mary enjoys reading, running, and spending time outdoors.

Isaac Lee: 

Cello Teacher

 Isaac Lee completed his masters degree in instrumental performance at the University of Toronto where he studied cello under the direction of Professor Shauna Rolston. Previously, Isaac completed his undergraduate studies in cello performance at the University of Western Ontario. During his undergraduate work, Isaac received the Gordon Jeffery Endowment Strings and Chamber Music Continuing Awards, and the Willena Evans Award in Music. 

Isaac has performed regularly with Western Orchestra, Western Opera, Early Music Studio, Contemporary Music Studio, and Western Chamber Ensemble. In 2018, he was assigned a principal position at UWOSO, and was a featured soloist in William Tell Overture. Isaac has also performed regularly in the community as a soloist, and a chamber musician. Isaac has enjoyed collaborating with many different musicians throughout his studies, most notably with Elissa Lee from Ensemble Made in Canada. They performed at a student collaboration concert, where they played Sonata for Violin and Cello, 3rd movement, by Ravel. Isaac has worked as a freelance cellist in southern Ontario, performing for theatre companies and weddings. Isaac also performed with University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra and was assigned a principal position at UTSO and University of Toronto Opera. In his spare time, Isaac enjoys playing cello, video games, and spending time with his friends. 




About and Application (below):

El Sistema Aeolian’s Leadership Class is a safe, nurturing space and time for participants to share and grow.  It is facilitated by adults who are able to help participants:

  • Cultivate trust
  • Cultivate leadership
  • Cultivate self-awareness
  • Learn Emotional Intelligence
  • Learn positive Intelligence
  • Practice communication skills
  • Practice volunteerism
  • Understand community and interdependence
  • contribute to the El Sistema Aeolian program through peer mentorship and other supportive activities
  • Meet leaders from all walks of life and interact with them learning from their experiences

Leadership Class Application

Information to determine suitability for Leadership Class
Include: Email, Phone Number and Address
Include what you are hoping to gain from the experience as well as what you hope to contribute to the class.
Program Requirements: Please check boxes if you agree.

Please completely fill out the following form and submit it for consideration for piano lessons.

Piano Lessons

Application for interest in receiving piano lessons for participants in the El Sistema Aeolian program.
Background: Please check appropriate boxes

“I saw how my son grew socially, emotionally and spiritually through the music.”
El Sistema Parent

Rent The Aeolian

The Aeolian is a beautiful, unique, award-winning location to host your event.

While particularly renowned for its acoustic/live music presentations, the Aeolian is a versatile facility and can host all sorts of events from weddings and parties to conferences and fundraisers.

Give to Culture

Explore the arts. Support your community. Discover yourself.

The Aeolian relies heavily upon a strong base of community support that benefits many projects and events. All contributions, whether small or large, make a huge difference and will help sustain The Aeolian Musical Arts Association’s mission and future.