Tocando Music Project Student, Daniel Moreno, selected to attend the internationally renowned National Seminario Ravinia: Orchestras for All

El Paso, TX — Eight-year Tocando Music Project student Daniel Moreno has been selected to participate in the internationally renowned National Seminario Ravinia: Orchestras for All this July at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois.

The major music festival will engage more than 130 teenage students from El Sistema-inspired orchestra programs from around the United States, Canada, Mexico, Greece, and Sweden from July 7-10, focusing on orchestral training, community building, and performance. Students will receive mentorship from members of the National Orchestral Institute + Festival (NOI+F) and work under the artistic leadership of famed conductors Marin Alsop, Ravinia Chief Conductor, and Jessica Altarriba, Lead Seminario Conductor. The Seminario will culminate in a performance side-by-side with NOI+F musicians in the Pavilion at the Ravinia Festival on July 10.

Daniel is a freshman at Bowie High School. He has been enrolled in the Tocando Music Project, a project of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, since the 2nd grade and the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras since the 7th grade. As Tocando’s first Student Teaching Assistant, he has received private lessons throughout the year and assists Tocando’s Teaching Artists.

“I think it’s really important for people to understand that these opportunities can happen for students in our neighborhood — in any neighborhood — but (they don’t) happen after (only) one year in an orchestra. This is the kind of thing that only happens after years of dedication, artistic growth, and hard work. After pushing through the tough days and committing to the process,” said Ana Maria Quintero Munoz, Tocando’s Director of Pedagogy and a Teaching Artist.

Daniel will attend the festival on a full scholarship from the Ravinia Festival and Tocando Music Project.

The El Paso Symphony Orchestra and Tocando are extraordinarily proud of Daniel’s hard work and diligence and hope that he is the first of many young musicians to receive this honor and represent our community throughout the world!

ABOUT TOCANDO MUSIC PROJECT: The El Paso Symphony Orchestra’s Tocando Music Project, in partnership with Carnegie Hall’s WMI, is an after-school program that provides music learning and performing opportunities to elementary and middle school students. Tocando’s mission is to empower children to improve their sense of community and opportunity. Music is used as a vehicle for children to acquire the valuable tools of teamwork, self-confidence, leadership, and academic success. Tocando began in September 2013 at Hart Elementary School in El Segundo Barrio. It expanded to Guillen Middle School in 2017, concentrating on schools in the feeder pattern of Bowie High School.  In January 2020, Tocando expanded to Tornillo, Texas, with programming currently at the intermediate school. Collaborations with UTEP create a pathway to college for students beginning in elementary school and continuing throughout their educations and careers.


Rosemary Flores
El Paso Symphony Orchestra
(915) 532-3776

EPSO’s Tocando Music Project honored with Manhattan Institute’s prestigious 2020 Civic Society Awards

We are proud to announce that Ruth Ellen Jacobson, on behalf of Tocando Music Project, is a recipient of the Manhattan Institute’s 2020 Civil Society Awards.

Tocando and Ruth Ellen are 1 of 5 non-profits and their leaders selected from nearly 200 nominations from 37 states and 107 cities around the country. 

Each organization will be honored with a $25,000 prize at the annual Civil Society Awards event, which will be held virtually on October 29, 2020.

 About the Civil Society Awards: Based in New York City, the Manhattan Institute is a think tank whose mission is to develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility. For nearly 20 years, the institute has sought to support and advance America’s long tradition of civil society organizations and leaders who, with the help of volunteers and private philanthropy, address and prevent some of our nation’s most pressing public problems. Learn more about Manhattan Institute’s Tocqueville Project and Civil Society Awards program: Manhattan Institute 2020 Civil Society Awards  

Read the Manhattan Institute press release: FINAL – PR – Civil Society Awardee Announcement 2020

Communities For Peace

Communities For Peace — a collaboration of El Paso’s leading music institutions — invites you to a special program of music and healing to honor the victims of the horrific mass shooting on August 3, 2019 in El Paso.

The world premiere of the 22-minute cantata — one minute for each of those lost in the shooting — will be unveiled at the 90th annual season-opening concerts of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. September 25-26 in the Plaza Theatre.

