2,000 Miami-Dade School Children to Hear Live Classical Music

Caption: Miami Music Project auditions at Southwood Middle School in south Miami-Dade County, Fla.

MIAMI (Sept. 17, 2009) – The newly created Miami Music Project Ensemble will begin performances at 10 adopted Miami-Dade middle schools next week. It is anticipated to reach the ears of over 2,000 children, thanks in large part to support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The musicians will perform exciting classical music concerts onsite at the schools. By teaching the students from the stage they will place the art form in a historical, political and social context.

“Music education helps young minds bloom and gives students a meaningful way of self-expression that is appreciated by others,” said Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. “Through the discipline and study of music, students learn critical skills that often translate into success in the classroom.”

The Miami Music Project is a dynamic ensemble of musicians from all over the country. James Judd, artistic director of the Miami Music Project, handpicked the musicians at auditions with the help of middle school students.

“What is most impressive to me is that in addition to being extremely gifted instrumentalists, each of our musicians is dedicated to serving the Miami community through education, community engagement and enlightenment,” Judd said. “We also took the unique approach of using middle school children as our judges for the audition. This gave us great insight into how the musicians we interviewed responded to a real world situation.”

In the first year, the focus will be on the education program in partnership with the Miami Dade Public Schools. A festival is planned for May 2010, which will feature the Miami Music Project’s Ensemble and other artists chosen by Judd. The second year of the project will see an increase in the number of schools taking part in the project.

The Miami Music Project was awarded a $1 million grant in December 2008 by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of the Knight Arts Challenge program. The challenge is a $60 million initiative to transform South Florida by bringing the community together through the arts.

“As one of our big ideas that came out of the Knight Arts Challenge, we have high hopes and aspirations for the Miami Music Project and how it can impact Miami-Dade students’ appreciation for music,” said Dennis Scholl, Miami program director for Knight Foundation.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote community engagement and lead to transformational change. For more about the foundation, visit www.knightfoundation.org. For more about the Knight Arts Challenge, visit www.knightarts.org.

For more information about the project, visit www.miamimusicproject.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.