We’re a nonprofit organization that brings intensive after-school music programs to communities with limited access to instrumental music education.
At the Harmony Program, music changes lives every day.
Through collective music making, children from underserved communities explore new avenues and realize their full potential. Our specially trained teachers guide students from beginner group instruction to orchestral performance, building life skills and community from a shared love of music.
Learn more about how you can play your part
We partner with schools and community centers to create intensive after-school programs that teach children to read music, play orchestral instruments, and perform in ensembles. Our instruction follows an established curriculum, and we regularly assess and evaluate all of our programs to ensure high-quality learning experiences for all.
Learn more about our partnerships
The Harmony Program began as a pilot program in the New York City Mayor’s Office in 2003 and was incorporated as an independent nonprofit organization the following year. In 2008, Harmony established an institutional partnership with the City University of New York, and was re-launched in its current model with an emphasis on intensive instruction, ensemble performance, and teacher training.
The Harmony Program was founded by Anne Fitzgibbon, who studied and worked with Venezuela’s national youth orchestra system, El Sistema, on a year-long Fulbright Fellowship.
We’ve adapted the model and philosophy of El Sistema to the unique needs of our communities, and every day we create supportive environments for learning, instill life skills through music making, and encourage cooperation and responsibility through ensemble training.
Since 2008, we have collaborated with neighborhood schools, community-based organizations, cultural institutions, and universities. These partnerships continue to strengthen our capacity to deliver instrumental music education to children who might not otherwise discover the joy and many benefits of making music.
“Our institutional partnership with the City University of New York provides us with essential in-kind administrative support that allows us to do more for the students, teachers, and communities we serve.”
Our students are in elementary and middle school and begin the Harmony Program with little to no prior experience studying music. Each student receives a free instrument, comprehensive instruction, books, supplies, and tickets to concerts and cultural events throughout New York City.
Learn more about our students
Our teachers are students and alumni of music performance and music education programs. We provide our teachers with pre-service training, ongoing professional development, and a curriculum to guide their instruction. In addition to classroom experience and training, our teachers receive competitive hourly stipends for their work.
Learn more about our teachers
The vision of a better world made possible through music continues to guide our work, inform our mission, and shape the experiences of our students, teachers, and staff.
Anne Fitzgibbon is founder and Executive Director of the Harmony Program. Prior to founding the Harmony Program, Ms. Fitzgibbon worked for five years as a policy advisor in the Mayoral administrations… Read More ›
Anne Fitzgibbon is founder and Executive Director of the Harmony Program. Prior to founding the Harmony Program, Ms. Fitzgibbon worked for five years as a policy advisor in the Mayoral administrations of Michael R. Bloomberg and Rudolph W. Giuliani, focusing principally on social services, youth programs, and education.
Ms. Fitzgibbon holds a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs and Urban and Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. She graduated from Barnard College and studied clarinet at the Juilliard School.
In 2007-2008, Ms. Fitzgibbon was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to work with the Venezuelan National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras (“El Sistema”).
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Christina Placilla, DMA
Director of Education
Christina Placilla joins the Harmony Program with sixteen years of music educational experience as a string pedagogue and scholar-performer. She has served on the faculties of Winston-Salem State University…Read More ›
Christina Placilla joins the Harmony Program with sixteen years of music educational experience as a string pedagogue and scholar-performer. She has served on the faculties of Winston-Salem State University, University of North Carolina School of the Arts Summer Sessions, and Salem College. Christina earned her degrees in viola performance at California State University, Long Beach, the Hartt School, and the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Dr. Placilla has given solo and chamber music recitals throughout the United States, Australia and Spain and is the 2007-2008 recipient of the Winston-Salem Forsyth Council Regional Artist Grant sponsored in part by the National Endowment of the Arts. Two time prize winner of the National David Dalton Research Competition sponsored by the American Viola Society, she has numerous peer reviewed journal publications on music literature and pedagogy. She has also co-authored the books We Are the Music Makers: A Graded Guide to Chamber Music and wrote the children’s book Lola the Viola and Her String Instrument Family.
