Kintan Silvany Embraces the PMAY Artist Experience

Kintan with her teacher, harp faculty member Elizabeth Steiner

Kintan with her teacher, harp faculty member Elizabeth Steiner

With the launch of the Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth (PMAY) Artists’ Initiative earlier this year, a new generation of young musicians in Philadelphia will have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of making music at a professional level. Kintan Silvany, a 14 yearold
student at the Mary Louise Curtis Branch, is one of 25 Settlement students taking part in the inaugural cohort of Artists.

During her time at Settlement, she has been in Children’s Music Workshop and dance classes, sung in the Gleeksman-Kohn Children’s Choir, and taken individual instruction on three
different instruments. Najib Wong, Program Director for the Artists’ Initiative, calls Kintan “a really strong student with a very supportive family.” She currently studies harp with Elizabeth Steiner, who says, “Kintan has really maximized the resources that Settlement provides, and she works hard to take advantage of every opportunity.”

In addition to the harp, Kintan also studies piano with Michael Caruso and voice with Kate Mallon-Day at Settlement, and she performs with the Philadelphia Sinfonia Players as the only harpist in an intermediate-level youth orchestra. This summer, she participated in the 2017 Philadelphia International Music Camp & Festival and in Philly Harp Week, a festival sponsored by Play On, Philly! 

Q: What made you want to apply for the PMAY Artists’ Initiative?
A: My teacher Miss Steiner told me about it and wanted me to get more involved in music. She signed me up, and during my audition, I had an interview and learned more about it. When Najib called me and told me, “You’re in!” it was really exciting. This summer, thanks to PMAY, I went to the Philadelphia International Music Festival, where I got to meet other musicians and learn more. It was also my first exposure to playing chamber music. The first week, I played
piano in a trio with violin and cello, and the second week, I played harp in a trio with oboe and flute.

Q: What is your favorite thing about studying music?
A: It gives me something to do other than being bored at home, which is what a lot of people my age do. With music, I get to practice, I can figure out how I can do better, and I can learn new pieces. Between harp, piano, and voice, I practice at least an hour a day, and it gives me a purpose for what I should do. When I started studying voice, I had been in the choir, but I
had never sung solo before. Now I am figuring out what I can do with my voice and trying things that I’ve never done before.

Q: What are your goals in music for the future?
A: My goal is to spread music all over. I want to go back to Indonesia, where my parents are from, and perform there for people who have not been exposed to classical music. There is classical music in Jakarta and other cities, but in other places in the country where there
is poverty, there is no exposure to classical music. I am planning on traveling there next summer with my parents, and we are already looking at harp shops where I can find an instrument so that I can practice while I am there.

Exciting News from Settlement Alumni Violinists

From entrepreneurs to onstage artists, Settlement is proud to have alumni that inspire and innovate in a variety of careers. This fall, we received fabulous news about two violinists who studied here at Settlement.

We’re delighted to share that last spring, Robyn Bollinger received a prestigious award from the Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship Fund that allowed her to produce her debut album, CIACCONA: The Bass of Time, which was released earlier this month. In addition, we learned that Clare Semes joined the violin section of the Toronto Symphony.

Kudos to these Settlement alumni and their continued musical journeys!

If you’re a Settlement alumnus who wants to connect with and hear from your fellow former Settlement students, join our new Settlement Alumni Facebook page. [link to https://www.facebook.com/SettlementMusicSchoolAlumni/)  And be sure share your accomplishments with us by emailing alumni@settlementmusic.org. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Faculty Development Fund Makes Summer Projects Possible

After a six-hour trek from his home in Philadelphia, Alan Ens entered a new world of music instruction.

Ens, who teaches guitar at the Mary Louise Curtis, Kardon-Northeast, Wynnefield, and Camden Branches, enrolled in the Virginia Suzuki Institute at Emory & Henry College during June, and through a rigorous combination of masterclasses, lessons, and classroom observation, he was immersed in new teaching methods and emerged with his Book 1 certification in Suzuki guitar instruction.

“This is one of the best things I have ever done as a musician and a teacher,” he says.

Ens received the opportunity for this training through the newly established Faculty Professional Development Fund, endowed by an anonymous Settlement donor. The Fund was established in 2016 to help faculty members pursue additional training through workshops, conferences, travel, and other experiences. Ens hopes this experience will spur new program offerings, with guitar building on Settlement’s existing Suzuki programs in violin, cello, piano, and flute.

Including Ens, the Fund supported several Settlement faculty members with their plans for personal growth. Susan Liedke, visual art instructor for the Kaleidoscope Pre-Kindergarten Arts Enrichment Program, traveled to Cuba on a cultural outing organized by the Pennsylvania Art Educators Association.

Liedke spent her trip visiting museums, touring cultural sites, and making contact with Cuban artists in Havana and other cities. She drew inspiration as both an artist and teacher from some unique artifacts, including a functioning camera obscura, a device developed in the 16th century for projecting images as a precursor to the modern photographic camera.

“It’s something I’d love to incorporate into future classroom projects,” she says.

In areas without access to art supplies, Liedke observed artists and teachers using recycled materials for projects: cans, bottles, and other items that might have ended up in the trash. This approach could lend itself well to the kinds of craft projects that her pre-kindergarten students enjoy, and she wants to return to this idea during an environmentally-themed unit around Earth Day next spring.