The performances will include a chorus from The University of Texas at El Paso, led by Dr. Elisa Wilson, and soloists from El Paso Opera. EPSO Music Director Bohuslav Rattay will conduct.

Communities For Peace is a collaborative effort of El Paso Opera, El Paso Pro-Musica, the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and The University of Texas at El Paso Department of Music.  It commissioned the cantata, which is being written by Cuban-American composer Jorge Martin, whose works have been performed by the Cecilia Chorus of New York, the Fort Worth Opera and the Florida Grand Opera.

Communities For Peace has joined with the El Paso Community Foundation to raise funds for this historic effort.

If you would like to donate, please go to

Communities for Peace:, 915-533-4020
El Paso Opera:, 915-581-5534
El Paso Pro-Musica:, 915-747-8163
El Paso Symphony Orchestra:, 915-532-3776
The University of Texas at El Paso Department of Music:, 915-747-5606

EPSO’s Tocando Expands to Tornillo

Tocando will Provide Free Instruments and Music Instruction
at Tornillo Elementary School

El Paso, TX — The El Paso Symphony is pleased to announce that it will expand its After-School Music Project, Tocando, to Tornillo Elementary School as an in-class and after-school program in January 2020 providing free instruments, music instruction and performance opportunities. Tocando uses music education as a vehicle for students to acquire valuable tools of teamwork, self-confidence, leadership, and academic success as campuses grow to include additional immigrant communities.

Tornillo is an impoverished rural community 40 miles east of El Paso which gained national attention during the migrant crisis earlier in 2019. Although, that migrant population has been dispersed throughout the United States, Tornillo remains predominantly populated by resettled immigrants from Mexico. It is this population that will benefit from the Tocando program, which will be restructured as a during-school-day and after-school program to accommodate the students’ needs. “Children here are in so much need, and we want to be able to create something better for them. For many of our students, this music education program is a lifeline” says Rosy Vega-Barrio, Superintendent, Tornillo Independent School District.

Currently in its 7th year, Tocando launched in September 2013 at Hart Elementary School in the El Segundo Barrio neighborhood of South El Paso. It is currently serving 2nd to 8th grade students of Aoy Elementary, Hart Elementary, Young Women’s Academy and Guillen Middle school.

Tocando students attend programming Monday through Thursday throughout the school year, a two-week summer camp at their home campus and are given an opportunity to attend a week-long sleep-away summer music camp as well. Students regularly visit El Paso Museum of Art, though the ArtBeats initiative, and gain insight into the connection between visual and instrumental art. In addition, students participate in annual Career Day visits to UTEP where they spend the day touring the campus and enjoying activities prepared by various departments such as, Music, Education, Science, Engineering and Computer to introduce them to college life.

Tocando in Tornillo is supported by The NAMM Foundation’s Believe in Music Fund under its new initiative “Music Education at the Border” that seeks to support students, their families and schools with music education opportunities. The NAMM Foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs; more information is available at

In addition, Tocando in Tornillo is supported by The Bernstein Family Foundation, El Sistema Greece, the Bonnie and Peter Reagan Fund and many donors through the Go Fund Me page Bring Music to the Children on the US/MEXICO Border:

Anyone interested in becoming involved with this program should contact the EPSO office at (915) 532-3776 for more information.

Rosemary Flores
El Paso Symphony Orchestra
(915) 532-3776

Disney and Pixar’s Coco Will Come to Life on Stage at the Plaza Theatre with the El Paso Symphony Orchestra

El Paso, TX – To celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the El Paso Symphony Orchestra is giving new life to one of Disney/Pixar’s most beloved films: Coco on Saturday, November 2, 2019, 7:30pm at the Plaza Theatre.

Conductor James Welsch will lead the El Paso Symphony Orchestra performing Michael Giacchino’s beautiful score on the Plaza Theatre stage, while the award-winning film plays on a screen above the orchestra.

The film Coco is set during the Diá de los Muertos, the Mexican holiday of remembrance.  It tells the story of a boy named Miguel and his music-filled journey to the “Land of the Dead” where he meets his ancestors and uncovers a hidden secret about his family.

