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DIGITAL-ONLY CONTENT: The Harmony Program celebrates 10 years of service to New York City.

Young Violinist

Celebrating the success of its students and the vital role music plays in shaping communities in the New York City metro area


This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Harmony Program, an organization that brings free instrumental music education into under-served communities across New York City and Long Island. Over the past ten years, the Harmony Program has provided over 1,000 children with free instruments and over 350,000 hours of music instruction.

The Harmony Program was created in 2003 by Anne Fitzgibbon as a pilot program within the New York City Mayor's Office. Anne was later awarded a yearlong Fulbright Fellowship in 2007 to study El Sistema, Venezuela's world-renowned national youth orchestra program, and adapted tenets of that successful model to the meet the needs of children and families in New York.

In 2008, the Harmony Program established an institutional partnership with the City University of New York (CUNY), and distinguished its model of music education with an emphasis on community-based programming, uniquely intensive instruction, ensemble performance, and a formal system of teacher training. Targeting children between eight and 13 years of age (grades 3rd through 8th), the Harmony Program prioritizes reaching children in need; an estimated 84 percent of students qualify for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program. 72% of Harmony students are African-American and Latino, populations historically under-represented in the classical music genre. "The Harmony Program is proud of our decade of service and of our growing community of remarkable young musicians. Their accomplishments are a testament to what can be achieved when we simply provide children with opportunities and set high expectations," said Anne Fitzgibbon, founder and Executive Director of the Harmony Program. "Our efforts, in addition to a growing body of research, continue to remind us that music can change lives in powerfully positive ways. We are so grateful to our many sponsors and partners who have helped us expand access to music education in New York."

The Harmony Program's unique model also addresses the need for well-trained music teachers by preparing accomplished musicians to teach at partnering public schools and community centers throughout New York City and on Long Island. The Harmony Program's teachers receive year-round professional development and mentoring to ensure the quality of instruction in Harmony's classrooms.

In celebration of their 10th year, the Harmony Program will host their 10th anniversary gala and benefit concert on April 25th. The concert will be a celebration of the dedication and achievements of Harmony Program students as they play alongside Grammy-award winning violinist Joshua Bell, Grammy-award nominated producer and cuatrista Jorge Glem, New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill, string trio Time for Three, and soprano Larisa Martínez, to name just a few.

The Harmony Program currently operates 12 sites in New York City and Long Island. During 2019, they have plans for significant expansion to 20 sites and a network of youth orchestras, serving 500 students from all five boroughs.

About the Harmony Program

Violinists in the orchestra

The Harmony Program is a non-profit organization that provides children from under-served communities with free instruments, intensive music instruction, orchestral training and access to a variety of cultural experiences in an effort to promote self-confidence, creativity, social development and academic success.

The Harmony Program's unique model also addresses a shortage of well-trained music teachers by preparing accomplished musicians to teach at partnering public schools and community centers throughout New York City and on Long Island. Each year, the Harmony Program provides up to 150,000 hours of music instruction. The Harmony Program plans significant expansion next year to 20 after-school programs and youth orchestras city-wide serving an estimated 500 students from all five boroughs.

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