CLASSICOOL is Lyric's Classical music in School initiative. Without any cost to the school, Lyric sends renowned musicians to schools, both with and without a music program for concerts and workshops.
Education has been an important aspect of the Lyric Chamber Music Society of New York’s mission since its inception - - both for students and adults. Lyric’s education programming began in April 1998, at our second public offering, when the great flutist, Jean-Pierre Rampal performed at two events in one day.
The children were prepared by their teacher in Long Island, Gary Schall, who has since become the head of music in his school system. Each student was given a tape with a headset with information about flutes, music, and Rampal. The event was filmed at the Kosciuszko Foundation by director Alan Miller (Isaac Stern in China and other films) and his colleagues at the request of philanthropist Walter Scheuer. Each student was given a recording by Mr. Rampal, provided by Peter Gelb, (the current Managing Director of the Metropolitan Opera,) then the head of SONY classical.
The Lyric has brought chamber music to more than 7500 school students, and counting. Our educational outreach in Manhattan is part of our commitment and our responsibility to introduce children to classical music. Concert Masters and blossoming performers have performed in New York City schools, from Mott Hall II School, P.S. 191, WestEnd Secondary School, P.S. 1 in Chinatown and Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem.
When the head of the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation met our Artistic Director/ Founder Dr. Joan Kretschmer, Norman Peck invited Joan to create music programming for the Harlem Day Charter School. Initially, in the first year, keyboard instruments were purchased by the Foundation and funding provided for weekly lessons taught by Dr. Kretschmer and Richard Bishop, Tchaikovsky Competition Winner and accompanist of Isaac Stern. Avery Fisher Career Grant Winner, clarinetist Igor Begelman, and his wife Larissa (now head of the 92 Street Y’s Education Program) gave concerts for the student body, as did saxophone virtuoso/composer Daniel Schnyder, and others.
In the second and third years of the program, clarinet and percussion lessons were added for students. Under a prestigious grant from Chamber Music America, students from Harlem Day Charter School had the opportunity to spend a week writing songs and performing with pianist Matt Herskowitz, bassist Mat Fieldes, and percussionist David Rozenblatt from MaD Fusion. The culmination was a concert for parents.
The Lyric is expanding its education program by arranging appreciation classes in underserved schools by artists performing on our concert series. These events will be free of charge for the schools. Interested schools are welcome to contact our Executive Director.