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 in throughout the United States, Australia and Spain. She was the 2007-2008 recipient of the Winston-Salem Forsyth Council Regional Artist Grant sponsored in part by the National Endowment of the Arts that funded the recording and distribution of a CD entitled Remembrances from Home on the Centaur Label.
Christina has presented on chamber music pedagogy several times at the National American String Teachers Conference. Two time prize winner of the National David Dalton Research Competition sponsored by the American Viola Society, she has numerous peer reviewed journal publications at the national and international levels on Nationalistic viola literature, women composers of viola literature, using kinesthetic memory techniques to improve intonation, and chamber music pedagogy. She has also co-authored three volumes based upon her chamber music research entitled 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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Phil Vlahakis is thrilled to be a part of Harmony Program’s effort to bring music education to youth in underserved communities. Phil was most recently Managing Director of Partnerships and Strategy at …Read More ›
Phil Vlahakis is thrilled to be a part of Harmony Program’s effort to bring music education to youth in underserved communities. Phil was most recently Managing Director of Partnerships and Strategy at PowerMyLearning, a national nonprofit that strengthens the triangle of learning relationships between students, teachers, and families so every child succeeds. There, he held both strategy and development roles focused on building support for the organization’s growth and sustainability. Prior to PowerMyLearning, he served as Vice President for Kaplan K12 Learning Services, an organization dedicated to propelling student achievement in school districts facing the greatest challenges. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Binghamton University and an MBA from Columbia Business School. Phil is also a composer and musical theater writer, and proud to be a product of the New York City public school system.
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Jackie Levine joins Harmony Program with a longstanding interest in El Sistema-Inspired (ESI) music education organizations…Read More ›
Jackie Levine joins the Harmony Program with a longstanding interest in El Sistema-inspired (ESI) music education organizations. As an undergraduate, she spent the summer of 2015 teaching violin and conducting ensembles with an ESI program called Arpégio, Peru. Additionally, she organized and led a student trip to visit 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.
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Social Media Assoiate
Bebe Howell joins Harmony with both a passion for the arts as well as years of digital marketing experience. A classically-trained musician…Read More ›
Bebe Howell joins Harmony with both a passion for the arts as well as years of digital marketing experience. A classically-trained musician turned creative business student, she currently studies at New York University in the undergraduate Music Business program. She has worked in social media as an intern, consultant, and part-time employee for various companies and organizations all over the city. Outside of Harmony’s social media, Bebe enjoys traveling around the country to attend music festivals, and visiting local shows to check out the up-and-coming artists that New York has to offer.
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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 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.
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Roy Niederhoffer, Chairman
Dr. Kalmon Post
Elise Schmidt Bal, President
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