July 13, 2023
On June 27, Kaufman Music Center welcomed an enthusiastic group of musicians, educators and arts administrators from 19 countries to Merkin Hall, where they enjoyed a concert by Special Music School students and learned about Kaufman's programs at a panel discussion and Q&A with Executive Director Kate Sheeran, Lucy Moses School Director and Special Music School Music Director Igal Kesselman, faculty member Lynelle Smith, Special Music School student Sophia Shao, Special Music School K-8 Dean of Music Kate White and faculty member Ian Tyson.
Organized by the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, the guests included producers, directors and composers from Nicaragua, Hungary, Mauritius Taiwan and Mozambique along with vocalists from Algeria, Haiti and Japan, a Eurovision Song Contest winner from Azerbaijan, and more.
Kaufman's Igal Kesselman says, “This visit was a phenomenal opportunity to meet arts leaders from all over the world and compare notes. We’re honored that the U.S. Department of State chose to showcase Kaufman Music Center as an example of innovative programs that are increasing access to music education and making a real difference in the music field.”
The International Visitor Leadership Program is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. Through short-term visits to the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience this country firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts. The event’s organizer, Senior Program Specialist Dina Suggs, explained that she wanted give her international guests the opportunity to see firsthand how Kaufman Music Center fits together multiple music performance and education programs into a an integrated whole that provides opportunities for students and audiences of all backgrounds.
Special Music School pianist and first grader Alexander Zhou performs for the visitors.
Special Music School High School student Sophia Shao signs copies of Who Is Florence Price?, the bestselling children’s book her class wrote and illustrated.