Do you know what I love most about music? The human connections forged through performing, learning, and experiencing it together. At Kaufman Music Center, we see, hear, and feel the strength of these connections every day.
The 2019-20 year tested our community’s strength in ways we never could have imagined. But do you know what we have learned? Our connectivity through music keeps us inspired, looking forward, and working together, even when we have to be far apart. We won’t stop doing what we love, no matter what!
This year, our theme was “Transformation” – and we could never have imagined just how appropriate this theme would be and just how many things would have to transform in response to the obstacles we faced. In March, the COVID-19 crisis forced us to close the doors of our home, the Abraham Goodman House. As such, we had to suspend the Merkin Hall season and move from in-person to online music instruction.
But we did not let those challenges slow us down.
Throughout the spring and summer, we adjusted our programs to the difficult circumstances, creating online education programs and moving our presentations to digital platforms. In so doing, we expanded the audience for Kaufman Music Center, now reaching tens of millions of music lovers around the world through social media. We even launched a record label and released our first-ever album! Through this process, we have gained invaluable knowledge about building and providing engaging online music education programs and concert experiences.
None of this would have been possible without the support of our dedicated community. Working together, our students, teachers, parents, audiences, and artists showed incredible resilience and spirit, rising to the unprecedented challenge and continuing to teach, learn, and create. I am so grateful for all of you.
It is my privilege to share this report of everything you helped to make possible during this unprecedented year. I hope you are as proud reading it as I am to share it.
Kaufman Music Center is committed to thriving, transforming lives, and continuing to connect with each other and with all of you. With your support, we will be able to do so for years to come.
With deep appreciation,
Who We Are
At Kaufman Music Center, we see music opening doors and transforming lives every day – through lessons that ignite a lifelong passion, deeply inspiring performances, or opportunities to connect artistically and personally with others.
Music is essential to the human experience and a vital component of education for everyone.
Our reach in 2019-20:
in our educational programs
25,510 TICKET BUYERS
at performances in Merkin Hall
with friends around the world through our web site and social media platforms
In 2019-20, Kaufman Music Center offered a creative community to over 4,600 students, building their skills and confidence in the arts and empowering them to succeed outside of the Center as creative minds, engaged citizens, and thoughtful leaders. Students participated in a variety of outstanding programs:
3,058 STUDENTS EXPERIENCED CLASSES, LESSONS & MENTORSHIP
through Lucy Moses School, Face the Music, and Luna Composition Lab
302 STUDENTS LEARNED, PERFORMED & ENGAGED
with their community at Special Music School, our K-12 public school through Lucy Moses School, Face the Music, and Luna Composition Lab
1,275 STUDENTS FROM NYC PARTNER SCHOOLS
participated in Broadway Playhouse performances in Merkin Hall
MAKING MUSIC ACCESSIBLE
EDUCATION FOR EVERYONE
Kaufman Music Center is committed to creating an inclusive environment that welcomes music lovers from all walks of life. Our Fund for Music Education ensures that every child who is curious about exploring their musical potential has access to our educational programs, regardless of financial means.
invested in music education this year
of young people enrolled in our programs received scholarships or program subsidies
IN 2019-20, KAUFMAN MUSIC CENTER INAUGURATED ITS FIRST-EVER SEASON-WIDE THEME:
During the 2019-20 season, the theme of “Transformation” ran through our education and performance programs like an electric current, illuminating the connections between music and other art forms and disciplines including literature, history, science, and even mathematics – and the transmutation of ideas between them. We see music opening doors and transforming lives every day in Kaufman Music Center’s unique musical ecosystem.
In our classrooms at Lucy Moses School and Special Music School, “Transformation” was woven through curricula – from music theory and technology to Baroque opera. Face the Music teamed up with Kaufman Artist-in-Residence JACK Quartet to premiere new commissions in a unique series of online performances that incorporated gesture, philosophy, and historical testimony.
