Fresh off its 120th anniversary celebration, Third Street Music School Settlement is ready to face the future with a $5.3 million construction project. Proposed renovations include a state-of-the-art recital hall with acoustic paneling that promises to “envelop audiences in the sound of music,” the school announced today.
Renovations to the historic school, located on East 11th Street, will also include a large-ensemble rehearsal room, an expanded lobby and other enhancements. “As we head into our next 120 years, these renovations will allow us to expand and deepen our existing programs, serve even more students, and magnify our role in the cultural life of New York City,” said Valerie Lewis, executive director of the school.
Founded in 1894 to bring music education and social services to Lower East Side immigrants, Third Street Music School Settlement is the nation’s old community music school. Today it teaches 5,000 students of all ages, more than 75 percent of which get financial aid or low-cost instruction. It boasts impressive alumni like 1920s hit-maker Irving Caesar (Tea for Two), Broadway and film composer Robert Lopez (Book of Mormon, Frozen), pop star Ingrid Michaelson (Girls Chase Boys), and NPR host Robert Siegel. Most recently, alumnus jazz saxophonist Ryan Park-Chan received the New York Youth Symphony Director’s Award last year.
Construction on the school’s East 11th Street building will begin in the summer of 2015 and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016. According to Lewis, more than 80 percent of the funds for the $5.3 million project have already been identified. The public phase of Third Street’s “Rhythm and Renovations Campaign” begins this month with the goal of raising the remaining 20% within the next two years.