“The Fund really made this whole thing possible,” she says. “Without it, I would not have been part of the trip.”

Awards and Accomplishments for Students, Faculty, Staff, and Board

STUDENTS & ALUMNI

Dallas Noble, violin student of Lee Snyder at the Willow Grove Branch, was one of five winners of the Menges Scholarship competition and will be appearing with the Ambler Symphony during the 2017-18 season. She was also one of ten students nationwide, and one of only two musicians, chosen for a 2017 Anthony Quinn Foundation Scholarship, which helped fund her attendance at the Aspen Music Festival.

Aaron Patterson, student of Dolly Krasnopolsky at the Kardon-Northeast Branch, performed at the Ephraim Goldstein Apartments and the Beaver Hill Condominium this year. In addition, won first prize, as well as audience prize, at the 2017 Albert Schweitzer Organ Competition in Hartford. His organ activities have kept him busy performing regularly in the Grand Court at the Wanamaker Building (now Macy’s) in Philadelphia and attending various summer institutes.

Kintan Silvany, harp student of Elizabeth Steiner at the Mary Louise Curtis Branch, participated in the 2017 Philadelphia International Music Camp & Festival and in Philly Harp Week, a festival sponsored by Play On, Philly! and the Lyra Society. Read an interview with Kintan about her recent accomplishments on page 15.

Saaya Sugiyama-Spearman, piano student of Lois DiDomenico and ballet student of Kaye Fernandez at the Mary Louise Curtis Branch, was named a 2017 Emerging Artist by the Catherine R. and Anthony A. Clifton Foundation. She received the Award and performed at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Perelman Theater in May. She is attending Yale University this fall.

Settlement students and alumni Ally CohenIsabella Egawa, Johnny May (violins), and Alex Wu (cello), who all participated in the National Youth Orchestra of the USA (NYO-USA) this summer. They traveled to Latin America with conductor Marin Alsop and performed at Carnegie Hall.

Brothers Braden (double bass) and Peirce Ellis (viola) participated in the NYO2 program, based in SUNY-Purchase and Philadelphia, and they performed in Carnegie Hall and at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

Congratulations to our students who graduated from high school this past June! This fall sees them in dozens of colleges, including: Bard College Conservatory of Music, Camden County College, Cleveland Institute of Music, Columbia University, Community College of Philadelphia, Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Delaware County Community College, Drexel University, Eastman School of Music, Harvard University, LaSalle University, Massachusetts Instituteof Technology, Moore College of Art & Design, New York University, Penn State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rutgers University – Camden, Temple University, The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, Wesleyan University, West Chester University, and Yale University. Best of luck in school and with making music. Please stay in touch!

FACULTY, STAFF, & BOARD

At the 2017 Charles and Florence Goldman Annual Meeting in June, Patrick Leiter, chief information officer, and Denise Pride, coordinator of the Kardon-Northeast Branch, received the Sol Schoenbach Award for Outstanding Service. 

In recognition of her dedication to Settlement as Chair of the Central Board of Trustees, Barrie Trimingham received the 2017 Blanche Wolf Kohn & Jeannette Selig Frank Founders Award. The award was presented at the 109th Anniversary Gala on April 29. 

Adam Berenson, piano faculty at the Mary Louise Curtis Branch, released a new album, “Penumbra,” which has received positive reviews in JAZZIZ, All About Jazz, and other jazz publications. A track from “Penumbra” will be included on a CD that will be packaged with the December issue of JAZZIZ.

Sandra Carlock, piano and chamber music faculty at the Willow Grove Branch, recorded an album with violinist Guillaume Combet, which was released in April on SOMM Recordings. The album, “Violin Sonatas by Franck, Poulenc, Saint-Saëns,” has received positive reviews from numerous classical music publications, including Arkiv Music, Musical Opinion Quarterly, and MusicWeb International, where it was featured as Recording of the Month during June.

William Kerrigan, percussion faculty at the Mary Louise Curtis Branch, performed on “George Crumb Volume 18,” released by Bridge Records in August. He is featured on “Yesteryear,” a piece for solo voice, amplified piano, and percussion.

Sam Ruttenberg, percussion faculty at the Mary Louise Curtis Branch, presented jazz drums clinics in Ukraine in April at Tik-Tak Music and Trembita Music. He taught "Stick Control” and “Syncopation" variations for Jazz comping, Big Band Jazz Chart reading, improvisation techniques, and Afro-Cuban styles to an audience of professional drummers from throughout Ukraine.

Settlement Music School Welcomes New Members to Its Central Board of Trustees and Branch Boards of Directors

Contact: Alix Gerz
Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer
Settlement Music School
Tel: 215-320-2685
Email: alix.gerz@smsmusic.org

Philadelphia, PA (July 7, 2017) At the 2017 Charles and Florence Goldman Annual Meeting this June, Settlement Music School elected the following new members to its Central Board of Trustees and Board of Directors.

In addition, Settlement welcomed new leadership as Ellen S. Friedell, founder and principal at Reaching Agreement ADR LCC, was elected to her first term as Chair of the Central Board of Trustees and Justin Klein, partner at Ballard Spahr, was elected to his first term as President of the Central Board of Trustees.