In the fall, Kaufman Music Center launched a new Artists-in-Residence Program that embedded acclaimed, multi-faceted artists who are leaders in the music world within a broad range of our programs spanning the concert stage and the classroom: Nathalie Joachim, JACK Quartet, and Rob Kapilow.
Each of these artists worked with our students in a large variety of settings and gave performances that uplifted our community.
UNPRECEDENTED CHALLENGES: COVID-19
2019-20 began as one of our most successful seasons ever, and then the COVID-19 crisis hit New York City. Like so many other organizations, Kaufman Music Center faced unprecedented challenges. Due to public safety concerns, we shut the doors of the Abraham Goodman House to the public. Our concert season in Merkin Hall was suspended, and teachers and students were no longer able to meet in person. With all of our revenue streams in question, our financial challenges were daunting. And then, like everyone around the world, we started to make forward motion, step by step, to keep Kaufman Music Center thriving.
WE DON’T GIVE UP
Although COVID-19 presented challenges we never could have imagined, we were determined to keep going. We quickly partnered with faculty to move music classes and lessons online, ensuring that students in Special Music School, Lucy Moses School, and Face the Music could continue learning and growing. Several students and families told us this was a lifeline during a difficult time when so many schools were closed and activities were canceled.
We worked with our Merkin Hall artists to create meaningful online content, enabling us to connect with audiences around the world during the pandemic.
Since our programs moved online in March, we reached:
2,404 STUDENTS OF ALL AGES
8.5 MILLION SOCIAL MEDIA CONNECTIONS
MUSIC LIVES FOREVER
To help weather the storm caused by COVID-19, Kaufman Music Center launched the Music Lives Forever campaign, which was named after the Special Music School song. This initiative set out to raise as much relief funding as possible from our community of students, families, and friends to close the financial gap created by the pandemic.
We are thrilled that the community responded to the call, with 788 individuals, foundations, and corporations giving more than $1 million. Every dollar raised will help to ensure that our programs can continue to thrive next year and beyond.
DAY OF MUSICAL ACTION
On June 1, 2020, the entire Kaufman Music Center community came together for a special online event, the Day of Musical Action, which was the kickoff to our Music Lives Forever campaign. Over 130 performers – including students, families, staff, faculty, board members, and world-famous artists – came together and shared 12 hours of music to celebrate Kaufman Music Center and stay connected with each other.
MORE THAN 535 GENEROUS MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTED $278,690.
The Day of Musical Action featured performances and special appearances by celebrity guests including Misha Amory, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Desmond Child, Erika Ender, Ailyn Pérez, Brian Jagde, Broadway stars Nikki Renée Daniels and Jeff Kready, Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne Galway, Hsin-Yun Huang, Alexa Ray Joel, Missy Mazzoli, Terrance McKnight, Alan Menken, Ellen Reid, David Robertson, John Schaefer, Orli Shaham, Caroline Shaw, Carol Wincenc, Shai Wosner, Béla Fleck, Kamal Khan, legendary songwriter Paul Williams, and more, as well as Kaufman Music Center Artists-in-Residence JACK Quartet, Nathalie Joachim, and Rob Kapilow.
LAUNCHING A LABEL & RELEASING OUR FIRST ALBUM
When the COVID-19 crisis struck, a unique workshop focused on composition and improvisation quickly evolved into an ambitious album project. 2019-20 Kaufman Music Center Artist-in-Residence and Grammy nominee Nathalie Joachim had planned to spend the season co-composing a performance based on the theme of “transformation” in person with the 10th grade class at Special Music School. And then the pandemic hit.
“Suddenly, we went from being in shared spaces to living in isolation in our homes,” says Joachim. “Our project took on a new shape and became an opportunity for us to collectively process this transformative moment in all of our lives.”
The dynamic tracks on the album reflect new, unconventional creative processes stemming from the quarantine. From a self-generated soundbank of musical material contributed individually from home, the class worked in small groups via Zoom to create new pieces that represent their interpretations of the transformation theme. The album was released on August 31 – the inaugural release on the Kaufman Music Center label – and can be found on Bandcamp.
