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Kaufman Music Center Executive Director Lydia Kontos Receives National Guild Award


Kaufman Music Center Executive Director Lydia Kontos Receives 2015 National Guild Milestone Certificate of Appreciation

Certificate honors long-standing commitment to ensuring equitable access to quality arts education

Kaufman Music Center’s Executive Director Lydia Kontos will be honored with the 2015 National Guild Milestone Certificate of Appreciation for her long-standing, exceptional service to provide quality arts education. The goal of the Milestone program—now in its fourth year—is to recognize leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to supporting and advancing community arts education for more than 20 years. Certificates will be presented during the Guild's Annual Meeting at the Conference for Community Arts Education (Philadelphia, PA), Friday, November 13, 2015.

“I am very honored to be among the selected Milestone honorees,” said Kontos, who is also founder of Kaufman’s Special Music School. “My thanks go out to the National Guild for Community Arts Education for supporting and helping to advance access to lifelong learning opportunities in the arts.”

Kontos has been Executive Director of Kaufman Music Center since 1986; for six years prior to that, she was Director of the Center’s Merkin Concert Hall. In 1996, her passion to deepen Kaufman Music Center's commitment to education inspired her to found the Special Music School, New York's only K-12 public school for musically-gifted children—and a leading music education innovator. Based on the pre-college music education system prevalent in the former Soviet Union, Special Music School is a New York City public school that provides rigorous academics combined with intensive musical training to musically-gifted children. It is the first of its kind in the country and has met with great success for the students and their families.

The National Guild for Community Arts Education works collaboratively with a broad range of practitioners and stakeholders within the arts and education sectors to help community arts education providers to deliver quality programs, secure greater financial support, and ensure all people have access to arts education.

The other Milestone recipients include: Rosie Lee Hooks, Director, Watts Towers Arts Center, Los Angeles, CA; Leslie Thomas, Community Arts Director, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles, CA; J. Curtis Warner Jr., Founding Executive Director, Berklee City Music, Boston, MA; Linda Weise, Founding CEO, Colorado Springs Conservatory, Colorado Springs, CO; and Dorothy Wilkie, Artistic Director, Kúlú Mele African Dance and Drum Ensemble, Philadelphia, PA.