New Trustees: 

Malik Brown, assistant vice president of Employer Relations, Peirce College;

Ann Marie Edwards, CEO, Alliance Cancer Specialists;

Jeffrey Kallberg, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Music History and associate dean for Arts & Letters at the University of Pennsylvania;

Lynn McCormick, retired managing director of Goldman Sachs; and

Steve Utkus, principal and director, Vanguard Center for Investor Research

In addition, Bruce Leto, chair of Investment Management at Stradley Ronon, was elected Assistant Secretary and Carolyn Marconi, principal of Catapult Marketing Group, was elected Vice President. Marconi also serves as the President of the Mary Louise Curtis Branch Board of Directors.

New Directors:

For the Mary Louise Curtis Branch, 416 Queen Street:

Judson Aaron, partner, Conrad O’Brien; Diane DiGiacomo, associate director of Prospect Research, University of Pennsylvania; Peter Kohn, partner, Faruqi & Faruqi LLP; Brian Rothenberg, senior vice president and general counsel, Comcast Spectacor; and Sally Wang, vice president: Global Alliances and Partnerships, International SOS. In addition, Libby Harwitz, writer and editor (retired), completed her second term as President, and is now serving as a Director.  

For the Germantown Branch, 6128 Germantown Avenue:

Tamika Boateng, global head, Bank Strategy and Relations Group, Vanguard Finance Division; Graham Brent, CEO, National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators; Les Rosenwinkel, realtor and architect (retired); and Philip Tankel, psychologist.

For the Kardon-Northeast Branch, 3745 Clarendon Avenue:

Mary Beth Kramer, president, Kramer Consulting; Gloria Pugliese, senior development officer, Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech; and Betsy Shrader, vice president of Lending, TD Bank.

For the Willow Grove Branch, 318 Davisville Road:

Carol Etlen, assistant professor of Education, Gwynedd Mercy University.

For the Wynnefield Branch, 4910 Wynnefield Avenue:

Jeffrey Margolies, financial advisor, Boenning & Scattergood; and Martha Schleifer, music historian (retired).

For the Camden School of Musical Arts Branch, 990 Morgan Boulevard:

Yemelé Ayala, senior director of School Support Services, ASPIRA, Inc. Schools of PA.; Natasha Palmer, educational program development specialist, New Jersey Department of Education; and Matt Solin, attorney, Law Offices of Adam M. Kotlar.

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ABOUT SETTLEMENT MUSIC SCHOOL (www.settlementmusic.org)

Settlement Music School’s mission is to provide the highest quality instruction in music and the related arts to children and adults, without regard to age, background, ability or economic circumstances. Settlement’s broad range of programs, taught by highly credentialed and dedicated faculty, help students achieve artistic, educational, and social goals. Settlement provides 10,000 weekly services across six branches and over $2 million dollars each year in financial aid for its students.

SETTLEMENT MUSIC SCHOOL SUPPORTED BY $500,000 ADVANCEMENT GRANT FROM THE PEW CENTER FOR ARTS & HERITAGE

Contact: Alix Gerz
Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer
Settlement Music School
Tel: 215-320-2685
Email: alix.gerz@smsmusic.org

PHILADELPHIA (June 20, 2017) - Settlement Music School is honored to announce that it has been supported by an Advancement grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage in the amount of $500,000. Described by the Center as multiyear investments designed to support bold initiatives led by exemplary arts and culture organizations in the Greater Philadelphia region, the Advancement grant will allow Settlement to engage with 21st century music learners in visionary new ways.

To launch this effort, Settlement—one of just two organizations to receive support through a prestigious Advancement grant this year—will pilot a number of key initiatives in the area of behavior/consumer marketing, faculty/curricular development, investment in new technologies, and clearly articulated learning pathways, where students play an active role in their own education. 

“We are so very grateful to The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage for their generous investment in Settlement Music School in specific and in the arts in Philadelphia in general,” said Helen S. Eaton, CEO of Settlement Music School. “It is because of the bold thinking and profound philanthropic support of the Center that Settlement can build on its 109-year record of success and create new learning pathways and strategies that will guide us deeper into the 21st century and beyond.”

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ABOUT SETTLEMENT MUSIC SCHOOL (www.settlementmusic.org)
Settlement Music School’s mission is to provide the highest quality instruction in music and the related arts to children and adults, without regard to age, background, ability or economic circumstances. Settlement’s broad range of programs, taught by highly credentialed and dedicated faculty, help students achieve artistic, educational, and social goals. Settlement provides 10,000 weekly services across six branches and over $2 million dollars each year in financial aid for its students.

ABOUT THE PEW CENTER FOR ARTS & HERITAGE (www.pcah.us)
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is a multidisciplinary grantmaker and hub for knowledge-sharing, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, and dedicated to fostering a vibrant cultural community in Greater Philadelphia. The Center fulfills this mission by investing in ambitious, imaginative projects that showcase the region’s cultural vitality and enhance public life, and by engaging in an exchange of ideas concerning artistic and interpretive practice with a broad network of cultural practitioners and leaders. 

Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth Names First Cohort of PMAY Artists

Contact: Alix Gerz
Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer
Settlement Music School
Tel: 215-320-2685
Email: alix.gerz@smsmusic.org

20170614_153701[1].jpg

PHILADELPHIA, PA (June 14, 2017) — On Wednesday, June 14, partners in the Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth (PMAY), along with Mayor Jim Kenney and Chief Cultural Officer Kelly Lee, gathered at City Hall to celebrate the 75 young musicians who have been named the first cohort of PMAY Artists. These students—who are rising 5th through 12th graders from underrepresented communities—were selected following a series of juried auditions, and will go on to receive financial support, specialized intensive instruction, and professional mentoring in order to prepare them for a career in the classical music field.

By fostering these outstanding young musical Artists, partners in the PMAY Artists’ Initiative—which is comprised of 10 organizations within the larger PMAY collaborative—aim to increase diversity in the professional classical music field.

In addition to remarks from Mayor Kenney and Chief Cultural Officer Lee, the Artists heard words from Dr. Cheryl Logan, Chief Academic Support Officer from the School District of Philadelphia; Joseph Conyers, Assistant Principal Bass for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Founder and Executive Director of Project 440, and Music Director for All City Orchestra; Helen Eaton, CEO of Settlement Music School; and Gregory Padilla, a 10th grade student at the High School for Creative and Performing Arts, bass player, and PMAY Artist.

In addition, three newly named PMAY Artists—David Hiester on bassoon; Malinda Voell on flute; and Marquise Bradley on clarinet—performed Trio for Flute, Clarinet, and Bassoon, Op. 32, Rondo-Allegretto by Kaspar Kummer.

“Philadelphia takes its commitment to education, to the arts, and to diversity and inclusion seriously. These three tenets are robustly represented in the Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth Artists’ Initiative,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The organizations that compose the PMAY Artists’ Initiative highlight the ways in which our society can make arts and classical music, in particular, more accessible to all. I look forward to watching these Philadelphia students achieve their dreams of landing on national and international stages and representing Philadelphia and the arts the world over.”

“Philadelphia is so lucky to have an organization such as the Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth, whose sole purpose is to identify ways to enhance the musical education and performance opportunities for Philadelphia’s children,” said Chief Cultural Officer Kelly Lee. “Collaboration is key and PMAY’s Initiative is a successful model,” adds Lee.

In order to create pathways for success, the Artists named today will receive financial support to make lessons, music classes, youth orchestra participation, and summer music camps affordable. They will be able to attend free college and career preparation workshops, and PMAY teachers and staff will work with each family to make sure each musician has an instrument and a strong plan in place for becoming the best musician he or she can be.

The PMAY Artists’ Initiative is meant to address a major issue in American classical music. Fewer than 5% of musicians in professional American orchestras are African American or Latino, and the numbers of South Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Alaskan Natives are similarly low. Yet the cities that support these orchestras—like Philadelphia—are racially and ethnically diverse places. The PMAY Artists’ Initiative has selected this group of 75 young musicians, the first class of PMAY Artists, who will eventually change the face of classical music.

"On behalf of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the rest of the PMAY collective, we are proud to build a network of opportunity for the PMAY Artists' Initiative," said Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore. "The collective shares an important core mission to champion music education by removing barriers and supporting the dream to become a musician. We will all work in collaboration to transform our PMAY Artists into tomorrow’s professional classical musicians, role models, and arts leaders who will eventually change the face of classical music."

The PMAY Artists’ Initiative is funded by a generous $2.532 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with Settlement Music School as the lead partner in concert with 9 additional PMAY partners: Musicopia, Philadelphia Sinfonia, Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, Play On, Philly!, Project 440, School District of Philadelphia Office of Music Education, Temple University Music Preparatory Division, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Primavera Fund.

This multi-year grant will identify and support the region’s most committed young musicians, like those named today, to ensure they are college ready and that they have the skills necessary to excel in conservatory, college, or university as music majors. The investment builds upon Philadelphia’s robust music education ecosystem, enhancing opportunities for collaboration to ensure that promising students can access the teaching and learning opportunities necessary to remove barriers to achieving the highest level of mastery.

For more information on the PMAY Artists’ Initiative, visit settlementmusic.org/pmayartists.

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About Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth (PMAY):

The Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth is a collaborative of organizations in the Philadelphia region dedicated to providing music education and performance opportunities to youth. The collaborative started in 2012, and its members share a commitment to improving communities through the regular study of music. For three consecutive years, PMAY hosted the annual Philadelphia Festival of Young Musicians, an all-day educational exchange for students culminating in a combined orchestra and chorus performance for parents and the community at large. As PMAY enters its next phase, its member organizations have formed topic-based working groups that are developing areas of focus and initiatives to expand the impact of its work and that of its member organizations.

The following organizations participate in PMAY. The asterisk denotes organizations that are participating in the PMAY Artists’ Initiative:

  • Musicopia*
  • Pennsylvania Girlchoir & Keystone State Boychoir
  • Philadelphia Boys Choir
  • Philadelphia Sinfonia Association*
  • Philadelphia Youth Orchestra & Tune Up Philly*
  • Play On, Philly*
  • Project 440*
  • Settlement Music School*
  • Sister Cities Girlchoir
  • Temple University Music Preparatory Division*
  • The Curtis Institute of Music
  • The Kimmel Center of the Performing Arts
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra*
  • The Primavera Fund*
  • The School District of Philadelphia* 

ABOUT THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION (mellon.org)

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies. To this end, it supports exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.

