LiveConnections was founded in 2008 by a team of artists, educators and entrepreneurs. Building on a strong partnership with music venue World Cafe Live, LiveConnections’ co-founders Hal Real, David Bradley, Lori Landew and Tamar Lelkes Oded envisioned providing opportunities for public school students to experience great music in a world-class setting, to stimulate new collaborations among artists and to build deeper relationships between artists and audiences.

Their first step was a gathering of 30 musicians spanning jazz, hip-hop, classical, world, rock and singer-songwriter genres, a diversity that epitomized the spirit and approach the founders were after. This round-table discussion gave birth to Bridge Sessions interactive performances for urban youth and special needs populations that explore diverse musical styles and cultures. These sessions, with artists and audience together on floor-level at World Cafe Live in an intimate exchange, became the hallmark of LiveConnections’ community engagement.

From three pilot Bridge Sessions in 2008, the program has grown over the past eight years to present more than 300 Bridge Sessions, reaching 30,000 participants from more than 100 schools and organizations in Philadelphia and Wilmington—most attending for free, many with little or no music programming at their schools. Nine Philadelphia schools have joined LiveConnections as partner schools, bringing the same group of 60-150 students to a sequence of Bridge Sessions three times a year. In recent years, LiveConnections has created in-depth residency programs with several of our partner schools to deepen the impact of Bridge Sessions, including percussion-themed summer camps, a weekly after-school percussion workshop and an in-school song-writing residency.

Over the years we have collaborated with leading arts organizations across the region on our educational programs, including Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, Drexel University's ExCITe Center, Mendelssohn Club, Settlement Music School and radio station WXPN. An annual partnership with the Philadelphia Orchestra’s School Partnership Program commissions Orchestra members and teaching artists to collaborate with LiveConnections artists in creating new sessions that explore connections between classical music and other genres.

In 2010, the partnership with the Orchestra gave birth to our LiveConnections Presents concert series (formerly ClassicAlive), featuring collaborative concerts designed for adventurous music lovers. Curated by double bassist Mary Wheelock Javian, the concerts highlight LiveConnections’ distinctive cross-genre music-making and have featured Grammy winners, local talent and rising stars. Our "New Sound of Philadelphia" commissioning project, begun in 2014, engages Philadelphia-based composers to write new, genre-crossing music for local ensembles. We frequently engage concert artists in presenting educational Bridge Sessions, so that youth hear the same music as ticket-buying adults.

LiveConnections is strongly committed to accessibility for underserved audiences and presents several programs each year targeted for adults with cognitive and physical disabilities. In the fall of 2013, LiveConnections launched a video streaming initiative, using a state-of-the-art digital video system to produce live webcasts of select Bridge Sessions and concerts. Through a partnership with Art-Reach, a nonprofit organization that connects underserved audiences with cultural experiences, LiveConnections brings participants to the venue for programs and also live streams those same programs back to residential facilities for people who would otherwise be unable to travel to the venue.

In 2015, LiveConnections completed its first strategic planning process, which prioritizes educational, accessibility and collaboration goals, with an emphasis on increasing visibility for the organization. [Download a summary of the plan.]

LiveConnections is led by executive director Melinda Steffy, board president Hal Real and founding director David Bradley, along with 3 additional staff and a 20-person board of directors.

 

 

 

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

$5000 School Sponsor

Drexel University

 

Fox Rothschild

 

Philly Music Fest

 

World Cafe Live

 

WXPN

 

 

$2500 Collaboration Sponsor

Brandywine Realty

 

Cenero

 

Deloitte

 

Dranoff Properties

 

Pepper Hamilton

 

University of Pennsylvania

 

WRTI

 

 

$1000 Connecting Sponsors

Art-Reach

 

Ballard Spahr

 

BB&T

 

Chubb

 

Cozen O'Connor

 

Curtis Institute of Music

 

Jonathan Fink Group

 

honeygrow

 

ITEM Media

 

Law Rocks

 

Philadelphia Insurance Companies

 

RSK Advisory

 

TGS Financial

 

 

$500 Sponsors
Aon
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
Vinylux

 

 

Business Support

uprinting.com

 

 

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.

 

LiveConnections.org is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, tax ID 26-2666641. The official registration and financial information of LiveConnections.org may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

FLORIDA REGISTRATION NUMBER: CH41108. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. www.FloridaConsumerHelp.com