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Janet Kim joins the Harmony Program with a lifelong love for music and a sense of urgency for the need to provide access to music for all. Previously, Janet focused on …Read More ›
Janet Kim joins the Harmony Program with a lifelong love for music and a sense of urgency for the need to provide access to music for all. Previously, Janet focused on international development and spent five years in Kazakhstan, where she served as the Chief of Staff of the President’s Office of KIMEP University – the leading American-style university in the country – and as a Princeton in Asia fellow at PSI conducting impact studies of HIV- and TB-prevention programs targeting most at risk populations in Central Asia. Janet graduated from Princeton University in 2010 with a concentration in Slavic Languages and Literatures. Throughout her undergraduate years, she played the oboe with Sinfonia, was involved with the Princeton Laptop Orchestra, led a team of students that taught children music in underserved areas of Trenton and Philadelphia through MIMA Music, and hosted weekly concerts on campus showcasing student musicians.
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Mandy Decker has dedicated her entire career to bringing the arts to students around the United States. During her most recent years with the New York Philharmonic Education Department…Read More ›
Mandy Decker has dedicated her entire career to bringing the arts to students around the United States. During her most recent years with the New York Philharmonic Education Department, she coordinated all of the Partnership Programs, including the partnership with the Harmony Program All-Stars. Prior to her employment with the Philharmonic, she worked at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Black Box Studios, and the Children’s Theatre Company. When not pursuing her passion for arts education, you’ll find her preparing to run her first ultra-marathon.
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Social Media Associate
Esther Yang is happy to be a part of the Harmony Program with a passion for both music and social responsibility. She believes strongly in the El Sistema mission as she was…Read More ›
Esther Yang is happy to be a part of the Harmony Program with a passion for both music and social responsibility. She believes strongly in the El Sistema mission as she was able to experience its impact firsthand in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There, she had the opportunity to work as the marketing intern at a Buenos Aires-based nonprofit organization, sparking her love for nonprofit work. Currently, she is a Business, Marketing, & Design student at the NYU Stern School of Business, focusing on brand design and development, and taking on several marketing/social media management positions throughout her professional career. Outside of Harmony, you can find Esther playing the piano or watching some Sunday football (Go Broncos!).
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Sean Craig comes to Harmony Program with years of passion for music, community, and arts administration. In college, he studied music and theater, with a focus on…Read More ›
Sean Craig comes to Harmony Program with years of passion for music, community, and arts administration. In college, he studied music and theater, with a focus on ethnomusicology and performance’s role in social justice. He immersed himself in the DC arts community, working as a writer and theater practitioner, as well as interning for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. After graduating, Sean worked for a research and consulting start-up in Washington, DC, and he is thrilled to bring his strategic experience to Harmony Program.
Sean graduated from Georgetown University in 2016, with highest honors in American Musical Culture, Theater and Performance Studies, and English. In addition to his work at Harmony Program, Sean writes freelance music reviews and short fiction.
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Cynthia started working with the Harmony Program as an intern during their summer camp in 2017. The Harmony Program’s mission aligns with Cynthia’s passion for non-profit work and ties into her strong interest in social work. Currently, Cynthia is pursuing …Read More ›
Cynthia started working with the Harmony Program as an intern during their summer camp in 2017. The Harmony Program’s mission aligns with Cynthia’s passion for non-profit work and ties into her strong interest in social work. Currently, Cynthia is pursuing her undergraduate degree at Hunter College in Women & Gender studies. When she is not working at Harmony Program she is interning for SexGenLab whose mission is to disseminate knowledge about sexuality and gender to the public and policy makers. In addition, Cynthia loves dogs and is an avid reader.
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Roy Niederhoffer, Chairman
Dr. Kalmon Post
Elise Schmidt Bal, President
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