 

UPDATED: Children's Choir Performs at the United Nations

Updated: Tomorrow's performance will be open to the public. See information below on how to attend!

At the start of the 2016-17 school year, the artistic staff of Settlement Music School's Gleeksman-Kohn Children's Choir took a long look at the roster of singers spread across the school's six branch locations. Reviewing the names and backgrounds of over 100 singers, they realized that members of the choir had connections to dozens of countries spanning six continents. One choir accompanist said, as a joke, "we should perform at the United Nations."

That humorous but insightful observation turned into an aspiration to land such a performance, one with an audience with a similarly international makeup. Months later, 33 of the Senior Singers from the Gleeksman-Kohn Children’s Choir will be headed to the United Nations Headquarters on Tuesday, June 13, where they will perform songs in seven different languages for residents of the U.N. complex on Manhattan's Upper East Side. 

Gleeksman-Kohn Children's Choir Director Rae Ann Anderson and her choir staff -- several of whom have international connections themselves: accompanist Tzu-Hwa Ho is from Taiwan, and accompanist Caroline Davidson is from England -- had to fill out a lengthy application and secure a sponsorship from someone connected to the United Nations, and the process of being accepted was months in the making.

These young singers—who are in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade—represent connections to countries from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Everyone at Settlement is delighted with the opportunity and believe it will be incredibly meaningful for the students and choir faculty, as well as for those who are fortunate enough to hear them. 

The general public may access the building to see the performance. Adults will have to have a government issued ID to register with security to be given a pass to enter the building. That process usually takes up to 15 minutes depending on if the registration office has a long line or not.  I would recommend they arrive about 30 minutes before the performance to register and go through security screening.

Congratulations to the students on this outstanding opportunity, and many thanks and much appreciation to Rae Ann and the rest of the Children's Choir faculty for securing this performance and for all their efforts this year.

Members of the Senior Singers of the Gleeksman-Kohn Children's Choir, conducted by Rae Ann Anderson, at United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

Members of the Senior Singers of the Gleeksman-Kohn Children's Choir, conducted by Rae Ann Anderson, at United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

Drum Circle at Mary Louise Curtis Branch Brings in Neighbors

A community drum circle has taken root at the Mary Louise Curtis Branch over the past several years, drawing in curious adults from the surrounding Queen Village neighborhood. A recent article by reporter Valerie Russ, along with photos by Elizabeth Robertson, captures the fun, stress-relieving atmosphere found at Settlement's founding branch in South Philadelphia. Read the article here on Philly.com, and come check out Rhythm 'n Brews tomorrow evening and on the fourth Friday of every month!

Mellon Foundation Awards $2.532 Million to fund instrumental classical music education in Philadelphia

Goal: Remove barriers to music mastery for young instrumental musicians from underrepresented communities.

Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth (PMAY) orchestra students rehearse onstage with Lio Kuokman, assistant conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, in the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall during their 2015 Festival.

Philadelphia, PA (February 1, 2017) – The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has made an unprecedented grant to a cohort of ten music education organizations in Philadelphia, with the end goal of increasing diversity in the professional classical music field. This multi-year, $2.532 million grant will identify and support the region’s most committed young musicians to ensure they are college ready and that they have the skills necessary to excel in conservatory, college, or university as music majors. The investment, granted to organizations within the Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth (PMAY), builds upon Philadelphia’s robust music education ecosystem, enhancing opportunities for collaboration to ensure that promising students can access the teaching and learning opportunities necessary to remove barriers to achieving the highest level of mastery.

Participating organizations from the Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth (PMAY), a collaborative of music education organizations serving elementary through high school students across Greater Philadelphia, include: Musicopia, Philadelphia Sinfonia, Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, Play On, Philly!, Project 440, School District of Philadelphia Office of Music Education, Settlement Music School, Temple University Music Preparatory Division, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and The Primavera Fund. Each organization serves an essential role in the region’s music education community and enhances student talent in a unique way.

“Working together with the participants in the PMAY collaborative has been incredibly enriching for all of us,” says Settlement Music School CEO Helen S. Eaton. “Our collaborations over the past five years have shown that each of the member organizations, aligned to a common goal, are much more than the sum of our parts. With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we can work to strengthen the supports that each organization already provides to students from underrepresented communities. Becoming a professional classical musician requires incredible dedication, sacrifice, devoted teachers and mentors, instruments, a myriad of learning opportunities, and much more that can be daunting without the necessary support. By working collectively to make sure our promising musicians can succeed, the PMAY collaborative can give them matchless opportunities for individual instrumental study, ensemble and chamber music study, summer study, audition assistance, and college preparation.” Settlement Music School will serve as the lead partner and act as the re-granting entity.

