Co-Founder & Executive Director
Bassoon Teaching Artist
Sistema Fellows ’10
Born in Ottawa, Canada, bassoonist Dantes Rameau is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Atlanta Music Project. Founded in 2010, the Atlanta Music Project provides intense music education to underserved youth right in their neighborhood.
As Executive Director of the Atlanta Music Project, Dantes has raised over one million dollars for the organization and has grown programming to 120 students, 15 teaching artists and three sites. The Atlanta Music Project’s youth orchestras and choirs perform over 25 concerts each year at venues such as the Woodruff Arts Center, Spivey Hall and Atlanta City Hall. The Atlanta Music Project’s 2014-2015 concert season will celebrate its five-year anniversary. By 2017 the Atlanta Music Project will be serving over 300 students.
Dantes holds a Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance from McGill University and a Master of Music in Bassoon Performance from the Yale University School of Music. He also completed a Performance Certificate at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2010 he graduated from the Sistema Fellows Program at the New England Conservatory, where he studied non-profit management and music education. He is a graduate of the 2012 class of LEAD Atlanta, a leadership development program for Atlanta’s outstanding young professionals.
Dantes has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the Woodruff Arts Center. He has performed with the Aspen Chamber Symphony, Charleston Symphony and Wallingford Symphony. A passionate teacher, his teaching credits include El Sistema in Venezuela, the Yale School of Music’s Music in Schools program, and the Atlanta Music Project. In addition Dantes has lectured at the New England Conservatory, Mercer University and the University of Manitoba.
A unique and compelling voice for social change through the arts, in 2010 Dantes was one of 25 groundbreaking creatives to be awarded $25,000 from AOL Artists’ 25For25 grant program. He was selected to Ebony Magazine’s 2013 Power 100, a list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans. He is also the recipient of the McGill University Alumni Association’s 2014 James G. Wright award, presented to young alumni who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to service and made a difference in the community.
Dantes has spoken at conferences and symposiums, including TEDxPeachtree, Digital Atlanta, Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta and the Yale School of Music Symposium on Music Education. He speaks about topics ranging from music education and non-profit management, to fundraising and community development through the arts.
Dantes is also Founder of Empowered Artists Consulting, a Canada-based consulting firm that provides artists and arts organizations with strategies for social good. His clients have included the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Share the Warmth, a Montreal-based youth and community center.
Co-Founder & Director of AMPlify
Sistema Fellows ’12
Aisha Bowden is the Co-Founder and Director of AMPlify, the Choral Program of the Atlanta Music Project. In this role, she overseas all AMPlify operations and directs the AMPlify Choir. In addition she holds strategic and administrative responsibilities for the AMP.
Aisha completed the Sistema Fellows program in 2012, a prestigious, post-graduate fellowship of New England Conservatory that trains gifted musicians and educators to lead El Sistema-inspired programs in the United States.
Prior to the fellowship, Aisha enjoyed a career as an award-winning public school music educator for eleven years. As Chair of the Music Department at Thomson Elementary School in Washington, DC , Ms. Bowden provided General and Vocal Music Instruction to the full student body, directed the Thomson Choir and managed several partnerships with leading arts organizations, to include the Washington National Opera and The Choral Arts Society of Washington, DC.
Her performance background, which includes travel to Switzerland, Germany and Gabon, Africa, inspired Ms. Bowden to organize frequent performance opportunities for her students, designed to broaden their exposure to and understanding of the world around them. Under her direction, the Thomson Choir performed for the King and Queen of Norway, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and the Bicentennial Celebration of Abraham Lincoln at which President Obama was the keynote speaker. The Thomson choir has appeared on CNN, C-SPAN and Good Morning America as well as local television networks. During her tenure in the DC Public School system, Ms. Bowden also served as accompanist for the All-City Honors Chorus and a General Music Curriculum Writer for the DCPS Division of Music. Additionally, Ms. Bowden has been recognized for excellence in arts education by the Arts for Every Student Program, Who’s Who in American Educators and the Mayors Arts Awards. She is also featured in the April 2012 issue of Teaching Music, a publication of the National Association for Music Education.
After relocating from Washington,DC to Georgia in 2009, Ms. Bowden conducted middle school choirs with Cobb County Public Schools and worked as a Choral Teaching Artist for the pilot year of the Atlanta Music Project (AMP). That experience with AMP influenced her decision to enroll in the 2011-2012 Sistema Fellows Program and subsequently create the first Sistema-inspired choral program in Georgia. Aisha brings expertise in choral directing, public school education, community programming and non-profit management.
LEAD WIND TEACHING ARTIST, AMP ACADEMY COORDINATOR
Averil Taylor holds a Bachelors degree in music (trumpet) from Clark Atlanta University and a Masters in music (jazz studies) from Georgia State University. He has had the opportunity to study trumpet with Mr. John Head, principal trumpeter for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for over thirty years. Averil’s experience with the Clark Atlanta University Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Professor James H. Patterson gave him the chance to interact and perform with many jazz legends. Averil has performed abroad in Toronto, Holland, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland.
As a former middle school band director, Averil had the chance to apply the perspective that he gained in college to teaching young people how to play marching, concert, and jazz music. The music program at Tucker Middle School was at one point during his employment the largest in DeKalb County. Averil was also instrumental in developing relationships between Tucker Middle School, Clark Atlanta University, and Georgia State University. These relationships remain intact and give students familiarity with collegiate instruction. Averil also started a new 6th grade band program at the Tucker Middle School South Annex.
Averil remains active in the Atlanta music scene performing a wide variety of music. In addition to teaching at Clark Atlanta University, Averil maintains a studio of young musicians and coaches students auditioning for various competitions and scholarships. Averil is passionate about teaching music because he appreciates the great experiences that music has brought to his life and wishes to help others experience this as well. Averil also believes that the discipline required to be successful on any instrument is the same discipline required to be successful in life.