• Harmony Program 2018 Essay Contest

    April 11, 2018

    In honor of Harmony Program’s 10th Anniversary, we invited all of our elementary and middle school students to participate in an essay contest. One overall grand prize winner and two 2nd prize winners — in the elementary and middle school categories — were selected from among the 24 essays submitted by a panel of Harmony Program Board members.

    Here at the Harmony Program, we believe that all children should have access to music education. We tell the stories of how our students grow through music — socially, developmentally, and academically — and it was a powerful testament to hear our students tell their stories in their own words. We were delighted to read all of the thoughtful responses, where students expressed what the world would look like if everyone had access to Harmony Program, and how participating in the program has helped them overcome challenges.

    Violinist Joe Mendoza from Castle Bridge School said that “the Harmony Program would be able to teach all the kids in the world that anything is possible if you try.”

    Second-prize winner Jhazlyn Troncoso-Hiraldo, a violinist at Castle Bridge School, had this to say:

    “For the past five years, I have been bullied for being myself. Harmony has pushed me in ways I didn’t think were possible. Not only has my music skills gotten better but everyone including Ms. Gizem accepts me for who I am. I didn’t have to change who I was because they showed me the true meaning of respect, love and friendship.”

    Other participants expressed that being at Harmony Program has taught them useful skills that they can apply outside of school. Bass student Ryan Hau, who attends Harmony Program Youth Orchestra, expressed that “during orchestra [Harmony teachers] Ms.Kelly and Mr. Larry tell us to always listen to everyone before we play. When we communicate better, we should listen with our hearts.” Ryan feels that he is now a better listener at home when communicating with his family.

    We are grateful to our students for expressing themselves so honestly and openly in their essays. We also want to express our gratitude to our teachers and all of our community supporters.

    “The world would be an amazing place if every child had a chance to participate in the Harmony Program. Kids would be more creative, kind, intelligent, and peaceful by discovering what they love and putting their hearts into it. We can
    work together to help the world. Even if we don’t see it with our bare eyes, we can feel it in our hearts,” wrote 1st Prize Winner, Victoria Wheby.

    Together, we are building a better future.

  • The Harmony Program Celebrates 10 Years of Providing Under-Served Students with Access and Excellence in Music Education

    March 27, 2018

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 27, 2018 – This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Harmony Program, an organization that brings free instrumental music education into under-served communities across New York City and Long Island. Over the past ten years, the Harmony Program has provided over 1,000 children with free instruments and over 350,000 hours of music Instruction.

    The Harmony Program was created in 2003 by Anne Fitzgibbon as a pilot program within the New York City Mayor’s Office. Anne was later awarded a yearlong Fulbright Fellowship in 2007 to study El Sistema, Venezuela’s world-renowned national youth orchestra program, and adapted tenets of that successful model to the meet the needs of children and families in New York.

    In 2008, the Harmony Program established an institutional partnership with the City University of New York (CUNY), and distinguished its model of music education with an emphasis on community-based programming, uniquely intensive instruction, ensemble performance, and a formal system of teacher training. Targeting children between eight and 13 years of age (grades 3rd through 8th), the Harmony Program prioritizes reaching children in need; an estimated 84 percent of students qualify for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program. 72% of Harmony students are African-American and Latino, populations historically under-represented in the classical music genre. “The Harmony Program is proud of our decade of service and of our growing community of remarkable young musicians. Their accomplishments are a testament to what can be achieved when we simply provide children with opportunities and set high expectations,” said Anne Fitzgibbon, founder and Executive Director of the Harmony Program. “Our efforts, in addition to a growing body of research, continue to remind us that music can change lives in powerfully positive ways. We are so grateful to our many sponsors and partners who have helped us expand access to music education in New York.”

    The Harmony Program’s unique model also addresses the need for well-trained music teachers by preparing accomplished musicians to teach at partnering public schools and community centers throughout New York City and on Long Island. The Harmony Program’s teachers receive year-round professional development and mentoring to ensure the quality of instruction in Harmony’s classrooms.

    In celebration of their 10th year, the Harmony Program will host their 10th anniversary gala and benefit concert on April 25th. The concert will be a celebration of the dedication and achievements of Harmony Program students as they play alongside Grammy-award winning violinist Joshua Bell, Grammy-award nominated producer and cuatrista Jorge Glem, New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill, string trio Time for Three, and soprano Larisa Martínez, to name just a few.