Maud Lyon, President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, heralds the spirit of collaboration exhibited by the PMAY coalition. “This is a tremendous example of how our arts organizations make Philadelphia unique. Settlement and the PMAY coalition are breaking new ground in music education, creating an unprecedented collaboration that will have profound impact upon the careers of emerging musicians. This transformative grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a strategic long-term investment that ensures that talented young musicians, regardless of their resources or background, will have access to the incredible array of arts education opportunities that these organizations provide.”
The Mellon-funded program, titled “PMAY Artists’ Initiative,” will commence with musician recruitment in spring 2017. Approximately 75 students from throughout the Philadelphia region will be identified in the first cohort of students by summer 2017. Students will benefit from individualized plans especially tailored to help nurture the students’ abilities and improve their strengths to set them up for success.
A national search for a program manager, who will have expertise in collaborations, the orchestral field, and in music education, is underway.

Philadelphia is the first city in the nation to receive funding at this level from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the future of young musicians.

Learn more and stay informed about the PMAY Artists' Initiative at: www.settlementmusic.org/pai.

Branching Out: New Art Exhibit at the Germantown Branch

The Lieberman Gallery of Allens Lane Art Center, located at the Germantown Branch at Settlement Music School, 6128 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA presents Branching Out, a group exhibition of artists who explore botanical structures in their work. Nancy Agati, Cynthia Back, Lyn Godley, Gina Michaels and Amie Potsic work with innovative printmaking techniques, collage, photography, mixed media and fiber optic drawing to contemplate the design and emotional possibilities inherent in plant structures and the botanical world.

Branching Out will be on view from January 8 – February 12, 2017 at the Lieberman Gallery of Allen’s Lane Art Center. The gallery will host an artist reception on Saturday, January 28 from 3:00 to 4:00 PM following a student recital, which will run from 2:00 to 3:00. All are welcome for both events.

Nancy Agati examines visual relationships and transformations found in nature. She is interested in elements from nature that communicate the passage of time and illustrate cyclical occurrences. She will exhibit drawings of natural matrix structures using ink, graphite, clay slip, handmade paint and polymer. www.nancyagati.com

Cynthia Back’s work is a meditation on fragility and change. Her focus ranges from microcosmic nature to cataclysmic world events. A master printmaker, Cynthia Back will show prints using grasses, tree trunks and seed pods as abstracted design elements. Techniques include woodcuts, reduction linocut, etching, aquatint, and chine collé. www.cynthiaback.com

Lyn Godley is an artist and lighting designer. Her work has crossed the borders of interiors, product, furniture, lighting and jewelry. She will exhibit drawings of cherry blossoms and fields of wheat that merge digital printing and pastel drawing with fiber optics. www.lyngodley.com

Gina Michaels is a sculptor and printmaker. Her works explores the structural and emotional relationship between humans and the botanical world. She will be showing botanical monotype prints created with plants from her Germantown garden. www.ginamichaels.com

Amie Potsic is a photographer and installation artist whose work addresses cultural, personal, and natural phenomena through the lens of social responsibility. Her Enchanted Forest series references the sensory experience of being within the forest while encouraging us to appreciate and preserve its future. www.amiepotsic.com

Allens Lane Art Center was founded in 1953 by an interracial group of Mt. Airy residents who were concerned about the dangers of increasing community tension. Most were parents of children attending local schools who felt that increasing access to the arts would be a way to bring people together as well as develop individual talents. "Living Together Through the Arts," a program of The Ford Foundation and the Henry Home & School Association, originally sponsored ALAC. It was formally incorporated as a nonprofit organization on June 29, 1953.

The Lieberman Gallery, part of the Lieberman Auditorium at the Germantown Branch of Settlement Music School was begun in 2013, a collaboration with Allens Lane Art Center to provide a satellite gallery space for emerging artists in Northwest Philadelphia. New exhibits are hung approximately every six weeks and artist receptions are held in conjunction with student recital programs so that artists and musicians have the opportunity to share their work with each other.

For more information, please contact Diane Connelly at diane@allenslane.org or 215-760-8650.

The artists of Branching Out. From left: Cynthia Beck, Nancy Agati, Lyn Godley (Top), Gina Michaels and Amie Potsic

Great news to wrap up 2016

Saaya Spearman (pictured at right), piano student of Lois DiDomenico and ballet student of Kaye Fernandez at the Mary Louise Curtis Branch, was accepted early decision to Yale University, where she plans to double-major in music and another subject. Saaya has been a student at Settlement since she was in the Kaleidoscope Preschool Arts Enrichment Program.

Hannah Silverberg, flute student of Ilya Ovrutsky at the Mary Louise Curtis Branch and a member the Weinstein Advanced Study Woodwind Ensemble coached by Geoffrey Deemer, won First Place in the All-City Orchestra concerto competition. Hannah will perform Mozart's Flute Concerto in D Major, 1st movement, with the All-City Orchestra at their annual concert on March 8, 2017 at Verizon Hall under the baton of Joseph Conyers. Hannah started to take flute lessons with Mr. Ovrutsky at age 5, and she is now in 12th year in his flute studio at Settlement.

Eleanor Murphy, clarinet student of Larry Shusterman at the Willow Grove Branch, was accepted to the PMEA District 11 Band.

Patrick White, saxophone student of Larry Shusterman at the Willow Grove Branch, was accepted to the Montgomery County Honors Band.

Sandra Carlock, piano faculty and Arthur Judson Distinguished Faculty Chair, received a Top Teacher Award from Steinway for "outstanding instruction and leadership in piano education."

