Play On, Philly is an innovative music program modeled after Venezuela’s network of youth orchestras known as "El Sistema." Curtis Institute of Music graduate Stanford Thompson first brought the program to 4th through 8th graders attending St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia in 2010. Two years later, it expanded to include students at Freire Charter Middle School in Center City.
Simon Rattle, the British-born conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, is one of the best-known classical musicians alive. His influence shows up in all sorts of places: at the Metropolitan Opera, where musicians still speak of his presence there in reverent tones, and in West Philadelphia where his advocacy of Venezuela’s El Sistema helped inspire trumpeter Stanford Thompson to create Play On Philly, a music education program that touches hundreds of lives.