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 six collaborative concerts each year 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 creates unique 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 Philly schools and tap into the people-connecting power of music. We are a nonprofit organization in residence at World Cafe Live.

Each year, LiveConnections brings more than 5,000 students from city schools to World Cafe Live for our signature Bridge Sessions. These interactive educational programs blend live performances with hands-on activities, introducing students to diverse musical cultures and building skills in listening, expressing ideas and synthesizing new information. We also offer a number of in-school and after-school residencies at partner schools, providing sustained, in-depth music-making experiences for young people.

LiveConnections prioritizes accessibility for people with disabilities who face barriers to participation in the arts. We present several Bridge Sessions annually 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. Live webcasts of select sessions allow people unable to travel to the venue to participate.

In the spirit of innovative community-building that drives our organization, LiveConnections curates a critically acclaimed concert series featuring adventurous, boundary-crossing collaborations. Our LiveConnections Presents series puts together Grammy winners, local talent and rising stars. We frequently commission new music that blends musical styles and cultures.


For more information, visit




Lindsay Westley, PR coordinator
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[Image: Amanda Stevenson Photography]

[Image: Amanda Stevenson Photography]

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LiveConnections is grateful for the support of numerous individuals, companies and foundations who believe in our mission and help make our programs possible.
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(as of 09/14/2017)

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Fox Rothschild


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University of Pennsylvania





$1000 Connecting Sponsors

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Curtis Institute of Music


Jonathan Fink Group


Philadelphia Insurance Companies



$500 Sponsors
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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.