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A Note from The Executive Director, Lydia Kontos


Dear Friends,

The stage is set for a wonderful new season at Kaufman Music Center! The fall concerts at Merkin Concert Hall have gotten under way, and it has been thrilling to see audiences joyfully connect with artists like Dawn Upshaw, Lucy Shelton, Carol Burnett and Tyne Daly. Our hallways are bustling with musicians of all ages – from Special Music School Kindergarteners to Lucy Moses School students my own age – carrying their instruments to lessons and ensemble rehearsals.

When the Department of Education released the scores for the most recent state math and English tests, we were excited to see Special Music School at the top of the list. The link between music education and academic success is too well established to need much discussion here. Our students are well prepared for success in many areas, and the music training they receive will give them an advantage throughout their lives. The important point here is that music is so much more than just a supplementary “extra” valued because it boosts SAT scores and enhances performance in the “real” subjects. Music is everywhere. It is an integral part of our lives, and I am proud that every day, Kaufman Music Center gives so many students and audience members the valuable opportunity to put music front and center.

Music is a vital form of self-expression that should be accessible to everyone. Recently, an 81-year old oboist who plays weekly with a Lucy Moses School chamber group described the “gorgeous and spine-tingling” feeling she shares with the other members of her ensemble while they play. A 12-year-old composer, who has had unprecedented opportunities to have his work performed because of Kaufman Music Center’s work, describes his Sundays in our classrooms as the highlight of his week. Perhaps this nine-year-old student expresses it best: “Playing the flute has taught me that when I close my eyes and begin to play, I can be magical.” 

This is the kind of magic that we strive to bring to everyone – from public school children in low-income areas, to our enormously creative teen musicians, to adults inspired to return to an old musical passion or start something new.

This fall, come see for yourself. Read on to get a taste of what’s going on at Merkin Concert Hall; Face the Music’s new season; and what our students and faculty have been up to. See a concert, take a class – connect with music!


Lydia Kontos
Executive Director
Kaufman Music Center