SPECIAL MUSIC SCHOOL (M859)
Special Music School is New York City’s only K-12 public school that teaches music as a core subject. The School represents a unique partnership between Kaufman Music Center and the NYC Department of Education. The Center’s Fund for Music Education fully funds the music program, allowing students to study without the financial barriers associated with world-class musical education. Students have opportunities to work with and learn from extraordinary artists, including Rob Kapilow.
During the COVID-19 crisis, all classes, lessons, and ensembles at Special Music School went online in March. Despite this challenge, our senior class had 100% graduation and 100% college acceptance rates for the fourth year in a row. Graduates are attending top colleges and conservatories, including Brown University, Columbia University, The Juilliard School, New York University, Princeton University, Rice University, and Vanderbilt University.
5 BOROUGHS REPRESENTED
in our student body
of students are non-white, including Asian, Black, Latinx, and Multi-Racial
high school graduation rate
college acceptance rate
LUCY MOSES SCHOOL
As New York City’s largest community arts school, Lucy Moses School offers instrumental lessons as well as classes in music, dance, and theater to students of all ages – from toddlers to seniors – and levels of experience. In 2019-20, the School welcomed about 3,000 learners of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds who found classes and teachers that engaged, empowered, and inspired them. Because Lucy Moses School is part of Kaufman Music Center, students had opportunities to learn from the leading artists who are affiliated with the Center and to perform in Merkin Hall, one of the world’s foremost concert halls.
In March, we moved music classes and lessons online for about 2,400 students. Teachers and students in all disciplines – from private lessons to toddler dance groups to adult jazz ensembles – continued connecting virtually throughout the spring and summer. We are proud that graduates are continuing on to prestigious colleges and conservatories including The Juilliard School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, Peabody Institute, Princeton University, and Yale University.
2,174 STUDENTS AGED 2-18
813 ADULT MUSICIANS, DANCERS, & THEATER ARTISTS
203 STUDENTS STARTED A NEW INSTRUMENT
601 STUDENTS PERFORMED IN MERKIN HALL
FACE THE MUSIC
Face the Music is the country’s premier youth program dedicated to music by living composers. Students come from all five boroughs and participate in small and large ensembles ranging from string quartets, to jazz ensembles, to orchestras, and more.
This year, students developed unique collaborations with Artists-in-Residence JACK Quartet and Nathalie Joachim. When COVID-19 prevented students from meeting in person, they continued meeting online, developing projects with and learning from JACK Quartet and our friends from the Tri-Centric Foundation, as well as our own wonderful coaches and conductors. And in July, Face the Music offered its first virtual summer courses, enabling students to stay connected during this challenging period.
In 2019-20, 66 students worked with 28 guest artists to perform 20 pieces at venues across New York City. Six pieces were premieres by Face the Music students and alumni. We are proud that 70% of music performed was written by composers of color and/or composers who are female-identifying, non-binary, or gender nonconforming, who are underrepresented in the field.
LUNA COMPOSITION LAB
In its 4th year, Luna Composition Lab continued to offer a groundbreaking mentoring program for young composers who identify as female, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming. The program was founded and is directed by two of today’s most acclaimed composers: Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Reid and Grammy nominee Missy Mazzoli.
This highly selective program held a competitive application process in the fall. Five composers ages 14-18 were selected. Fellows hailed from across the country – from Pasadena and Los Altos, CA, to Springfield, MO and Louisville, KY, to Fayetteville, NY. Throughout the year, these dynamic young composers were mentored by Ellen Reid, Reena Esmail, Kristin Kuster, Gity Razaz, and Tamar Muskal.
Fellows had planned to spend a week in New York in May, participating in masterclasses and one-on-one coaching and watching their new works performed in Merkin Hall. COVID-19 prevented them from meeting in person, so instead, they participated in a week of online masterclasses, discussions, classes, and mentoring sessions. Soon, their works will be professionally recorded.
