News Archive

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Meet Maya Fortune, Violinist & Special Music School Alumna

Maya Fortune is a Special Music School alumna from the Upper West Side. As a child, Maya loved to play with her aunt’s full-size violin, which inspired her to begin studying the instrument when she was five years old. During her time at SMS, Maya was very involved in school ensembles and music classes as well as Face the Music. She says that SMS inspired…

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Meet Deandre Desir, Tubist & Recent Graduate of Special Music School

Deandre Desir is a recent graduate of Special Music School, where he studied the tuba. He says: "Kaufman Music Center has made me the musician that I am today, without a doubt." Though Deandre was first introduced to music through piano lessons when he was younger, it was Special Music School that identified his aptitude as a brass player and suggested he explore…

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Meet Margaret Olko, Vocalist & Special Music School 12th Grader

Margaret Olko is a rising senior at Special Music School, where she is a vocal major and student leader. She lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Her family immigrated to the US from Poland, and she speaks fluent Polish. Though Margaret played piano when she was younger, she became passionate about music when she began singing with her church choir when she was 11. At SMS,…

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Meet William Belfor, Oboist & Special Music School 11th Grader

Rising 11th grader William Belfor's musical journey began when he started piano lessons in kindergarten, but his passion for music truly blossomed in middle school when he discovered the oboe. Through his hard work and consistent practice, he found himself auditioning and being accepted into Special Music School High School, only six months after learning this new…

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Meet Pianist & Special Music School Graduate Chanel Wang

Chanel Wang is a recent graduate of Special Music School High School. She has been studying piano since she was three and has practiced every day since! Chanel began to perform competitively at age four, giving her first solo recital when she was just six years old. She transferred to SMS in high school so she could have a quality music education that could take her…

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Q&A with Alicia Andrews, Lucy Moses School Assistant Director & Adult Division Manager

Lucy Moses School’s Assistant Director and Adult Division Manager Alicia Andrews explains how adults of all ages can connect with music. “When we talk about getting started with private instrument lessons, a lot of adult musicians tell me, ‘I played an instrument as a kid and then I stopped. I wish I’d kept doing it.’ I’m here to help…

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Meet John Wallar, Percussionist, SMS High School Junior & Face the Music Player

John Wallar is a rising 11th grader at Special Music School and a percussionist in the school's new music ensemble, Face the Music. When he was younger, he joined a rock band and soon discovered a passion for classical music. During his studies at SMS, John mastered complex mallet percussion pieces from the classical canon, while also playing alternative…

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Sax Player Paul Wolsk Explains Why Jazz is a Lifelong Learning Experience

“Jazz is a lifelong learning experience because the more you learn, the more you can use, and the more creative you become.” When Paul Wolsk’s friend suggested that they get a jazz band together, he hadn’t played the sax for 35 years. He’d first taken up the instrument in elementary school and played through college, but gave it up as he…

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Clarinetist Ellen Landsberger Recommends Re-discovering Music After Retirement

“When I’m playing music I can’t think about politics and what’s going on in the world. It’s very calming. Playing and listening to music are very healing and beneficial.” Several years ago, Ellen Landsberger heard about Lucy Moses School from a friend and stopped by to check it out. A recently-retired obstetrician, Ellen wanted to return…

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Meet Oliver Ramsdell, Summer Musical Theater Workshop Camper

Oliver Ramsdell is a fourth year camper at Lucy Moses School’s Summer Musical Theater Workshop. He says: “I really like acting with Wendy Gross Baker, my director. That’s really fun! I also like singing with John O’Neill because we get to learn [songs like] Stick It to the Man, and we also get to compose our own songs.”   Oliver is…

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