We are celebrating the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music’s 125th anniversary at a time when our organization has never been stronger, our reach broader or our work truer to our ambitious mission: transforming lives and building community through the expressive, educational and therapeutic powers of music.
This past year, we welcomed over 1,300 students and clients into our building each week for individual and group music therapy sessions and for music lessons, classes and ensembles led by our world-class faculty. We served an additional 6,000 students and clients at 77 schools, community centers and other sites across New York City.
We deepened our efforts to make BKCM a truly inclusive organization under the leadership of Uton Onyejekwe, our first Director of DEI, and our Board of Trustees (which is more representative of our diverse constituencies than ever). We distributed record amounts of financial aid and laid the groundwork to raise those numbers further in 2023.
We connected and dazzled our growing community at 200-plus events in our building and citywide, in partnership with dozens of organizations, ranging from the New York Philharmonic to the Brooklyn Museum to Women for Afghan Women to the Chinese-American Planning Council. We continued our campaign to invest in our people by raising wages and adding support staff. With enrollment surging, we secured an agreement to rent overflow space in the nearby Roberts Field School every weekend as a short-term solution. While this has provided some temporary relief, we continue to work towards a longer-term plan for our critical space issues.
We enriched and expanded all four of our longstanding flagship programs: the Community Music School, Suzuki, Music Partners and Music Therapy. And you’ll see that we’ve added a fifth pillar to our Annual Report: the first BKCM Community Music Center (CMC), which grew out of our 20-year partnership with the Cypress Hills Community Development Corporation.
Since the CMC opened last fall in Brooklyn’s Cypress Hills and East New York neighborhoods, we have provided up to six hours a week of free or low-cost music education—including free private lessons—to 100 students, ages 1-13. We see incredible potential to scale this model, allowing us to provide New Yorkers in historically marginalized communities with rich offerings that parallel what we’re able to deliver in our Park Slope home.
This is no easy undertaking. But as we saw throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, BKCM is capable of incredible things. Thank you for your ongoing support, as we work together to enrich and elevate the lives of all New Yorkers through the power of music.
Our talented, committed faculty and staff continue to burnish our reputation for excellence by going above and beyond to meet the evolving needs of our students, clients, families and community. Our Board of Trustees has worked diligently to chart our future and ensure that we’re on track to meet the ambitious goals outlined in our five-year strategic plan.
Our vibrant, growing BKCM community—children and adults of all ages and abilities, from neighborhoods throughout New York City—have entrusted us with guiding their musical journeys and contributed their time and energy to make BKCM the supportive, thriving organization we are today. Our generous donors have allowed our organization to flourish amid economic uncertainty—not simply continuing our work but meaningfully expanding it, most notably by opening our first BKCM Community Music Center in Brooklyn’s Cypress Hills and East New York neighborhoods.
When I first encountered BKCM as a parent looking for a place for my son to immerse himself in the Suzuki method, I was immediately impressed by the gorgeous building and stellar teachers. The more I learned about the organization, the more enamored I became. I hadn’t realized that the popular jazz program at my son’s public school was run by Music Partners—let alone that Music Partners serves thousands of students at schools, youth centers and senior centers citywide. I hadn’t realized that BKCM’s Music Therapy program was a distinguished provider in this important field, and I certainly hadn’t seen our music therapists’ life-changing work up close.
One of my chief motivators for joining the Board of Trustees, and leading it as Board Chair, has been BKCM’s genuine, abiding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. This commitment infuses everything we do, including our unique funding model—in which onsite programs subsidize our offsite work. I’m encouraged by the early success of our effort to amplify this impact through our first BKCM Community Music Center and optimistic about the prospect of scaling this innovative model.
There’s much work ahead of us. I invite you to join us, however you can, in further supporting and strengthening this dynamic organization.
Board Chair, BKCM
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Dede Lee-Moore CHAIR
Mari Matoba VICE CHAIR
Erica Oquendo SECRETARY
Neil Gupta TREASURER
Henry Choi, Nicholas Doering-Dorival, Eric Friedman, Jill Jefferson, Pamela Koo, Margaret Meyers, Laura Michener, Nancy Ziegler Nayar, Preetha Nooyi, Naomi Nwosu-Stewart, Keith Byron Otuomagie, Konrad Payne, Brian Polen, Gabe Rodriguez, Sailaja Sastry, David Sweeny, Frederick Tang, Pierre Vilain, James Weiss, Rob Wetstone
Richard Alba, Sophie Balcoff, Vanessa Banigo, Susan Berkowitz, Richard Daskin, Dan DiPietro, Robin Dull, William Frick, Lynn Gaffney, Rachel Hughes, Florence Hutner, Chiwoniso Kaitano, Elaine Kanak, Diana Kim, Andrea Knutson, Vijay Kumra, Bernadette Levandowski, Jerri Mayer, Vivek Menezes, Sabrina Murphy, Anne-Lise Santella, Christine Scanlon, Louis Segalini, Russ Soper, Vanesa Treers, Abe Velez, Man Wong, Tom Xu
Chad Cooper, Executive Director
Michaela Mechlovitz, Director of Administration
Rose Crichton-White, Director of Marketing and Development
Shameeza Chandarpal, Director of Finance
Uton Onyejekwe, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Julianne Carney-Chung, Director, Suzuki Program
Brian Drye, Director, Community Music School
Dorothy Savitch, Director, Music Partners
Toby Williams, Director, Music Therapy
Click on a site to learn more!
