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 Melinda Steffy   
Published on Wednesday, 14 June 2017 00:00


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. Music spanning classical, jazz, Afro-Cuban, Guinean, Brazilian, electronica, rock, folk, blues, spirituals, samba, tango and so much more. Critically acclaimed concerts, interactive educational performances, hands-on residencies and workshops. Young people writing poetry, playing in percussion ensembles, trying capoeira, tracing the evolution of musical styles, learning the building blocks of music, finding their own voices.

Take a look at our 2016-2017 year in review:



Special guests Lizanne Knott, Ben Arnold, John Flynn, Lauren Hart & Jim Boggia performed at our annual gala, the Big Hurrah.


Radio host Helen Leicht received the 2016 Connector Award from LiveConnections' founding director David Bradley, executive director Melinda Steffy and president & co-founder Hal Real.


In our first LiveConnections Presents concert of the season, Benito Meza, Bridget Kibbey & Samuel Torres performed new music written by composers who immigrated to the U.S. from South America.



Kwasi Burgee introduced elementary students to the talking drum in our "World of Percussion" Bridge Session.



Jakub Ciupinski performed the world premiere of "Three Canons" for hacked theremins and string quintet (with Sybarite5), commissioned by LiveConnections.



Rebecca Harris, Joseph Conyers and Andrew Lipke discussed melody, bass and harmony in "The Building Blocks of Music" Bridge Session.


Bridge Session participants were always engaged and inspired.



Teaching artist Luke Carlos O'Reilly and executive director Melinda Steffy talked about our educational programs on NBC10. [watch]


Harlem Quartet joined us for a collaborative concert featuring music by Mozart and local Cuban percussionist Arturo Stable.


Arturo Stable & the Harlem Quartet also presented two Bridge Sessions for 235 young people from Philadelphia public schools.



Adults with cognitive disabilities tried out percussion instruments at a Bridge Session presented in collaboration with Art-Reach.


Lela Aisha Jones led students at Freire Charter Middle School in a residency exploring how movement and music play a role in social justice activism.



Philadelphia poet laureate Yolanda Wisher (right) coached students at Hill-Freedman World Academy on performing their original poetry, in collaboration with music teacher Zeke Thurman (back) and his music technology program.


John Patitucci and the Daedalus Quartet performed the world premiere of "Paintings in the Now," commissioned by LiveConnections.



Our 2017 Kids Count Campaign raised more than $47,000 to support our educational programs. Thanks to everyone who contributed! [donate]



Our final concert of the season, featuring Elizabeth Zharoff and Xavier Foley collaborating on video game music, got lots of great press. [check it out here, here and here]

See you next season!


Melinda Steffy, Executive Director




Latest News

LiveConnections Announces 2017-18 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.

Impact that can't be quantified | April reflections from executive director Melinda Steffy

April 3, 2017 — So much of what LiveConnections does can't be quantified. Read more from executive director Melinda Steffy about our impact on relationships, identity, opportunity and inspiration.


Grammy Award-Winning Jazz Bassist John Patitucci Teams Up With Daedalus Quartet In Philadelphia

March 8, 2017 — LiveConnections presents the unique pairing of John Patitucci and Daedalus Quartet on April 18 (during Philly Celebrates Jazz month), featuring world premieres of newly-commissioned music.


Seeds that grew into branches | March reflections from executive director Melinda Steffy

March 1, 2017 — "Seeds that grew into branches." That's how vocalist Allen Pinkney described spirituals' influence on other styles of music, such as blues, jazz, gospel and hip-hop. Read more from executive director Melinda Steffy about musical family trees and new ideas taking root.

The people are the best part | February reflections from executive director Melinda Steffy

February 2, 2017 — With "collaborative music-making" as part of our mission, we get to cross paths with a lot of remarkable people. Read more from executive director Melinda Steffy about what some of our artist collaborators have been up to recently.

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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 09/14/2017)

$5000 School Sponsor

Drexel University


World Cafe Live





$2500 Collaboration Sponsor





Fox Rothschild


Pepper Hamilton


University of Pennsylvania





$1000 Connecting Sponsors

Ballard Spahr






Cozen O'Connor


Curtis Institute of Music


Jonathan Fink Group


Philadelphia Insurance Companies



$500 Sponsors
The Art Shop
BWA architecture + planning
Coscia Moos Architecture, LLC
Grace Tavern
Keystone First
University City Science Center



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.