LiveConnections' Bridge Sessions and in-school residencies provide interactive educational opportunities for youth from city schools & people with disabilities.


Our LiveConnections Presents concert series features collaborative concerts designed for adventurous music-lovers.


We prioritize accessibility for people with disabilities through Bridge Sessions, workshops & live webcasts.

Written by Lindsay Westley   
Published on Monday, 16 September 2013 10:30

Bridge Session Philadelphia 09/16/2013 — LiveConnections, a local music nonprofit, has been serving students and special-needs audiences in the Philadelphia area for five years, reaching more than 14,000 participants through its educational Bridge Sessions. As school district budgets have become increasingly uncertain, LiveConnections’ lineup of teaching artists provides crucial music education that many students might not otherwise receive.

More than 4,500 students experienced LiveConnections’ Bridge Sessions during its 2012-2013 season, snapping, clapping, dancing and playing along with artists from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture and Alô Brasil, as well as jazz musicians, African drummers, blues bands and movement artists. Thirty-nine different schools attended the innovative, custom-tailored music programs presented by LiveConnections last year — with 95 percent of students attending for free. The programs took place at partner venue World Cafe Live, where students were exposed to a world-class venue and high-quality performances.

This year, Bridge Session teaching artists span classical, hip-hop, rock, jazz, Latin, African and electronic styles, with diverse musical genres represented in each session. Sessions are crafted to elicit student participation, with hands-on activities and opportunities for self-expression. The innovative approach helps participants understand how different musical styles relate, how the building blocks of music shape sound and how music connects people across cultures and backgrounds. Beyond just musical knowledge, the sessions also encourage participants to think about teamwork, creativity, diversity and identity.

Gamal Sherif, a U.S Department of Education Teaching Ambassador Fellow and faculty member at partner school Science Leadership Academy, says: "This is a terrific community resource that has deeply enriched our public high school curriculum. The professional expertise of the LiveConnections staff is outstanding. They have a deep understanding of music education and the importance of having students connect with the subject matter. LiveConnections is an important component of our interest in students' personal, intellectual and civic growth."

“We want to show kids how music is made and then how it can really cross cultures and genres,” said LiveConnections co-founder and arts educator David Bradley, who curates Bridge Sessions. “Music is an incredibly important part of education that transcends language and specific subject areas. We want students to experience how music can act as a living language to break down barriers.”

On October 1, 2013, LiveConnections will celebrate five years of serving student and special-needs populations with a fifth anniversary celebration to honor the musicians, teachers and students who have helped shape LiveConnections’ mission to build musical bridges between communities.

Highlights of the 2013-2014 season include:


  • The continuation of an annual partnership with the Philadelphia Orchestra, featuring five sessions in which Orchestra members and teaching artists are paired with non-classical artists for unique cross-genre collaborations. Participating artists include Orchestra members Udi Bar-David, Daniel Han, Don Liuzzi, Harold Robinson and Angela Zator-Nelson; teaching artists Gabriel Globus-Hoenich, Rebecca Harris, Ryan Seay and Lisa Vaupel; along with movement artist Lela Aisha Jones, jazz saxophonist Ron Kerber, Arabic percussionist Hafez Kotain, songwriter Andrew Lipke and Cuban percussionist François Zayas.
  • A new session featuring celebrated spoken word poet Denice Frohman, winner of the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam, along with percussionist Josh Robinson and keyboard player Jeremy Dyen. The session will explore how the rhythmic language of spoken word allows students to express themselves and connect with those around them.
  • An in-school residency in partnership with the Mendelssohn Club, exploring themes related to Mendelssohn’s commission of a new work by Pulitzer Prize-nominated composer Julia Wolfe. LiveConnections teaching artists will work with students from partner school Science Leadership Academy throughout the year, culminating in a Bridge Session with Julia Wolfe and Mendelssohn Club members.
  • An in-depth exploration of world percussion for students from partner school Christopher Columbus Charter School. Students will attend a sequence of three percussion-themed Bridge Sessions with LiveConnections and have an opportunity to study African percussion in an after-school program run by Settlement Music School.
  • A partnership with nonprofit Art-Reach in which adults with cognitive disabilities will attend three Bridge Sessions throughout the year. The sessions will be live webcast so that people from the residential facilities or day programs who were unable to travel to the venue will still be able to enjoy the music.

Schools or organizations interested in participating in Bridge Sessions should contact LiveConnections at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 267-295-2947.


LiveConnections, a nonprofit organization in residence at World Cafe Live, creates programs that inspire learning and build community through collaborative music-making. In 2008, a team of artists, educators and entrepreneurs founded LiveConnections to address declining music education in Philadelphia schools and tap into the people-connecting power of music. Across all of our programs, LiveConnections is committed to artistry of the highest caliber, collaboration, community-building and accessibility/inclusion. We approach live music as an essential social and educational experience that helps create engaged and well-rounded global citizens.

Each year, LiveConnections reaches 5,000 participants with our dynamic educational programs. Bridge Sessions, our signature interactive performances at World Cafe Live, blend live music with hands-on activities. Sessions introduce students from Philadelphia public schools and youth and adults with disabilities to diverse musical cultures and build skills in listening, expressing ideas and synthesizing new information. We also offer in-school and after-school residencies at partner schools, providing sustained, in-depth music-making experiences for young people from under-resourced schools.

LiveConnections prioritizes accessibility for people with disabilities who face barriers to participation in the arts. We present Bridge Sessions and in-facility workshops targeted for youth and adults with cognitive and physical disabilities, and our interactive, adaptive approach means individuals may fully engage at their own ability levels.

In addition, LiveConnections curates a critically acclaimed concert series featuring adventurous, boundary-crossing collaborations. Our LiveConnections Presents concerts feature Grammy winners, local talent and rising stars; we frequently commission new music that blends musical styles and cultures; and our concert artists participate in our educational and community programming.


For more information, visit




Lindsay Westley, PR coordinator
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Foundation Support 2016-2017:
Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation
Corrine R. & Henry Bower Memorial Trust
CHG Charitable Trust
Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation
The Allen Hilles Fund
Independence Foundation
Patricia Kind Family Foundation
Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation
Christopher Ludwick Foundation
The Presser Foundation
Rosenlund Family Foundation
Caroline J.S. Sanders Trust
The Scholler Foundation
Howell Lockhart Seiple Trust
Seybert Foundation
Joseph Kennard Skilling Trust
Paula Steinebach Trust
Strauss Foundation
Union Benevolent Association
Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial
Wyncote Foundation



Additional Support:

LiveConnections is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.



Additional support provided in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, tax ID 26-2666641. The official registration and financial information of may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.