More about the CMO and el Sistema


Beyond discovering the joy and discipline of developing musical expertise, CMO students are immersed in an enriching and creative learning environment, and a safe space in which to develop trust, confidence, and friendships.

Ultimately, CMO not only builds a community of creative musicians, it improves the lives of all its young students by helping them to develop the skills needed for academic, social and professional success.

The el sistema program approach has been rigorously evaluated and studied (44 evaluations in 19 countries), showing positive outcomes, including:

  • increased class attendance
  • decreased school drop-out rates
  • increased community participation
  • increased sense of belonging and increased social capital
  • decreased behaviour problems at school.



CMO Music Director José Duque

José Duque a graduate of the Venezuelan el Sistema orchestra program, an accomplished musician and conductor, and the founder of CMO (2008). In 2012, he found operational support from IAACC, and under his continued leadership and IAACC’s support, the orchestra has grown and flourished.

Based in Calgary’s diverse east side, CMO rehearses at Sir Wilfrid Laurier School, and is open to all children between 6-17 years old. There are 67 students in the program currently.  Rehearsals run during after school hours Monday-Friday, from September-June.

CMO performs (by donation) in seniors’ homes, public libraries, and other community events throughout the city. Please contact us if you are interested in booking the orchestra.

The CMO has been supported by the City of Calgary Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), Calgary After School and the Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth (CBFY), and is supported by many other donors.