Princeton University Concerts’ Neighborhood Project: New Outreach Program Launches in Trenton

The new initiative builds on Princeton University Concerts’ mission to facilitate access to the world’s greatest musicians, launching with a partnership with public schools in Trenton, NJ.

A collaboration with the Gustavo Dudamel Foundation and Trenton Arts at Princeton, the five-year pilot program both brings Princeton University Concerts artists to Trenton’s public schools, and brings Trenton’s public school students to recitals at Princeton University Concerts.

The artists participating in this year’s launch are violinist Stefan Jackiw,pianists Gabriela Montero and Conrad Tao, and tap dancer Caleb Teicher.

PRINCETON, NJ – Princeton University Concerts is expanding the legacy of Gustavo Dudamel’s residency last season to launch the Neighborhood Project: an educational initiative designed to connect musicians on Princeton University Concerts’ series and students from neighboring low-income communities. Building on Princeton University Concerts’ mission to facilitate access to the world’s greatest musicians, the new five- year pilot program launches in the 2019-20 season in a partnership with the Trenton Central High School. The Neighborhood Project is a collaboration with Trenton Arts at Princeton, and is generously supported by The Gustavo Dudamel Foundation, expanding the opportunity to experience music for as many children and communities as possible, and by individual donations. Thanks to the generosity of our funders, The Neighborhood Project is fully funded for 5 years. After the 5-year launch of the program, we expect that the program will generate new funds to continue on its own.

Princeton University Concerts’ Neighborhood Project provides interested students rehearsal, concert, and backstage access to artists on the series. Select performers, part of PUC’s 2019-20 season, will also visit the Trenton Central High School prior to their concerts at Richardson Auditorium, giving an informal performance, playing alongside the students during ensemble rehearsals, engaging in a Q and A, and – by popular demand – posing for selfies. Artists participating in the 2019-20 season are violinist Stefan Jackiw, pianists Gabriela Montero and Conrad Tao, and tap dancer Caleb Teicher. After his visit to the Trenton Central High School Orchestra’s rehearsal this fall, Jackiw commented how much he enjoyed spending the day with the “talented, inspiring, and fun orchestra students,” an experience that reaffirmed his belief that “the future is bright.”

Speaking of the launch, Princeton University Concerts Director Marna Seltzer shared:

“Although formally conceived this year, our Neighborhood Project has been in the works for many seasons. I consider this type of program to be crucial in fulfilling our commitment to providing arts access for every member of our extended community, and especially for our youth. Watching Stefan Jackiw interact with students in the Trenton High School Orchestra during the soft launch of this initiative was one of the highlights of our year. The rapt silence with which the high schoolers listened to Stefan’s performance of Bach after they had bonded with him over instrument care woes was magical. Seeing so many of them in the audience at his recital in Richardson Auditorium the next evening, and the excitement with which they flocked to him backstage, was the cherry on top. I am very much looking forward to witnessing this spark again and again as we continue to bring a diverse lineup of musicians to participate in this initiative.”

The Neighborhood Project follows on the heels of Gustavo Dudamel’s residency at Princeton University Concerts during the 2018-19 season. Maestro Dudamel, the Music and Artistic Director of the LA Philharmonic, made community engagement central to his residency activities. In addition to visiting the Trenton Central High School Orchestra students and working with students in local music programs, Maestro Dudamel’s residency culminated in a free concert at the Trenton War Memorial. Support from The Gustavo Dudamel Foundation is earmarked for two specific areas of The Neighborhood Project: Support for the Trenton Youth Orchestra (a member group of Trenton Arts at Princeton) and support for the new Trenton Arts fellowship, which will enable a select cohort of Princeton students to pursue arts service projects in collaboration with the Trenton Public Schools. Princeton University Concerts’ Neighborhood Project continues in the spirit of Maestro Dudamel’s residency, and will continue to do so for years to come.