Feeling Time

Gustavo Borchert - Drummer, Percussionist, Teacher, Researcher

“Musical duration is an image of what might be termed “lived” or “experienced” time—the passage of life that we feel as expectations become ‘now,’ and ‘now’ turns into unalterable fact.”
— Susanne Langer

“Te estaba diciendo que cuando empecé a tocar de chico me di cuenta de que el tiempo cambiaba. (…) Pero no, yo no me abstraigo cuando toco. Solamente que cambio de lugar. (…) Si quieres saber lo que realmente siento, yo creo que la música me metía en el tiempo. Pero entonces hay que creer que este tiempo no tiene nada que ver con…”
— Johnny in El Perseguidor by Julio Cortázar

About Me

I am a professional drummer and percussionist originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I have performed in many types of ensembles, from symphony orchestras to jazz combos. I have also accompanied singers, choirs, operettas, ballets as well as several theater plays.

My academic research focuses on the questions of social inclusion through music, on the symphony orchestra and its contemporary social functions – as tool for social inclusion and as a management model for the post-Fordist corporation, and on the political dimension of time during musical performance.  

I earned a BFA in Music from The New School, School of Jazz & Contemporary Music, an MA in Psychology from the Universidade Federal Fluminense, and an MA in Music from the University of Glasgow.

I have had much classical and jazz training, but I am also interested in many other genres and would be happy to collaborate on various types of creative projects.


Below is a brief summary of my academic and professional achievements. Please see my CV for a more complete list of my professional activities.

Doctoral Studies – Department of Philosophy, University of Évora, Portugal, 2017;
Department of History, University of Turku, Finland, 2013-2014

Master of Music – Univesrity of Glasgow, 2013. Thesis: Sistema Scotland: A Critical Inquiry into the Implementation of the El Sistema Model in Raploch.

Master of Psychology – Studies in Subjectivity Program – Subjectivity, Politics, and Social Exclusion, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Rio de Janeiro, 2009. Thesis: A Orquestra Sinfônica: Uma Nova Economia da Experiência Estética. Uma subjetividade do modernismo no contemporâneo.

Bachelor of Fine Arts – Jazz & Contemporary Music Program, The New School,
New York, NY, 2000.


Borchert, G. (2016) Review of Between Nostalgia and Apocalypse: Popular Music and the Staging of Brazil by Daniel B. Sharp. Popular Music [Online], 35 (2) May, pp.278-280. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0261143016000131

Borchert, G. (2015) Brazilian Jive: From Samba to Bossa and Rap by David Treece reviewed in Popular Music [Internet], 34 (3) October, pp. 509-511. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0261143015000471

Borchert, G. (2012) El Sistema: A Subjectivity of Time. In Araújo, E. and Duque, E. eds. Os tempos sociais e o mundo contemporâneo. Um debate para as ciências sociais e humanas (e-book). Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal, pp. 59-80. Available at: http://www.lasics.uminho.pt/ojs/index.php/cecs_ebooks/issue/view/119

Borchert, G. (2012) Sistema Scotland: A Critical Inquiry into the Implementation of the El Sistema Model in Raploch. Master Thesis, University of Glasgow. Available at: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/4044/

Borchert, G. (2009) A Orquestra Sinfônica: Uma Nova Economia da Experiência Estética. Uma subjetividade do modernismo no contemporâneo. Master thesis, Universidade Federal Fluminense. Available at: http://slab.uff.br/wp-content/uploads/sites/101/2021/05/2009_d_GustavoBorchert.pdf

Work Cited

Baker, G. (2014) El Sistema: Orchestrating Venezuelan Youth. New York: Oxford University Press. University of Glasgow master’s thesis cited.

Creech, A. et al. (2013) El Sistema and Sistema-Inspired Programmes. A Literature Review of research, evaluation, and critical debates. San Diego, CA: Global Sistema. University of Glasgow master’s thesis cited.

El Sistema. Wikipedie: Otevřená encyklopedie [Internet]. Available at: https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Sistema. University of Glasgow master’s thesis cited.

Logan, O. (2015) Doing Well in the Eyes of Capital: Cultural Transformation from Venezuela to Scotland. In McNeish, J.A. , Borchgrevink, A. & Logan, O. eds. Contested Powers: The Politics of Energy and Development in Latin America. London: Zed Books. University of Glasgow master’s thesis cited.

Silberman, L. (2013) Globalizing El Sistema. Exploring the growth and development of El Sistema inspired programs around the world. Master’s thesis, University of Oregon. University of Glasgow master’s thesis cited.

Other Publications

Borchert, G. (2013) Brazil’s Unrest: Social Contentions in an Emerging Economy. GazetaE.com [Internet]. Gazeta Limited (Oct 17).

Borchert, G. (2007) A institucionalização da tortura no mundo globalizado. Jornal do Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais/RJ, 22 (62) Setembro, p.12. pdf (in Portuguese)

Academic Conferences

Borchert, G. (2015) The Symphony Orchestra as a Social Model under post-Fordism. Paper presented at El Sistema and the Alternatives: Social Action through Music in Critical Perspective, University of London (April).

Borchert, G. (2013) Social Discipline through Instrumental Music Education? A Critique of the El Sistema Pedagogical Model. Paper presented at III Symposium on the Paradigms of Teaching Musical Instruments in the 21st Century, Department of Music, Universidade de Évora, Portugal (December)

Borchert, G. (2012) El Sistema: A Subjectivity of Time. Paper presented at the seminar Social Times and the Contemporary World, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal (July).

Borchert, G. (2010) A Orquestra Sinfônica: Uma Nova Economia da Experiência Estética. Uma subjetividade do modernismo no contemporâneo. Paper presented at the VI Coloquio Internacional de Musicologia of the Premio de Musicología, Casa de las Américas, Havana, Cuba (November).

Other Events and Conferences

Direitos Humanos – releituras e desafios. (2007) Human Rights Colloquium, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) (December 11). Represented Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais (Torture Never More) in the discussion panel, Direito à verdade e à memória. Memória e Verdade: hoje (The Right to Truth and Memory. Memory and Truth: Today).

Festival of Rio 2007 – Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival. (2007) Human rights debate following viewing of Taxi to the Dark Side, dir. Alex Gibney (October 3). Represented Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais; other participants included the film’s editor, Sloane Klevin; João Tancredo, ex-President of the Human Rights Commission of OAB (Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil); and Anderson Bussiger Carvalho, syndicate lawyer and effective counsel of OAB-RJ.