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 Thursday, 10 October 2013 10:30

Philadelphia 10/11/2013 — Featuring a range of musicians from diverse musical cultures, LiveConnections’ 2013-2014 concert season highlights the role of the soloist in pushing the boundaries of classical music traditions. The new season features a lineup of soloists who have inspired or created new collaborative works or commissions that provide new ways of interpreting or listening to classical music.

LiveConnections calls its concert series ClassicAlive, highlighting its commitment to presenting fresh, “alive” music. Most concerts take place in the intimate, laid-back atmosphere of partner venue World Cafe Live, where concertgoers can enjoy food and drink while hearing unexpected musical pairings or newly commissioned world premieres.

The season opened in September with a free outdoor concert by Luigi Mazzocchi and the Pagode Project, performed outside at The Porch at 30th Street Station.

The next concert, at World Cafe Live on October 27, will feature Philadelphia Orchestra harpist Elizabeth Hainen and storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston, backed by a quartet of Philadelphia Orchestra musicians. Hainen and Alston, familiar faces to Philadelphia classical music patrons, will use the intimate, informal setting to present works outside of the traditional classical model. The repertoire features works from Hainen’s new album, including the appropriately Halloween-themed Debussy “Danses” and Caplet “The Mask of the Red Death.”

The remainder of the season features unique pairings between a cellist and a contemporary ballet dancer; a clarinetist playing jazz, classical and Arabic music; a program of world premieres for violin paired with an eclectic mix of instruments; and a classical guitarist with a passion for working with young composers.

Of the six concerts in the 2013-2014 season, four feature artists who have previously worked with LiveConnections as performers or educators. Some, like violinist Kristin Lee, have been involved with LiveConnections since its very first concert in 2008. Others, like cellist Yumi Kendall, have been regular contributors to LiveConnections’ interactive educational program, Bridge Sessions.

Mary Javian, ClassicAlive curator, says, “LiveConnections has developed a special niche in pairing artists from different genres or musical styles. In addition to the innovative artistry that results, these new collaborations often lead to in ongoing partnerships between artists who might not otherwise have worked together. The initial project makes them think differently about their music and their instruments, and that ends up sparking ongoing growth and change.”

The new season also features a number of world premieres and commissioned works that incorporate instruments not often heard together, such as clarinet and guitar, or violin paired with steelpan and theramin. This kind of cross-genre collaboration is representative of LiveConnections’ mission to build musical bridges between cultures and musical styles, and to be the impetus for new compositions and partnerships.

On October 1, 2013, LiveConnections celebrated five years of creating innovative, cross-genre musical collaborations with a fifth anniversary celebration to honor the musicians, artists and students who have helped shape LiveConnections’ mission.

Highlights of the 2013-2014 ClassicAlive season include:

  • Harpist Elizabeth Hainen and storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston on October 27, 2013, bringing to life Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Mask of the Red Death" and Caplet’s musical interpretation of it. Hainen, lauded by the Washington Post and the New York Times as a soloist, has performed throughout the world, showcasing the diversity of her instrument. She spans the classical and contemporary music world, reaching nonclassical audiences through new commissions and as founder of the Lyra Society, a nonprofit foundation that provides educational outreach to school children in urban Philadelphia. Charlotte Blake Alston, known as the narrator for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s family programs, will also perform several spoken-word poetry pieces to contrast her work as a storyteller.
  • Cellist Gabriel Cabezas and BalletX’s Chloe Felesina in a pax de deaux of music and movement on February 2, 2014. Cabezas, a classically trained musician who has been working under the great cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pushes the boundaries of traditional cello music to explore electronic music and unusual collaborations. Felesina, a professional ballerina, has danced a number of roles with professional ballet companies, but here will juxtapose the music of Bach, Britten and Golijov with improvisation and a modern approach to choreography.
  • A blend of clarinet, double bass, percussion and guitar on March 14, 2014, led by Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh playing classical, jazz and the music of his homeland. The Juilliard-trained musician played with Yo-Yo Ma in the Silk Road Project, an arts nonprofit promoting cross-cultural dialogue.
  • On April 25, 2014, a concert of world premieres commissioned by violinist Kristin Lee, an Astral Artist who performed in the very first ClassicAlive concert in 2010. The five award-winning composers—each also a well-established artists who will perform with Lee—bring the distinct sounds, styles and backgrounds of their native countries to the pieces they’ve written for violin and steelpan, guitar, theramin, South Indian singing and spoken word.
  • Rising guitar star and Curtis graduate Jordon Dodson on May 4, 2014, co-presented by the Wilmington Classical Guitar Society, playing a piece commissioned from composer Gabriella Smith, also a Curtis graduate. Dodson, who frequently uses his guitar to champion contemporary music, will also play a piece by young composer Elliot Cole, alongside traditional works by Bach and Jobim.


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 boost music education for under-resourced 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
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[Image: Amanda Stevenson Photography]

[Image: Amanda Stevenson Photography]

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