New York Philharmonic & The Harmony Program Collaborate With All Stars To Benefit Underserved NYC Students

New York Philharmonic & The Harmony Program Collaborate With All Stars To Benefit Underserved NYC Students

The New York Philharmonic and Harmony Program - a nonprofit organization that provides free instruments and daily classical music instruction to children in economically challenged communities across New York City - are collaborating for the fourth year in the annual Harmony Program All Stars Initiative. Eighteen All Stars - New York City elementary, middle, and high school students from low-income neighborhoods - were selected by audition for a year-long mentorship with New York Philharmonic musicians.

The program will culminate with a free public concert performed by the All Stars and their Philharmonic mentors, Wednesday, May 30, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. Conducted by Philharmonic Assistant Conductor Joshua Gersen, the program will feature selections from Michael Mikulka's 10 Two-Page Duets for Trumpet and Tuba; Telemann's Concerto for Four Violins No. 2; Allegro from J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5; Richard Meyer's A Fiddler's Fancy; and "Somewhere" from Bernstein's West Side Story. The Philharmonic musicians are violinists Hae-Young Ham and Kuan Cheng Lu, violist Peter Kenote, Assistant Principal Bass Blake Hinson, and bass trombonist George Curran.

The 2018 Harmony Program All Stars Ensemble consists of four high school students and fourteen elementary and middle school students from Washington Heights, Chinatown, Harlem, Brooklyn, and Copiague, Long Island. The students attend 12 different schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Long Island, and have been studying through the Harmony Program for between two and ten years. The All Stars range between 9 and 17 years old and play violin, viola, cello, bass, and trumpet. Eleven have been All Stars in past years.

Of all 300 current Harmony Program students, those who were interested required an initial recommendation from their Harmony Program instructors to audition. A first round of auditions was held in October 2017; students who passed proceeded to a final audition in November in front of a panel of New York Philharmonic musicians.

The Philharmonic and the Harmony Program have been formally partnering since 2013, and launched the All Stars Initiative in 2015. The All Stars Initiative is designed to provide a more personal and in-depth collaboration between Philharmonic musicians and a much smaller group of the Harmony Program's more serious students. The Harmony Program is a partner in Philharmonic Academy Jr., a New York Philharmonic initiative involving training of pre-college students by Philharmonic musicians and Teaching Artists in partnership with institutions in New York committed to strong orchestra programs.

The New York Philharmonic's partnership with the Harmony Program is one of two under Philharmonic Academy Jr.; the other is with Hoff-Barthelson Music School in Scarsdale, New York. Philharmonic Academy Jr. provides training for pre-college students by Philharmonic musicians in partnership with institutions in the New York City area committed to strong orchestra programs. The Philharmonic's wide range of education programs also includes the historic Young People's Concerts; Very Young People's Concerts; Young People's Concerts for Schools; Philharmonic Schools, the immersive classroom program spearheaded by the Philharmonic's Teaching Artists; Very Young Composers, which enables students to express themselves through original works, often performed by Philharmonic musicians; and Insights at the Atrium, free discussions delving into the themes of the season. The New York Philharmonic reaches more than 45,000 children and adults in live educational encounters each year, with millions participating online.

The Harmony Program is a nonprofit organization that brings intensive after-school music programs to communities with limited access to instrumental music education. The organization was founded in 2003 as a pilot program of the New York City Mayor's Office to respond to the scarcity of band and orchestral education available to New York City school children, particularly African-American and Latino children living in historically low-income neighborhoods. In 2007, Harmony Program Founder Anne Fitzgibbon traveled to Venezuela on a Fulbright fellowship to study the country's youth orchestra movement known as "El Sistema." She returned to New York in 2008 and aligned the Harmony Program with El Sistema's core principles: learning through orchestral playing and ensuring a commitment to intensive study. Today, the Harmony Program provides 300 children with free instruments and up to 500 hours of music instruction each year through 12 sites in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Long Island.

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