In October, the New York Youth Symphony presented Joseph Conyers, assistant principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra and co-founder and executive director of Project 440, with the Theodore L. Kesselman Award for Arts Education. At the awards ceremony in Manhattan, Conyers spoke about his advocacy for music education through Project 440, a Philadelphia non-profit that provides innovative programming for young musicians: “Music education is at the core of much of my work not only because I feel every young person should have access to music, but because I strongly feel that music can be used as a tool with which we can empower the youth from some of our nation’s most marginalized communities.” Also receiving a New York Youth Symphony award that night was musician and NYYS alumna Melissa Eisenstat, who was the organization’s president from 2012 to 2019. The event included performances by NYYS musicians, led by Music Director Michael Repper, and the NYYS Jazz Band, led by Director Andy Clausen. More than 6,000 young people have participated NYSS programs since its founding in 1963.


Caption: Double-bassist and music educator Joseph Conyers speaks at Tribeca Rooftop in Manhattan, where he received the New York Youth Symphony’s Kessselman Award for Arts Education in October. Photo by Harrison Steg/Pretty Instant.