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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[Image: Amanda Stevenson Photography]

[Image: Amanda Stevenson Photography]

Latest News

400+ Philly Kids to Rock Out for All-Day World Cafe Live Festival

January 8, 2018 — On Sunday, February 25, over 400 Philly-area kids will take to the stage at World Cafe Live for an all-day rock concert. The February event is the inaugural Kids Rock Philly: A Benefit For LiveConnections where kids from five regional Schools of Rock will perform in a six hour festival-style concert across both stages at World Cafe Live.

LiveConnections Wins 2018-2019 Barra Award for Exemplary Nonprofits in the Greater Philadelphia Region

December 5, 2017 — The Barra Foundation has announced that LiveConnections is a recipient of a 2018-2019 Barra Award. LiveConnections joins 43 exceptional nonprofit organizations in the Greater Philadelphia region that will each receive $50,000 in grant funding. Barra Awardees are nominated by their peers in the social sector and are then invited to submit an application to the Foundation.

Fifth House Ensemble and Jason Vieaux Join Forces for LiveConnections Concert

December 4, 2017 — LiveConnections’ 2017-18 concert series begins with the unlimited imagination and powerhouse artistry of the Fifth House Ensemble, which joins Grammy-winner Jason Vieaux, “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation” (NPR), to perform a one-night only concert including Dan Visconti’s “Living Language”  on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 7:30PM at World Cafe Live, Philadelphia.

Mount Airy Violin & Bows Partners with LiveConnections to Give the Gift of Music this Season

November 29, 2017 — This holiday season, Mount Airy Violins & Bows is giving the gift of music to Philadelphia youth. The shop has partnered with LiveConnections, the Philly non-profit dedicated to creating unique programs that inspire learning and build community through collaborative music-making, and will donate 5% of their holiday sales to help support LiveConnections’ mission.

LiveConnections Announces 2017-2018 Season of Community Collaboration

September 13, 2017 — Can music build community? This season’s performances provide the opportunity for musicians to create distinctive, boundary-blurring music, often involving new commissions and world premieres, while collaborating with members of the greater Philadelphia community and beyond. Programs include performances by Fifth House Ensemble, Jason Vieaux, VOCES8, Kinan Azmeh, Aizuri Quartet, and more.

LiveConnections Honors Drexel ExCITe Center’s Youngmoo Kim at Big Hurrah Celebration

August 22, 2017 — LiveConnections is thrilled to honor Youngmoo Kim, director of Drexel University’s ExCITe Center, with our 3rd annual Connector Award at this year's Big Hurrah on November 14. The evening will also include performances from Andrew Lipke, Angela Zator Nelson, David Rosen, Allen Pinkney, Luke Carlos O’Reilly, Kwasi Burgee, and more!

Announcing Hill-Freedman World Academy's album "First Verse" | July reflections from executive director Melinda Steffy

July 5, 2017 — Sometimes a simple connection takes on a life of its own. Read more from executive director Melinda Steffy about the making of the Hill-Freedman album, "First Verse".

It's been an inspiring season | June reflections from executive director Melinda Steffy

June 14, 2017 — We've had an inspiring year here at LiveConnections. 4600 participants in our educational programs, 5 commissions of new concert music, more than 45 tremendously talented artists. Take a look at our 2016-2017 year in review.

LA Opera’s Elizabeth Zharoff and Award-Winning Double Bassist Xavier Foley Team Up to Premiere Video Game Music at LiveConnections

April 25, 2017 — On June 2, two Curtis Institute grads will present an evening of classical tunes and original video game compositions at LiveConnections, in residence at World Cafe Live.


Kids Count 2017

April 17, 2017 — Help us raise $40,000 in 10 days through our annual Kids Count Campaign! Proceeds support our interactive Bridge Sessions; our in-school residencies where students write poetry, create their own drums and record original songs; our distinctive music education that inspires learning about collaboration, identity, social change and more.

Donate to LiveConnections


Join Our Mailing List



Blog Archive

LiveConnections is grateful for the support of numerous individuals, companies and foundations who believe in our mission and help make our programs possible.
[Become a supporter!]

Big Hurrah Sponsors:
(as of 10/24/2017)

$5000 School Sponsor

Drexel University


Fox Rothschild


Philly Music Fest


World Cafe Live





$2500 Collaboration Sponsor

Brandywine Realty






Dranoff Properties


Pepper Hamilton


University of Pennsylvania





$1000 Connecting Sponsors



Ballard Spahr






Cozen O'Connor


Curtis Institute of Music


Jonathan Fink Group




ITEM Media


Law Rocks


Philadelphia Insurance Companies


RSK Advisory


TGS Financial



$500 Sponsors
The Art Shop
Benjamin Cobrin & Company
BWA architecture + planning
Coscia Moos Architecture, LLC
Grace Tavern
Keystone First
Dr. Karyn Scher
W. Michael Tuman, DMD
University City Science Center



Connector Award



Business Support



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.