Alumni Stories

Alumni Stories

Kaufman Music Center Alumni are making an impact in many fields, both on and off the stage! Read the stories below to find out how they're making a difference, and the important role music has played in their success.

Deandre Desir

Special Music School High School Class of 2018
“Musical training teaches people how to be better leaders, speakers and interpreters. It builds skills like teamwork, cooperation, ensuring that not only your voice is heard, and being able to build something for a greater good in the long term.” Read more.


Johanna Nelson

Special Music School High School Class of 2017
"Life in the last five years has been full of research projects, travel, coding, new jobs, a bachelor’s degree and music. At Columbia University I was originally planning on majoring only in Computer Science, but after meeting professors and students in the Sustainable Development department, I was sold on majoring in both." Read more.

Boubacar Diallo

Special Music School High School Class of 2017
"Special Music School fostered a culture of individuality and artistic initiative. If you had an idea, your teachers listened to you. If you were struggling, someone helped you. This approach to students lays the groundwork for artists and citizens who are engaged, creative and thoughtful in their approach to the world around them." Read more.

Justin Abrams

Special Music School (2001-2005) & Lucy Moses School Young Artist Program
"Reflecting on how unbelievable an opportunity Special Music School was makes me emotional. It somehow makes the impossible happen – city-funded intimate classroom experiences with the most devoted teachers I have ever known, combined with privately funded music instruction from world-class teachers. Either one of these is a miracle, to begin with... But facilitating both is simply extraordinary." Read more.

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