Kaufman Music Center

Special Music School High School

The opening of Special Music School High School is "a milestone in a growing national movement to re-evaluate how classical music is taught, and to what end."  - The Wall Street Journal

"Special Music School is moving music education into the 21st century with its high school expansion. How amazing for our society that at this high school students will develop their artistic voices through composition, improvisation and performance and be encouraged and challenged during such a pivotal time in their lives. The young musicians fortunate enough to attend Special Music School High School will become uniquely prepared to be our musicians of the future. This is truly news worth celebrating.”  
                                                                                                       - David Harrington, the Kronos Quartet

Applications are available here.

Read about the new high school in The Wall Street Journal.

In the fall of 2013, Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School (P.S. 859) expanded into the high school grades at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Complex on New York City’s Upper West Side, with a music curriculum that emphasizes the development of the student as a musician for the 21st century. With the establishment of the high school extension, Special Music School (SMS) is the city’s only K-12 school that teaches music as a core subject.

The school is unique even among New York’s highly regarded arts high schools in providing talented young musicians the opportunity to pursue serious, pre-professional music studies along with a rigorous academic curriculum. Open to SMS eighth grade graduates as well as students from all five boroughs of New York City, the high school admits 50 students per grade beginning with ninth grade in 2013-14 school year. View the curriculum: academics, music and graduation requirements.

“Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School High School will build on the success of the K-8 program and enhance the Center’s ability to provide an unparalleled music education for the next generation of musical leaders,” says Lydia Kontos, Kaufman Music Center’s Executive Director. “The high school also fills a need for a program that educates musicians for a new paradigm for careers in music.”

“The new high school will update the traditional model of classical music education in order to prepare students for the multifaceted and diverse opportunities available to today’s musicians,” says Jenny Undercofler, Special Music School Music Director. “At a time of rapid change in the professional music world, we are committed to putting our students on a professional music path that will answer the demands of 21st century music.”

In addition to helping students build extremely strong core skills as music makers, Special Music School High School prepares them to improvise and compose as well as perform, understand music technology and collaborate with other musicians both in small and large groups while providing meaningful experience working with living composers.

How to apply
Eighth graders from all five boroughs of New York City are eligible to apply for admission. The application process includes an interview for all applicants. Vocalists and instrumentalists, including pianists, harpists and guitarists, will audition on their instrument/voice. Composers are required to submit a written or audio version of their work.

For application information, please call 212 501 3395 or email SMSHighSchool@kaufman-center.org.

Special Music School

Tel: 212 501 3318
Tel: 212 501 3390

Tel: 212 501 3395

New York's Creative Home for Listeners, Learners and Performers

KAUFMAN MUSIC CENTER • Goodman House • 129 West 67th Street • New York, NY 10023 • (212) 501-3330