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 Melinda Steffy   
Published on Tuesday, 18 August 2015 10:30


LiveConnections honors Liz Dow of LEADERSHIP Philadelphia with its “Connector Award,” to be presented at LiveConnections’ annual Big Hurrah gala on October 6

“The feel-good event of the year!” —Michaela Majoun, former WXPN radio host

LiveConnections Big Hurrah

WHAT: annual gala featuring collaborative performances by local artists, as well as student showcases and the first Connector Award; proceeds benefit LiveConnections’ educational & community-building music-making
WHEN: Tuesday, October 6, 2015, from 5:30-8:30pm
VENUE: World Cafe Live - Philadelphia (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA)

Big HurrahPHILADELPHIA - Innovative music nonprofit LiveConnections announces its third annual fundraising gala, the Big Hurrah, held on October 6 at World Cafe Live. Called “the feel-good event of the year” by former WXPN radio host Michaela Majoun, the Big Hurrah features the best of LiveConnections artists collaborating across musical styles and genres, and also showcases student work from LiveConnections’ partner schools.

This year’s event features performances by Jakub Ciupiński, theremin; Yumi Kendall, cello (Philadelphia Orchestra); Kristin Lee, violin (Astral Artists); Josh Robinson, percussion (Alô Brasil); Alex Shaw, percussion (Alô Brasil); and Jacob Winterstein, spoken word; among others.

In addition, LiveConnections is proud to launch its new “Connector Award,” which recognizes achievements in creating collaborations and fueling innovations. Growing out of LiveConnections’ vision to create relationships and partnerships through collaborative music-making, the Connector Award honors an individual who shares that vision, and who works to build bridges, create collaborations and fuel innovation through the power of relationship.

At this year’s Big Hurrah, the first Connector Award will be given to Liz Dow, whose work with LEADERSHIP Philadelphia exemplifies this spirit. LEADERSHIP Philadelphia mobilizes and connects the talent of the private sector to serve the community, and Dow has inspired countless emerging and established leaders to take their work, and the Philadelphia region, to new levels. Through her personal leadership on boards in the arts, social services and education, Dow has modeled cross-sector commitment and demonstrated how to bring diverse people together for the common good.

LiveConnections has benefitted from Dow’s connecting work first-hand. Two LiveConnections board members have been recognized by LEADERSHIP Philadelphia as “Connectors,” and several additional board and staff members are graduates of the LEADERSHIP Philadelphia core and executive programs.

For more information about the Big Hurrah, visit

[Image: Jaci Downs Photography]

Liz DowABOUT LIZ DOW: Liz Dow, CEO, has run LEADERSHIP Philadelphia for 20 years. Prior to this appointment, Liz served as senior vice president with FirstUSA (now JPMorgan). She earned an MBA from the Wharton School and an MA from Cornell University. She served as a Wharton Public Policy Fellow at the White House. She currently serves on the boards of the local Knight Foundation and the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts Foundation. She chaired the Mural Arts board and has served on the boards of Girard College, Widener University, MEDecision, Christ Church Preservation Trust, the Please Touch Museum, the Philadelphia History Museum and the Philadelphia Zoo. She is a graduate of the FBI Citizen’s Academy. Liz was profiled on the cover of the SmartCEO magazine issue on “Leaders We Admire.” She was given the Mayor’s Citizenship Award, named by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of the 23 Most Influential Business People in the city, named by the Eagles as one of “The 75 Greatest Living Philadelphians,” and named to Fast Company’s list of “15 People Who Are Taking Networking to a New Level.” Liz was recently named to the Philadelphia Police Community Oversight Board. She is the author of the book “Six Degrees of Connection” and writes a blog on wonder at work for the Huffington Post.

ABOUT LIVECONNECTIONS: LiveConnections inspires learning and builds community through collaborative music-making. Since its founding in 2008, LiveConnections has re-imagined the landscape of live music and music education through unique collaborations that join artists from different genres to highlight how music crosses cultures and creates bridges of understanding. Programs reach people who would not normally experience this kind of music—such as youth from urban schools and people with disabilities—as well as musically adventurous audiences.

LiveConnections has reached more than 24,000 participants—both youth from city schools and individuals with disabilities—through its interactive Bridge Sessions at partner venue World Cafe Live. The sessions connect participants with some of the best musicians across the region, allowing participants to explore diverse musical cultures and express their own creativity. Almost all of these participants are from the city of Philadelphia, and 99% participate for free. As arts education has been disappearing from city school budgets, and as people with disabilities face barriers to accessing the arts, LiveConnections helps fill the gap.

The LiveConnections Presents concert series (formerly ClassicAlive) features six concerts each year highlighting unique artistic collaborations and adventurous music. Called “breathtaking” by the Philadelphia Weekly, the performances give musicians the chance to create distinctive, boundary-crossing music, frequently sparking new commissions and world premieres. LiveConnections’ partner venue World Cafe Live provides a relaxed atmosphere for audiences to experience cutting-edge compositions.

In addition, through its LiveStudio video initiative for underserved audiences, concerts and select Bridge Sessions are streamed live to reach people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to travel to the venue.


Latest News

Join our team! We're hiring a full-time Program & Development Coordinator

February 20, 2018 — Are you a multi-talented individual interested in learning the inner working of arts administration? LiveConnections seeks a full-time Program & Development Coordinator to support our music education and concert programming and to support fundraising efforts for our growing non-profit organization.

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.

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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.


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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.
[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.