“We are so thrilled to bring this unique film and event that celebrates the traditions, love for culture and family that our community holds dear!” says Ruth Ellen Jacobson, Executive Director.  “Being able to present it on Dia de los Muertos day, Saturday, November 2, 2019, made perfect sense.”

Tickets are on sale now – Friday, September 13, 2019 at 10am.
Ticket prices are $60, $55, $45 and $25 plus fees. 
Tickets may be purchased at,,

at the Plaza Theatre box office or by calling the EPSO office at (915) 532-3776.


The El Paso Symphony Orchestra is supported in part by the City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department, the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Disney Pixar’s Coco in Concert Live to Film
Saturday, November 2, 2019, 7:30pm Plaza Theatre
with the El Paso Symphony Orchestra
James Welsch, Conductor
Tickets: $60, $55, $45 and $25 plus fees. 
Tickets may be purchased at,, at the Plaza Theatre box office or by calling the EPSO office at (915) 532-3776.

Presentation licensed by Disney and Pixar


Violinist, Yevgeny Kutik, Makes Debut with EPSO

Violinist Yevgeny Kutik
Makes Debut with El Paso Symphony Orchestra
Performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto

El Paso, TX — On Friday, October 18, 2019 and Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 7:30pm, Russian-American violinist Yevgeny Kutik, known for his “dark-hued tone and razor-sharp technique” (The New York Times), makes his debut with El Paso Symphony Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.  Led by Music Director Bohuslav Rattay, the program also features Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 “Leningrad Symphony.” Both performances begin at 7:30pm at The Plaza Theatre.

“Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto is one of the crown jewels in our repertoire for good reason,” says Kutik. “The melding of Russian sound, soul, folk music and virtuosity into one epic work is unparalleled, and I’m thrilled to make my debut with El Paso Symphony Orchestra to perform it.”

This concert will also feature a special collaboration with the Tom Lea Institute to present a unique multimedia experience incorporating Tom Lea’s iconic WWII paintings, sketches and photos of his time as the first embedded artist correspondent for WWII. These elements will be synched with the powerful last movement of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 “Leningrad Symphony.”

Concert ticket prices are $46, $41, $35, $22 and $16 plus fees.  Student tickets for $9 and $12 plus fees are available.  Tickets may be purchase at,

or by calling the EPSO office at (915) 532-3776.

The October 18 & 19 EPSO concerts are generously sponsored by the Helen of Troy.  Yevgeny Kutik is underwritten by Judy & Kirk Robison.

ABOUT THE SOLOIST: Yevgeny Kutik has captivated audiences worldwide with an old-world sound that communicates a modern intellect. Praised for his technical precision and virtuosity, he is also lauded for his poetic and imaginative interpretations of standard works as well as rarely heard and newly composed repertoire. A native of Minsk, Belarus, Yevgeny Kutik immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of five. His 2014 album, Music from the Suitcase: A Collection of Russian Miniatures (Marquis Classics), features music he found in his family’s suitcase after immigrating to the United States from the Soviet Union in 1990, debuting at No. 5 on the Billboard Classical chart. The album garnered critical acclaim and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and in The New York Times.

In 2019, Kutik launched a new commissioning and recording project titled Meditations on Family via Marquis Classics. He commissioned eight composers to translate a personal family photo into a short musical miniature for violin and various ensemble, envisioning the project as a living archive of new works inspired by memories, home, and belonging. Each track was released digitally weekly, and the full EP CD, produced by four-time Grammy winner Jesse Lewis, was released on March 22, 2019. Strings Magazine featured Kutik and Meditations on Family as its cover story for the March/April issue. Kutik’s other recordings include his debut album, Sounds of Defiance (Marquis 2012), and Words Fail (Marquis 2016), both released to critical acclaim.

Yevgeny Kutik made his major orchestral debut in 2003 with Keith Lockhart and The Boston Pops as the First Prize recipient of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition. In 2006, he was awarded the Salon de Virtuosi Grant as well as the Tanglewood Music Center Jules Reiner Violin Prize. Yevgeny Kutik began violin studies with his mother, Alla Zernitskaya, and went on to study with Zinaida Gilels, Shirley Givens, Roman Totenberg, and Donald Weilerstein. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory and currently resides in Boston. Kutik’s violin was crafted in Italy in 1915 by Stefano Scarampella. For more information, please visit

THE TOM LEA INSTITUTE presents a unique multimedia experience incorporating Tom Lea’s iconic World War II paintings, sketches and photos of his time as the first embedded artist correspondent for WWII.  Using state-of-the-art editing techniques, special effects, and animation, Tom Lea’s art will be portrayed as never before. Synched with the powerful last movement of Shostakovich’s Leningrad symphony, viewers travel with Lea over 100,000 miles as an eyewitness to WWII.  Tom Lea provided insight into his approach as an artist correspondent, “I went out to the war as a reporter.  I absolutely was not going to do anything that I didn’t see and know-because I was there to record it, not as I thought it should be or not as an object of art.”  His painting “The Price” hung in the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon for many years, as a reminder of the cost of the decisions made.

For Lea, it all began early in March 1941.  Life’s Dan Longwell, then the magazine’s executive editor, who had been impressed by Lea’s illustrations for J. Frank Dobie’s “The Longhorns,” decided to see what Lea could do for a story the magazine was planning to run on the 1st Cavalry Division. As Lea describes it: “ World War II came riding a horse right up in front of my studio door, dismounted, and put a foreshadowing finger on my easel in the spring of 1941, ten months before Pearl Harbor.  The March winds were blowing through the Pass, howling across the boondocks, rattling sand in grainy blasts against my studio window the day a totally unexpected telegram came from New York.  It was signed by a stranger, with an identifying tagline “Editorial Staff Life Magazine.”  It was a query.  It asked if I would take a commission to make a drawing of a typical cavalry trooper and his mount, to fit a story feature Life was doing with the 1st Cavalry Division stationed at Fort Bliss.”

Tom Lea went on to become the most prolific and published artist correspondent for Life Magazine during WWII.

ARTFUL PRELUDES: Yevgeny Kutik will join EPSO Music Director Bohulav Rattay at the El Paso Museum of Art for a discussion and sampling of the El Paso Symphony October concerts on Thursday, October 17, 12pm.  Artful Preludes is presented in collaboration with the El Paso Museum of Art is free and open to the public.  Attendees are welcomed to tour the museum prior to or after the program.

LEARN MORE:  Join EPSO prior to each performance at Opening Notes, 6:30pm in the Philanthropy Theatre, to get insights on the program, composers and artist.

The El Paso Symphony Orchestra is supported in part by the City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department, the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Artful Preludes: Thursday, October 17, 12pm, El Paso Museum of Art (Free)
Opening Notes:
Friday, October 18 & Saturday, October 19, 2019, 6:30pm Philanthropy Theatre (Free)
“Four Guitars”

Friday, October 18 & Saturday, October 19, 2019 7:30pm Plaza Theatre

El Paso Symphony Orchestra
Bohuslav Rattay, Conductor
Yevgeny Kutik, Violin
Tchaikovsky Concerto for Violin, op. 35 in D major
Shostakovich Symphony No. 7, op. 60 in C major “Leningrad Symphony”

Tickets: $46, $41, $35, $22, $16 and $9 and $12 for students plus applicable fees. Tickets may be purchase at, or by calling the EPSO office at (915) 532-3776.


89 Years and Going Strong!

EPSO celebrates its 89th Anniversary

The longest continuously running symphony in the state of Texas!

 Opens season with The Music of ABBA “Dancing Queen”

 El Paso, Tex - As the oldest performing arts organization in El Paso and the longest continuously running symphony orchestra in Texas, the El Paso Symphony Orchestra (EPSO) has spearheaded cultural activities in El Paso for 89 years. To celebrate this significant milestone, EPSO will open the season dancing to ABBA’s greatest hits at its 89th Anniversary Gala on Friday, August 23, 2019, 6pm at the El Paso Country Club, followed by a concert on Saturday, August 24th at the Plaza Theatre, 8pm, featuring The Music of ABBA performed by the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, full rock band and vocalists.

Tickets for the gala and concert are on sale now at, or call (915) 532-3776. In addition, tickets for the Saturday concert can be purchased at

EPSO’s rich history traces from a performance in December 1893. There were at least eight other attempts to bring symphonic music to El Paso before an orchestra was officially established in 1931. In the initial performance on January 26, 1931, H. Arthur Brown conducted his first concert with the El Paso Symphony at the Scottish Rite Auditorium. Brown remained as conductor until 1951.

Since then, EPSO has been under the baton of six conductors. In 1951, young Italian violinist and conductor Orlando Barera took over the podium for the next 20 seasons. The 41st consecutive season of the El Paso Symphony opened in October 1972 with William Kirschke leading for the next three seasons. On March 24, 1975, the El Paso Symphony Orchestra Association appointed native son Abraham Chavez, Jr. as the new Music Director and Conductor. Gürer Aykal succeeded Maestro Chavez in 1992.  Sarah Ioannides became EPSO’s first female Conductor in 2005. Following a 2-year search, Bohuslav Rattay was named EPSO’s Music Director starting with the 2013-2014 Season.

Since its inception, EPSO has made downtown El Paso its home, performing at the Scottish Rite Auditorium, Liberty Hall, Abraham Chavez Theatre and currently in the historic Plaza Theatre.

Today, EPSO is the largest arts nonprofit in the region, employing over 200 people per performance. It attracts 90,000 annually to its programs, which extend beyond the stage. It has presented and performed with renowned artists Yo-Yo-Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz, Tony Bennett, Juan Gabriel and the Bolshoi Ballet to name a few.

EPSO acknowledges the rich diversity in our community and seeks to include people from every part of our community through varied concerts and events like the annual Pop Goes the Fort concert, with an audience of over 20,000; and sold-out performances of pops concerts with a rock twist, like the “Classical Mystery Tour” and “The Music of Queen.”

With a strong commitment to education and outreach, EPSO reaches over 40,000 children and students in the region every year. The longest-running EPSO education program, the El Paso Electric Young People’s Concerts, entering their 80th year this season, have introduced more than 750,000 5th grade students to live classical music in a fun, energetic and interactive environment. EPSO’s Brass in Class and Strings in Schools programs have been a presence in the classroom for over 40 years.

EPSO’s principal education program, the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras (EPSYOs), is celebrating its 14th anniversary. EPSYOs serves over 300 students annually and is open to all orchestral musicians ages 7 -23. EPSYOs continues to grow and serves its members’ diverse musical interests with programs like the Concerto Competition, the Chamber Music Program and a week-long Summer Camp. Students rehearse on weekends throughout the school year, with four schedule performances. In addition, EPSYO musicians participate in performances at the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, Alamo Drafthouse and with artists such as The Piano Guys and Lindsey Stirling.

The El Paso Symphony Orchestra’s Tocando Music Project is an after-school program that currently provides music learning and performance opportunities to students in elementary through middle school. Students enjoy weekly classes, bi-monthly visits to the El Paso Museum of Art, UTEP Career Days, out-of-town overnight trips to week-long Summer Music Camps, and tickets to each EPSO Classical Concert for themselves and their families.  Students perform concerts at their home schools as well as various venues throughout the community and city including the Plaza and Chavez Theaters.

Tocando Music Project launched in September 2013 at Hart Elementary in downtown El Paso. In 2017, the Feeder School Initiative, Tocando has expanded to Guillen Middle School. Tocando now has students from 3 schools in Bowie High School’s feeder pattern: Hart and Aoy Elementary and Guillen Middle School. Tocando is supported through the PlayUSA initiative of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute and a generous grant from the American Orchestras’ Futures Fund, a program of the League of American Orchestras made possible by funding from the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation.

With a strong belief and commitment from EPSO’s Board of Trustees, conductor, musicians, staff and our community, EPSO will continue to flourish and create beautiful music in our culturally rich city,

The El Paso Symphony Orchestra is supported in part by the City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department, the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.