    The Harmony Program currently operates 12 sites in New York City and Long Island. During 2019, they have plans for significant expansion to 20 sites and a network of youth orchestras, serving 500 students from all five boroughs.

    About the Harmony Program

    The Harmony Program is a non-profit organization that provides children from under-served communities with free instruments, intensive music instruction, orchestral training and access to a variety of cultural experiences in an effort to promote self-confidence, creativity, social development and academic success.

    The Harmony Program’s unique model also addresses a shortage of well-trained music teachers by preparing accomplished musicians to teach at partnering public schools and community centers throughout New York City and on Long Island. Each year, the Harmony Program provides up to 150,000 hours of music instruction. The Harmony Program plans significant expansion next year to 20 after-school programs and youth orchestras city-wide serving an estimated 500 students from all five boroughs.

  • Harmony Program Joins Gustavo Dudamel in Mexico City!

    March 20, 2018

    Earlier this month, Harmony Program students, Angelo Chery, Luigi Auquilla, Christele Cherestal, Thanddnes Palmer, and Justin Laurenceau, were invited to take part in the international “Encounters/Encuentros” festival with Gustavo Dudamel in Mexico City. Mexico’s Sistema Nacional de Fomento Musical and Mexican composer, Arturo Márquez, partnered with the Gustavo Dudamel Foundation to host a four-day orchestra workshop for 160 young musicians from Canada, the United States, Mexico, Venezuela, and Argentina. Students participated in three full days of rehearsals in preparation for the final concert at the Palacio de Bellas Artes on Sunday, March 4th. The festival was a thrilling experience for our students, both culturally and artistically, and we are grateful to Gustavo Dudamel, his foundation, and to all of our hosts in Mexico for this special opportunity.

  • Harmony Students to Attend Interlochen Arts Camp

    March 16, 2018

    This summer, the Harmony Program will be sending five students to the Interlochen Arts Camp, a prestigious multi-week music camp serving advanced student musicians from across the country. Our Harmony students, who qualified for this opportunity through a competitive audition process, will receive full scholarships thanks to the generous support of the Pinkerton Foundation.

    We congratulate Harmony students, Ashley Allen (violin), William Chen (violin), Matthias Encarnacion (viola), Izabella Pozo (viola), Victoria Wheby (violin).

  • Junior Board Fundraiser at The Red Lion

    February 10, 2018


    On Wednesday, February 7th, the Harmony Program Junior Board hosted a fundraising event at the Red Lion, celebrating Harmony’s 10th Anniversary. Harmony violin students, Maya Grate, Addison Rosenbaum, Simeon Drame and Desiree Dadie, took the stage and perform for a packed house of appreciative guests. The Harmony Program thanks Elise Schmidt, President of our Junior Board, our Junior Board members, and all who attended this successful evening in support of our young musicians. For more photos from the event, please visit our Facebook page.

  • Harmony Program Welcomes New Board Member

    January 15, 2018

    We are proud to welcome Mr. Evan Gogel as our newest member of the Harmony Program Board of Directors. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School, Mr. Gogel is the Manager of Seed Solutions at McKinsey & Company, where he oversees a portfolio of high-growth proprietary software and advanced analytics assets for the firm’s New Ventures group. Mr. Gogel is also a classically trained pianist and a proud alumnus of two Yale a cappella groups, the Whiffenpoofs and the Baker’s Dozen. Today, he plays piano and sings with Young Me and the Moons, an 80’s cover band he founded in 2014.

  • Help Harmony Hit a High Note on Giving Tuesday!

    November 15, 2017

    Want to change lives through music?

    Next Tuesday is your chance! Give during NY Gives Day and #GivingTuesday on November 28th and join Harmony supporters in a nation-wide day of giving. Everyone can be a philanthropoist – a $25 donation will make an incredible difference in the lives of our students!

    What: New York Gives Day and #GivingTuesday
    When: Tuesday, November 28
    Where: Online at http://www.nygivesday.org/organizations/harmony-program
    How: Like Harmony Program on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @HarmonyProgram, and find us on Instagram. Use the hashtags #harmonyturns10, #GivingTuesday and #NYgivesday to help spread the word!

    Tell your friends. Forward this email. Share it on social media. Help us get the word out about Harmony Program and #GivingTuesday. Visit our page and watch the giving grow!

    Mark your calendar for Tuesday, November 28!