In fall 2019, Broadway Close Up gave a series of sold-out performances that provided audiences with new perspectives on the shows and songs they love, including a preview of the best new musicals headed to Broadway.
Broadway Playhouse introduced children from across NYC to musical theater during the winter months. In July and August, we continued our tradition of offering our Summer Musical Theater Workshop for the 31st year in a row – with one change. This year, students met online for a series of workshops, including classes in movement, singing, and scene study. The program culminated with an online showcase for family and friends in August.
939 STUDENTS FROM TITLE I SCHOOLS
received free or subsidized Broadway Playhouse tickets
105 STUDENTS PARTICIPATED
in the online Summer Musical Theater Workshop
of teachers from participating schools want to bring their students back to the program in the future
Merkin Hall’s 2019-20 season started in the fall with great success. Tuesday Matinees, the Hall’s longest-running series, showcased rising stars like clarinetist Yoonah Kim and the Omer Quartet. The Center also presented groundbreaking, multi-genre collaborations as we celebrated the 10th season of Ecstatic Music, including Nathalie Joachim and Spektral Quartet, Gaby Moreno and LADAMA, Alarm Will Sound and Eartheater, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and more. Only at Merkin with Terrance McKnight featured great performances mixed with enlightening conversation, including concerts by legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter and celebrated flutist Carol Wincenc.
In March, Merkin Hall was forced to suspend its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Determined to continue providing opportunities for artists and audiences to connect, we re-imagined our presentations to create digital content to share with our audiences. This content included:
- A re-imagined final Ecstatic Music concert, streamed on Facebook in partnership with Nadia Sirota’s Living Music: Pirate Radio Edition and featuring performances and appearances by Nathalie Joachim, yMusic, Emily King, Ecstatic curator Judd Greenstein, and Kate Sheeran (May 14, 2020)
- A digital Tuesday Matinee by cellist Gabriel Cabezas filmed in the performer’s home and directed by James Darrah, which premiered on the Center’s Facebook page (May 27, 2020)
- Bach Yard Playdates, a new digital series for young audiences by pianist Orli Shaham, with weekly episodes
- Broadcast from Home, a new large-scale musical work by composer Lisa Bielawa with a call for testimonies in response to the isolation of sheltering in place, social distancing, and quarantine during the COVID-19 crisis, with 15 chapters released weekly over the spring and summer
- A digital What Makes it Great? featuring the music of Cole Porter, with Artist-in-Residence Rob Kapilow and Broadway stars Sally Wilfert and Michael Winther (August 19, 2020)
- A virtual concert with Artist-in-Residence JACK Quartet, performing music by Marcos Balter, Zosha Di Castri, Anthony Braxton, Clara Iannotta, and George Lewis (August 26, 2020)
2019-20 was a year like no other, and the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in March brought unprecedented financial challenges. Due to the need to close our home, the Abraham Goodman House, we lost significant revenue. With the Merkin Hall season suspended, 105 performances were cancelled or postponed – a full half of our season. In addition to losing revenue from rentals and ticket sales, we had to postpone our Gala, which accounts for nearly $1 million in revenue each year.
Despite these challenges, we are proud of how our community came together. 2019-20 was a strong year for fundraising with $3,437,764 raised. This is particularly remarkable, during such a difficult year.
Expense and revenue numbers as of September 16, 2020. Numbers are unaudited and reflect direct expenses.
|BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Rosalind Devon, Chairman
Cathy White O’Rourke, President
Leonard Goodman, Honorary Chair
Elaine Kaufman, Honorary Chair
Charles Dimston, Vice President
Phyllis Feder, Vice President
Bethany Millard, Vice President
Irving Sitnick, Vice President
Christina M. Mason, Treasurer
Wendy Mosler, Secretary
Sir James Galway
William A. Schwartz