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King School

An independent day school educating students PreK-Grade 12

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El Sistema Residency

King Music Residency: Building and Connecting Communities Through Music

King hosts an annual El Sistema Residency, in which talented musicians from King’s Middle and Upper Schools collaborate in intensive music workshops with visiting students of various El Sistema USA programs, including Stamford’s own Project Music.  The overarching focus of the residency is to inspire a connection between communities of different socioeconomic backgrounds, using the music ensemble as the vehicle through which to inspire deeper communication.

Educational Objectives:

  • Understand music as a reflection of culture and expression of identity
  • Give voice to, and amplify, perspectives from diverse lived experiences
  • Use music to inspire connections across our superficial differences
  • Explore new ways to create and disseminate music
  • Blend music from varied styles and cultures into new compositions and unique concerts

Collective Composition

Collective Composition is an opportunity for people to come together and creatively explore and express their stories, ideas and emotions through music. Collective Composition emphasizes the creation and performance of music as a process that all people can access, and offers shared experiences through which individuals, communities, and culture may strengthen and expand. Led by Dan Trahey, Director of the Archipelago Project and Collective Conservatory, students will use themes inspired by the mash-up concept to create their own original compositions.


There will be four performances associated with the residency. 

  • On Sunday, April 2, there will be a community concert, open to the public at 4:30 p.m. 
  • On Monday, April 3, the residency will conclude with morning assembly concerts for each school division at King. 

All performances will be held in the Performing Arts Center.

Featuring New Composers and Compositions

A primary focus of the residency is featuring new music from composers of today. This allows our students to connect how music is a living, breathing art form.  We will be featuring music from Kevin Day, Jodie Blackshaw, and Benjamin Dean Taylor.  All of these composers are active in the field today and students will have the opportunity to interact with the composers over virtual master-classes.

Guest Artists

Armand Hall: Director of Programs-Gateways Music Festival, Board Chair-El Sistema USA

Dr. Armand Hall is a conductor and educator dedicated to the creation of new music in all venues. From 2012 – 2018 he served as assistant professor and associate director of bands at the University of Memphis. There he conducted the symphonic band, the marching band, and taught courses in music education. From 2002-10, Dr. Hall served as director of bands at Dunckel Middle School and, from 2003-09, assistant director of the North Farmington High School “Raider” Marching Band in Farmington Hills, Michigan. He earned his Doctorate of Music Arts in wind conducting at Michigan State University with Dr. Kevin Sedatole, and Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees in music education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. Hall is active as a commissioner of music, having commissioned instrumental music for beginning through advanced ensembles. Dedicated to teaching, he is the educational director and teaching artist for the Archipelago Project, a non-profit organization charged with engaging students in music and their instruments by teaching multiple folk idioms using pedagogical techniques based on the Venezuelan El Sistema model. With the Archipelago Project, he has traveled throughout the country and Venezuela teaching music students and performing for their communities. Additionally, he is a board of directors member for the PRIZM Ensemble in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Hall is also active as an adjudicator and clinician; and is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, National Association for Music Education, College Music Society, Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, and Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity.  

Dan Trahey: Director of Collective Composition

Dan Trahey is a musician, educator, and innovator. He was instrumental in the creation of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids, where he currently serves as Artistic Liaison. Dan also founded the El Sistema-inspired program Tuned In at the Peabody Conservatory, where he teaches creative composition and community engagement. As tuba player with the Archipelago Project he travels the world promoting cross-genre performances and has performed for hundreds of thousands of children, specifically targeting impoverished areas with little access to live performance. He has held orchestral positions in Mexico and the United States. Trahey is part of the composition troupe Creative Connections that works to bring communities together through collective and creative composition. Dan has been featured in countless publications including 60 Minutes, PBS, NPR, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. He recently gave a TED talk at TEDx Baltimore, and was named the “Most Valuable Player in the Arts” by Baltimore Magazine.

Dan Trahey


El Sistema Origin Story

Past performances