For 125 years, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music has served our community by cultivating rich music education opportunities. BKCM reaches more than 7,000 students and clients through our community outreach programs. These programs operate in all five boroughs of New York City. BKCM provides music education and music therapy programs at 77 partner sites, including public schools, senior centers and other community and faith-based organizations—empowering students with tools and experiences unique to BKCM.
Music Partners served more than 3,500 students across New York City in 2022 by placing skilled teaching artists in public schools, senior centers, childcare centers and other community settings. Programs are tailored to suit each partner site’s needs, with offerings including bucket drumming, recorder, early childhood music and movement, band, strings, guitar, ukulele, chorus, songwriting and film scoring. In a prime example of Music Partners’ collaborative approach, BKCM teaching artist Tahira Clayton is working closely with the M.S. 50/El Puente Community School history department to integrate the school’s civil rights curriculum into BKCM music classes, by teaching songs from the era and the Black American choral tradition. In 2022, Music Partners also presented concerts and lecture series at partner locations, including a panel discussion on careers in the music industry and a Lunar New Year musical celebration.
BKCM is proud to serve as an esteemed provider of music therapy, a psychotherapeutic practice in which clinically trained professionals use music as a tool to promote the developmental and social-emotional growth of clients of all abilities. In 2022, 20 credentialed BKCM music therapists worked with clients at our Park Slope home and 44 community outreach sites citywide. We reached nearly 2,200 clients—more than ever—through private and group sessions. BKCM curated new opportunities for clients to collaborate, perform and express themselves. Through our new “Rock Band” partnership with Extreme Kids & Crew, neurodivergent teens come together to jam with peers. Music Therapy is crucial to our organizational DEI efforts; in fall 2022, BKCM Music Therapy Director Toby Williams led a full-staff workshop centered on disability justice and anti-ableism.
In November 2022, we launched our first BKCM Community Music Center (CMC): a promising new model for nourishing young New Yorkers’ creative expression. As part of our partnership with the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, the CMC operates inside a new mixed-use building that includes a community center. In short order, our classes were enrolled to capacity—prompting us to expand our programming for parents and preschool-aged children. By year’s end, 45 young children and their caregivers were enrolled in early childhood classes, while 49 elementary and middle school students were receiving up to six hours a week of high-quality music education—including private lessons and a Saturday Band Academy. These students represent 18 neighborhood schools, including five where BKCM also provides music education during the school day. Through the CMC, we are realizing our vision for creating a continuum of school-based and after-school music education for young people citywide.
In 2022, our Community Music School (CMS) continued to serve as a musical home for students of all ages, abilities and skill levels. Each day of the week, year-round, our Park Slope home was filled with the sounds of private lessons, group classes, ensembles and workshops for music-makers ages 2 to 83. Our CMS offerings and community grew substantially in 2022, with 81 new private lesson students, two new instruments taught (banjo and tuba) and five new courses. Throughout this impressive year of growth, our students and faculty were guided by CMS’ core values: joy, community, perseverance, quality and creativity.
Since 2006, BKCM has offered families the chance to train in the Suzuki method: a nurturing pedagogy based on the concept that all children have the ability to master the language of music. In 2022, our Suzuki program engaged 228 students in the study of violin, cello, bass, guitar, flute and piano. Suzuki parents are uniquely involved in their children’s musical growth, as they learn alongside their children in initial classes. Students are immersed in group classes as they advance, and they participate in ensembles and workshops to supplement their learning. This past year, our robust Suzuki Strings Ensembles grew to 37 students, and cello/bass students attended a workshop with world-renowned bassist and improviser William Parker. BKCM’s Suzuki program also continued to enrich its curriculum with supplemental repertoire from a diverse array of composers and adopt creative strategies for raising scholarship funds, including a joyful Practice-athon.
We continue to expand our pool of financial aid each year, to attract and retain students and clients from a broad range of backgrounds and income levels. In 2022, we directly (through scholarships and subsidies) or indirectly (by helping families access government aid) provided nearly $400,000 in financial assistance to more than 220 students and clients across our five divisions. We are on pace to distribute even more financial aid in 2023.
Our ongoing DEI work is one of our organization’s most important undertakings. To make BKCM a welcoming, inclusive home for all New Yorkers interested in high-quality music education and music therapy, we have been examining every aspect of our organization through the lens of DEI—including our leadership, marketing, curriculum, hiring practices, recruitment efforts, individual program cultures and broader institutional culture. Students, parents, faculty, staff and the BKCM community are involved in this work, which is led by our first Director of DEI: veteran Music Partners teaching artist Uton Onyejekwe.
Guided by the feedback from our 2021 organization-wide DEI survey, in 2022 we made meaningful progress toward our goal of becoming a more diverse, equitable and inclusive institution.
|Total Earned Revenue and Public Support||$5,171,000||$4,577,000||$4,439,000||$3,853,000||$3,435,000|
|Total Operating Expenses||$4,793,000||$4,508,000||$4,038,000||$3,582,000||$3,132,000|
|Accounts Payable and Accurals||$188,000||$192,000||$213,000||$135,000||$113,000|
|Total New Assets||$2,042,000||$1,664,000||$1,595,000||$1,194,000||$924,000|
|Total Liabilities and Net Assets||$5,365,000||$3,391,000||$2,910,000||$2,797,000||$2,467,000|
58 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11217 Open in Google Maps | 718-622-3300 | Let’s Connect