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Settlement CEO Helen Eaton Recognized among Musical America's Innovators of the Year

Settlement Music School CEO Helen Eaton was recognized as one of Musical America's Top 30 Innovators of 2016.

From Musical America:

"The Musical America Worldwide audience voted for the innovators and here they are: women composers who mentor teenage girls to follow in their footsteps; opera company GM’s who are pushing the envelope and bringing in new audiences; a cellist who plays in neo-natal units; a conductor who leads choirs of homeless men and women; a pianist bringing back the pedal piano by commissioning new works for it; a competition in which everybody wins; a publicist who creates a press kit with origami cranes to promote a show called Wings.

Their ideas and the courage to follow them through, no matter how off-the-wall, controversial, or otherwise out of the box, keep us moving forward, spur us on to stay creative and keep the field of performing arts vital and exciting."

Read Helen Eaton's profile online.

The Real Impact of the Arts, Shown through Science

An art project, a handwritten poster, a video or a photo—all of these demonstrate what pre-kindergarten students work on each day. The best evidence of what they learn, it turns out, is invisible, but it can be found through a sample of their saliva.

Taking a saliva sample under the tongue lasts only about a minute, but it forms the foundation for remarkable new research conducted by Dr. Eleanor Brown of West Chester University. Dr. Brown has studied students in Kaleidoscope, Settlement Music School’s nationally-renowned, arts-integrated pre-kindergarten program, since 2008, looking at the effects of arts-integrated education on children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.  The latest research, published in the journal Child Development, points to exposure to the arts helping to counteract the negative emotional and physical effects of poverty and offers, in Brown’s words, “indisputable evidence of the arts’ impact.”

The findings, titled “Can the Arts Get Under the Skin? Arts Classes and Cortisol Levels for Economically Disadvantaged Preschool Children,” reflects four years of collaboration between West Chester University’s Early Childhood Cognition and Emotions Lab and Settlement’s Early Childhood program. The research, funded in part through a National Endowment for the Art Artworks grant, involves testing cortisol, a hormone associated with elevated stress levels. Over the course of four years, saliva samples were taken from Kaleidoscope students at the beginning, middle and end of the school year and tested for cortisol levels.

Sampling was conducted following both arts classes and general academic instruction, and measurements taken before and after the students’ arts classes showed reduced levels of cortisol. “Because the impact of the Kaleidoscope arts classes is visible through testing rather than through observed behavior, we now have strong evidence of the ability of music and the related arts to get ‘under the skin’ of those who take part,” Dr. Brown says.

The recent research on cortisol builds on earlier research by Brown, as well as her colleagues and students, dating back to 2008. Her previous findings on school-readiness and emotion regulation have shown that Kaleidoscope better prepares its students better than peer pre-K programs without intensive arts-based programs, and that students show higher vocabulary scores, the increased ability of students to manage emotions, and greater levels of positive emotional qualities like interest, happiness and pride.

“The tremendous impact that the Kaleidoscope program and its innovative curriculum has on these young children’s lives is clear to all of us at Settlement,” says Helen Eaton, Chief Executive Officer of Settlement Music School. “We are so grateful for the opportunity, through Dr. Brown’s research, to share what happens every day at Settlement with a wider audience so that children and educators alike might benefit.”

Learn more about the Kaleidoscope program here, and find more of Dr. Brown's research, including the most recent study in Child Development, here.

Dr. Eleanor Brown, of West Chester University

Famed International Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel Returns to Philadelphia for a Concert to Benefit Settlement Music School

"Igniting Philly's Jazz Future" to be held Friday, December 23 at 7:30 PM at Settlement's Germantown Branch (6128 Germantown Avenue).

Click the image for more information and the online ticket order form

Click the image for more information and the online ticket order form

Kurt Rosenwinkel, one of the top guitarists in the world of jazz, will make a rare concert appearance in his hometown of Philadelphia at Settlement Music School. The concert will be held at Settlement’s Germantown Branch, located at 6128 Germantown Avenue. This concert will be the first major event at the Germantown Branch since a major exterior renovation in 2015.

General admission tickets are available for $30 and can be purchased through Settlement’s website. All ticket sales benefit Settlement Music School, and the School invites patrons to donate one or more tickets with their purchase so that Settlement students who receive financial aid can attend the concert free of charge.

Mr. Rosenwinkel is a Philadelphia native who took guitar lessons and played in the Rohm & Haas Jazz Ensemble at Settlement during his youth. He later attended the Creative and Performing Arts High School and the Berklee College of Music. For many years, he has been based in Berlin and has performed and recorded with such noted artists as Brad Mehldau, Brian Blade, Mark Turner, Joshua Redman, Chris Potter and fellow Settlement Music School alumnus Justin Faulkner and with esteemed jazz elders like Joe Henderson, Paul Motian and Gary Burton.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kurt back to Philadelphia and to present his music to the next generation of jazz artists who are currently studying at Settlement,” said Helen Eaton, Settlement’s Chief Executive Officer. “It means so much to me to see our former students succeed in their chosen fields, both in music and in other fields, and to have them share their knowledge and experience with our current students and their families.”

