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The Harmony Program changes lives every day for hundreds of children across New York City by providing under-served communities with intensive, high-quality instrumental music instruction and performance opportunities that support both social development and academic success.

I founded the Harmony Program in 2003 while working as a policy advisor in the New York City Mayor's Office. As a musician, I could not accept the fact that our culturally rich city failed to provide so many of its students with a quality music education, so I created a pilot program to train musicians to teach in communities in need.

I fell in love with the work instantly. Then things got interesting. I left City Hall, incorporated the Harmony Program, and after a few years of cobbling together part-time jobs to support myself while I incubated my young organization, I decided to make a dramatic change. I applied for, and was awarded, a Fulbright Fellowship to move to Caracas, Venezuela to learn first-hand from the renowned social and cultural program, "El Sistema."

My year in Venezuela dramatically broadened my perspective on the impact of music on our communities and our lives. Upon my return to New York City, I adapted tenets of El Sistema's successful model to the needs of the City, and today the Harmony Program serves as arguably the nation's first "El Sistema-inspired" organization, continuing to thrive and bring musical opportunities to children across the five boroughs.

For more on my story and the founding of the Harmony Program:

Jose Antonio Abreu and Senators
Gala with Joshua Bell
Wynton Marsalis Accepts Award
New York Phiharmonic Partnership
ABC Nightly News
Performing with Canadian Brass
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