Helping people to lead more meaningful & peaceful lives


Sistema Scotland

Sistema Scotland is a charity set up in the belief that children can gain huge social benefits by playing in a symphony orchestra. We use music making to foster confidence, teamwork, pride and aspiration in the children taking part – and across their wider community. We take the Sistema name from the orchestra movement established in Venezuela in 1975 by Maestro José Antonio Abreu.

We are very proud to be official partners with the original organisation in Venezuela. We seek to benefit from the South Americans’ expertise, while adapting their methods to suit conditions in Scotland. Sistema Scotland exists to develop orchestra centres on the ground in Scotland. These are known in the community as Big Noise. The first is in Raploch, Stirling. We have plans for further centres across Scotland.

The West Eastern Divan Orchestra

The pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim writes: ‘Great music is the result of deep listening. Every player listening intently to the voice of the composer and to each other. Harmony in personal or international relations can also only exist by listening. Each party opening their ears to the other’s narrative or point of view. In 1999, Edward Said and I formed the West-Eastern Divan orchestra, composed of musicians from Israel, Palestine, and other Arab countries. Countries where the open ear has been too often replaced by the unsheathed sword, to the detriment of all. Now, over 10 years later, we have hopefully achieved an orchestra that is worthy of your ear. And one which shows that people who listen to each other, both musically and in all other ways, can achieve greater things.’

Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said (the late Palestinian literary scholar) named the Orchestra and workshop after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s collection of poems entitled ‘West-Eastern Divan’, a central work for the evolution of the concept of world culture. The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’s first sessions took place in Weimar and Chicago. In 2002 it found a permanent home in Seville, Spain, where it is generously supported by the regional government of Andalusia (Junta de Andalucia).

The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has proved time and again that music can break down barriers previously considered insurmountable. The only political aspect prevailing the West-Eastern Divan’s work is the conviction that there will never be a military solution to the Middle East conflict, and that the destinies of the Israelis and Palestinians are inextricably linked. Through its work and existence the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra demonstrates that bridges can be built to encourage people to listen to one another.
Music by itself can, of course, not resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Music grants the individual the right and obligation to express himself fully while listening to his or her neighbour. Based on this notion of equality, cooperation and justice for all, the Orchestra represents an alternative model to the current situation in the Middle East.

Denise Hagan is the Irish singer who travels internationally as a sacred and inspirational performer dedicated to opening the hearts of humankind through sound, story, and song.

The Renaissance Ethics of Music: Singing, Contemplation and Musica Humana Hyun-Ah Kim. Modern scholarship has explored music both scientifically and aesthetically, but not philosophically. In early modern Europe, music – particularly singing – was the arena where body and soul came together, embodied in the notion of musica humana. Kim uses this concept to examine the framework within which music and song were used to promote the moral and spiritual education of the laity. This is the first study of its kind, combining historical musicology with philosophical theology to address Renaissance ideas of religion, education and music. For full table of contents, please visit the website: