Tribute to music master

16:00, Feb 24 2014
JOe Harrop
HIGH HONOUR: Sistema Aotearoa director Dr Joe Harrop pictured conducting his Otara orchestra in a workshop with the NZ String Quartet.

A musical mentor working to inspire the next generation of South Aucklanders has been honoured.

Sistema Aotearoa director Dr Joe Harrop has been elected an associate of Royal Academy of Music in London.

He was nominated for the prestigious award for his work with the Otara youth orchestra programme.

The scheme, set up in 2011, exposes Otara primary schoolchildren to music and is based on the Venezuelan El Sistema model.

"To have our programme recognised by a musical establishment of such high calibre is a great achievement," Dr Harrop says.

"It's affirmation of Sistema's value in a musical world." Dr Harrop studied for his masters of music and his PhD in performance practice at the royal academy.

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"My time at the academy underlines everything I do and how I teach the children," he says.

El Sistema is a network of children's and youth orchestras, music centres and workshops in Venezuela.

Sistema Aotearoa was the first programme of its kind in New Zealand.

It is flourishing with support from parents, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, donations and funding from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.

Manukau Courier