Rosenwinkel will be joined by Mike Boone on acoustic bass and Lawrence Leathers on drums. The Helen K. Schwartz Advanced Study Jazz Ensemble, coached by Settlement faculty member and noted jazz artist Tony Miceli, will serve as opening act.

For online ticket purchases, visit www.settlementmusic.org/rosenwinkel. For any questions or to order tickets over the phone, contact Patrick LaVecchia-Burke at 215.320.2684

Settlement alumna returns home to Philadelphia area

Serafin String Quartet (SSQ), the quartet in residence at the University of Delaware, welcomes acclaimed violist Sheila Browne. Browne was principal viola of the Settlement Music School Chamber Orchestra - the precursor to the current Trowbridge Chamber Orchestra - from 1985- 1989. Sheila Browne has also joined the University of Delaware's Department of Music faculty at professor of viola. She joins both the University and the Quartet from her position at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she had been on the faculty for ten years.

Hailed by The New York Times as a "stylish player,” Browne is an accomplished soloist, chamber musician, professor and orchestral principal. She received a Naumburg scholarship and a Bachelor of Music degree at the Juilliard School, where she was famed pedagogue Karen Tuttle's teaching assistant for four years. Click here for Browne’s full biography.

How did Settlement students and Alumni spend their summers?

Current students

Charly Avril, flute student of Tom Meany at the Willow Grove Branch, attended the Mansfield University Flute Camp Intensive this past June.

Mary Cirelli, flute student of Tom Meany at the Willow Grove Branch, received one of the four Dr. James A. Madden Memorial Scholarships. This $750 tuition award is in memory of the late Dr. Madden who was a long time teacher for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Sadie Ellis, flute student of Tom Meany at the Germantown Branch, has been accepted through competitive audition to be a member of the Philadelphia Sinfonia Players.

Semaj Murphy, in addition to joining the roster of The Primavera Fund, violin student of Abby Nixon at the Germantown Branch, gave a performance at a choir camp at St. Martin’s in the Field Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill along with Cyrus Fisher, piano student of Lois DiDomenico, and Seirah Davis, voice student of Judith Turano.

Audrey Trullinger, voice student of Judith Turano at the Willow Grove Branch, was one of 40 students selected nationwide to work with Michael Feinstein at the Songbook Academy at Butler University in Indiana. 

Kara Yoo, flute student of Tom Meany at the Willow Grove Branch, and Sophia Yoo, violin student of Lee Snyder at the Willow Grove Branch, both received 2nd Place in the Senior Ensemble Category at the Tri-County Concerts Association Annual Youth Festival.

Alumni

Nicholas Brown, former guitar student of William Peters and son of trombone and tuba faculty member Brian Brown, is serving as a Philadelphia fire fighter. Nick was class leader of Class #192 and gave the commencement address.  Nick is stationed at Engine 16 in West Philadelphia.

Daveed Buzaglo sang his graduation recital at Oberlin Conservatory in the spring and performed at Tanglewood this summer.

Kristal Daniels is currently singing the role of Violetta in a full scale production of Verdi’s La Traviata in Ravenna, Italy with La Música Lírica, conducted by Joseph Rescigno.  La Música Lírica is an internationally renowned training program for professional opera singers.

Matthew Fleisher is singing the lead roles of Sarastro in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Theseus in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina.

A musical journey at Germantown

The Chestnut Hill Local recently featured Matthew Flynn, currently a piano student of Scott Coulter and a musicianship student of Michael Stambaugh at the Germantown Branch. Over the course of Matthew's studies at Settlement, he has participated in Children's Music Workshop, studied both classical and jazz piano, played in a student rock band, delved into music theory and harmony through Musicianship classes, and begun to write his own original composition.

Matthew's creativity, curiosity and passion for music have been a constant throughout his time at Settlement. His path as a student -- starting out with Children's Music Workshop, then moving into individual lessons, followed by enrolling in ensembles and classes -- is one that any student of any age can take.

Read more about Matthew here: http://www.chestnuthilllocal.com/2016/08/25/student-from-gfs-15-already-making-mark-as-composer/.

The Primavera Fund supports Settlement students

Semaj Murphy, violin student of Abby Nixon at the Germantown Branch, joined the roster of The Primavera Fund this summer. The Primavera Fund, established in 2014, is a nonprofit foundation supporting the development of young musicians aiming for professional careers in music.

He joins another current Settlement student on the roster: violinist Lily Alexandra Mell, who is member of the Trowbridge Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Jeri Lynne Johnson.

The Primavera Fund's mission is to identify, mentor, and underwrite the artistic endeavors of young musicians whose talent surpasses their financial means, and it offers its students a comprehensive program, including instruments on loan from The Norman Holland Hull Instrument Library, private instruction on a weekly basis, scholarships for youth orchestra, chamber music, and intensive summer programs, and more.

Semaj Murphy performing at the Germantown Branch.

Semaj Murphy performing at the Germantown Branch.

Grant Supports Settlement's Work in Camden

We are proud to announce that the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that supports arts, education, environment and informed-communities initiatives in New Jersey, has renewed its support of our students in Camden County with a $10,000 grant that supports financial aid funding and programming at Settlement's Camden Branch, co-located with Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy. We are honored to be part of the nonprofit community making it better, together.