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.
Who We Are
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”).
Director of Education
Norma Núñez-Ruch is a native Venezuelan, who has been involved with El Sistema Venezuela for more than 20 years, with a wide scope on its philosophy, mission and vision, and a…Read More ›
Norma Núñez-Ruch is a native Venezuelan, who has been involved with El Sistema Venezuela for more than 20 years, with a wide scope on its philosophy, mission and vision, and a depth understanding on its application abroad. She gained first-hand knowledge of El Sistema pedagogy as a student violist in the Venezuelan program for fourteen years. An accomplished violist, she played with Venezuelan orchestras from age 10 until she turned 20. After graduating from the University of Santa Maria in Caracas, Norma went on to work for the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela for over 7 years, in various administrative roles.
Norma is an advocate for El Sistema inspired programs elsewhere in the world, and has attended annual El-Sistema-Inspired Programs Conferences international, including several of the Take a Stand conferences in Los Angeles. She was named a Ford Motor Company International Fellow of the 92nd Street Y in 2011, being the first and only Venezuelan to receive this award. As an educator, Norma taught viola in several nucleos at El Sistema, in her native Venezuela; and in 2014-2015 -while studying for her master’s degree in Cultural Management at Universidad Carlos III- she coached the children of the Jonsui Children’s Orchestra in Madrid, Spain. For the last 3 years she has been the Program Director of El Sistema Lehigh Valley, a program of the Allentown Symphony Association that brings music instruction to over 100 students in 3 different sites; and has also assumed the role of Education Director for the symphony. She is fluent in Spanish and English.
Bethany Wyshak has worked in arts administration in New York City for nearly a decade. Committed to bringing music education to the city’s underserved communities, Bethany is thrilled to be part of the Harmony…Read More ›
Bethany Wyshak has worked in arts administration in New York City for nearly a decade. Committed to bringing music education to the city’s underserved communities, Bethany is thrilled to be part of the Harmony Program team. Prior to joining Harmony, Bethany worked in Operations and Artistic Planning at the New York Philharmonic and in the President’s Office at Manhattan School of Music, where she also earned her Master’s degree in Classical Voice. An experienced choral singer, Bethany performed with the National Chorale at David Geffen Hall during the 2008-‘09 and ‘09-‘10 seasons. Bethany holds Music and English Literature undergraduate degrees from the George Washington University, where she garnered honors for her capstone thesis, The Grand Travesty: Playing Gender on the Opera Stage. In her spare time, Bethany enjoys performing with Wandering Downhome, an indie-folk band.
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…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.
Jackie Levine joins Harmony Program with a longstanding interest in El Sistema-Inspired Music Education organizations…Read More ›
Jackie Levine joins the Harmony Program with a longstanding interest in El Sistema-inspired music education organizations. As an undergraduate, she spent the summer of 2015 teaching violin and conducting ensembles in Arpégio, Peru. Additionally, she organized and led a student trip to similar programs in the Baltimore/DC area. Just prior to joining us, Jackie was Assistant Editor of music textbooks in the Higher Education Division at Oxford University Press and is excited to apply her experience developing music-related educational content to her work at the Harmony Program.
Jackie graduated from Princeton University in May, 2016 with high honors in musicology and orchestral conducting performance.
Director of Development
Corby Herschman brings a passion for fundraising and youth development to the Harmony Program team, and is new to the city. For the past four years, Corby was Director of Development for Girls Inc. of Greater…Read More ›
Corby Herschman brings a passion for fundraising and youth development to the Harmony Program team, and is new to the city. For the past four years, Corby was Director of Development for Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta. During her time with the organization, she was responsible for planning and executing strategies for fundraising through corporate, foundation, government, and individual sources and events. She holds an MBA from Emory University, with concentrations in strategy and marketing, and received the 2017 Evening MBA Leadership Award and the 2017 Organization & Management Faculty Award. She holds a BA in public relations and nonprofit management from the University of Florida. Corby has been recognized as a member of the 2016 “30 Under 30” Nonprofit Leaders class, awarded by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits and Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, and as a member of the 2017 “40 Under 40” for Jewish Atlanta, awarded by the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Cynthia started working with Harmony as an intern during their summer camp in 2017. Harmony’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 Harmony as an intern during their summer camp in 2017. Harmony’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.
Our Board of Directors
Barbara Daniel, Treasurer
Roy Niederhoffer, Chairman
Dr. Kalmon Post
Our Junior Board
Dan Jeon, Secretary
Elise Schmidt, President
Play Your Part
Our students and teachers make a tremendous commitment to learning music, but it’s your commitment as a Harmony Program supporter that makes it possible. Donate today and help change lives through music.
BE IN THE KNOW
Sign up for email updates and stay informed of concerts, events, and opportunities to join us in expanding access to music education.
Apply To Teach
If you’re passionate about making a difference through music, we want to hear from you. Apply to teach with the Harmony Program and share your talents while developing new skills.
Want to get involved? Whether you’re an educator, community partner, parent, or friend, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us to learn more, share ideas, or just say hello.