The Street Philharmonic

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The Street Philharmonic: A professional and unique ensemble of street musicians

Tel Aviv, IsraelIsrael
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The project brings together a group of street musicians into a unique and professional musical ensemble which perform in various events (business and private). This enable these musicians, many of whom faced challenges as new comers in Israel, to get proper and stable pay for their work and art.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if talented street musicians, who most of the time have to play in the street since they are facing social and professional challenges could integrate in the community and earn stable and proper pay from what they know to do best - their art!
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

When we walk through the streets there is a sound track played by talented street musicians. Many of them play in the street in order to earn some money and make a living. In Israel, most of them are older musicians which immigrant to Israel from Russia and Ukraine and have not integrated in the Israeli society and let alone in the music industry. Playing in the street doesn't give them a stable and proper pay and most of them suffer from poverty

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Most of the time, we try to integrate unemployed people in fields that doesn't necessarily fit them and that are not their 'strong side'. Our solution tries to do the opposite - to take their talent and their passion and transform it into a stable job for them. Bringing them together and make them a professional and unique band, with a lot of investment and hard work seems like the perfect solution. This way, they get to make music, go again on the stage (like they did in their origin countries) and earn money from it. After 3 years we have 8 street musicians in our band (with 6 young musicians) and happy to say that this solution indeed works. Up to date, we sold 120 shows to various clients and the project is profitable.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Meet Alexai Sova. He is a violinist & composer from Russia. At the age of five he went for the first time to a concert of classical music. That's when it clicked, knew he was a musician. When he came to Israel he didn't have money so he decided to keep doing what he loves and good at and started playing in the street. In the beginning, when we approached him in the street he didn't want to talk with us and told us that we interrupt him. After a while he started to come to rehearsals and became one of our leading musicians in the band and takes part in many shows. Today he is leading our new sub project - the 'Electronic philharmonic' and take an active part in the project and of course gets a salary for his music.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Today the band has 8 street musicians who plays together with 6 young musicians (most of them are natives in Israel). Since the beginning of the project, we sold 120 shows of the bans, in various ensembles (from 3-12 players). The shows were purchased by diverse clients - municipalities, commercial companies, social organizations and private people. The impact has 3 main components: (1) Enabling the street musicians to earn stable salary out of their art and getting back their confidence by going back to the stage (2) Creating an interaction between the street musicians (which are mostly older people originally from Russia) and the young native musicians (3) Exposing the public, who take part in their shows to the musicians and to the social issue. We are focusing on selling more shows in order to bring more street musicians to the project and influence more people.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Moving forward, we have 4 main strategies: (1) Focusing on marketing efforts in order to increase the number of shows. (2) Turning to new target audience by the new sub project - the 'Electronic philharmonic'. (3) Locating additional talented street musicians for the project. (4) Replicating the project in new places - inside and outside of Israel. The project is relevant to every city which has street musicians in its streets. In light of the success of the project in its current stage, we believe that it can be a great success in additional cities in the world as well.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The main advantage of the financial of the project is that there are almost no fixed expenses. We pay the musicians only if there is a show, which create relatively low risk. The revenues from the shows are invested in rehearsals every few months, marketing of the project in order to sell more shows. We would like to use the budget in order to recruit a manager specifically for this project who will work with the musicians and with the clients.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In Israel, there are agents that sometimes approach the street musicians and try to sell their shows. However, up to date, we haven't heard about a professional band like this that is based on street musicians and work in the framework of an organized project with a professional music producer. There are other bands that people can invite to their events. However, our advantage is that in addition to great music and a professional show, people know that their money has also a social impact on the street musicians which are most of the time are unemployed.

Founding Story

This project is one of the projects of ZE.ZE organization. Two of the founders were born and raised in Tel Aviv and had a dream since they were children to make a professional band with the street musician. Therefore, this was the first project of the organization. They were a group of friends, a good idea and they built a business model according to which they will pay the musicians salary right from the first rehearsal and after few months of working with the music producer, they will have a big show for 1,000 people and will cover the expenses from selling the tickets. That's exactly what happened, and this show received a great amount of media coverage and since then we are selling shows


Our organization has a small and great team that receives salary: I serve as the CEO of ZE.ZE in full time job. Ariel works as the marketing and sales man of ZE.ZE in part time job and is responsible, inter alia, on marketing and selling the shows of this project. Orel works as the manager of ZOT.ZOT (a social printing and design studio), another project of ZE.ZE In addition to this team, and in the basis of our organization is our amazing community. People in our community (today we have 40 young people) take part and volunteer in the projects in accordance to their personal passions and professions. According to our model, each one of our community members can receive a platform to promote himself in his profession and passion and contribute to the society simultaneously. Part of this community is the four founders of ZE.ZE (who get no salary). We work with freelancers on specific projects of the organization and of course in the 'street philharmonic' project. The organization also has a friends association which built from 12 leading figures in Israel from diverse fields. As the project grows, I would like to employ a project's manager who will focus and lead this project and will be responsible on the strategic plan and the growing of the project. This manager will work together with me and with the marketing person of the organization in order to expand the project and its impact.
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