Students Bring Music to the Masonic Village

Ten of our amazing CYM string players took time out of Martin Luther King day to bring music into the lives of the residents of Masonic Village at Sewickley. Everyone  benefited from the time together- audience and performers alike!

Thank you students and teachers for using music to bring joy to those in our community. Sharing our music is one of the most valuable things we do  as musicians.

CYM Instrumentalists Delight Crowds at CMOA

On Thursday, December 19th, CYM students and their teachers regaled museum-goers with beautiful holiday music, giving patrons an aural feast to complement the visual!

Performers enjoyed being a part of the current exhibit of Carnegie Trees and Neapolitan Presepio. This exhibit runs through January 5th, so there is still time to take advantage of the display. Visit here for more information.

Congratulations to our performers and teachers- thank you for using your gifts to bring quality music to area events!

CYM Holiday Concert Sets Festive Tone

CYM families enjoyed a beautiful recital that showcased the hard work of many of our CYM students. Guitar, piano, cello and violin were all represented. Some of our youngest performers had the opportunity to try out their pieces for a warm and receptive audience for the very first time!

Faculty duets included arrangements by Mr. Chris, and featured Ms. Leah and Mr. Chris on violin, Ms. Amy, piano, and Mr. Jake, cello, and Mr. Erich, guitar.

Congratulations to all of our performers!

If you would like one of the picture files from below, email with the number picture you would like!


Musicians Shine at the Nutcracker

A report from Ms. Simmi: CYM students performed at the Benedum during the pre-show and intermission of the Nutcracker on Saturday, and it was a spectacular night all around! Our pianists and violinist did such a beautiful job with their holiday pieces, they were well-prepared, and had a great crowd to perform for in the lobby. We all enjoyed the magical Nutcracker performance, as well! All of us here at CYM hope to make this a new holiday tradition!

Our CYM student performers:

Hannah Stein
Lucille McCargo
Patti Szabo
Mira Agarwal
Megan Foust
Nolan Donnelly
Sofi Clavijo
Maya Agarwal
Sami Alissa
Yazan Alissa
Akshay Lath
Siena Smith
Madeleine Fox
Hanna Singhi
Kenzie Bucchi
Clara Yuo
Rachel Spear
Meriwether McCargo
Kathryn Allen
Lucas Boyle
Julianna Faber
Jayne (& Sydney) Miner
Marissa Dorman
Abby Bojalad

Congratulations to all!

A Jolly Time Had by All at Sewickley Light Up Night!

CYM staff and faculty had a great time playing hosts to hundreds of Light Up Night folks!

Mr. Rob and Mr. Jake greeted everyone coming in and quickly discerned if they were performers or just visiting! Students had fun finding their names on the Recital Performers sign. Guests and performers alike made their way to the Jingle Bell Bracelet table, where Ms. Amy and her daughter, Elise, were ready to demonstrate the fine art of combining pipe cleaners and jingle bells!

Meanwhile, Ms. Lindsay was sending performers to the back concert room, where several recitals took place! It was fun to hear the music come all the way down the hall to those just entering our doors. So many great conversations took place regarding lessons and classes. Everyone was on hand to get the word out about all the great things happening at CYM.

Thank you to all who assisted with the recitals- Ms. Grace, Ms. Simmi, Mr. Chris, Ms. Rochelle, Ms. Leah, Mr. Mark, and Mr. Erich. It was a treat to have Ms. Alicia and Ms. Victoria join in the festivities toward the final recitals.

Congratulations to all — what a great kickoff to the holidays!

CYM Student Gleans from Jazz Great Antonio Hart


Student Gabi Götz took advantage of the Antonio Hart workshop, and had an excellent experience. Here are some reflections written by Gabi’s dad:


We got there early, and Gabi was messing around on the piano, and when Antonio showed up he gave Gabi a little 1-on-1 session on jazz/piano. That was pretty cool. Once the official session started, Antonio told us that he wanted the event to be interactive and not just him playing or teaching. He asked people to ask him questions. One of the questions was about his background, and Antonio gave us a long story of how he got into music, how it gave him hope and kept him on the right track as a young kid. But all through his experience the recurring theme was that you really have to love what you’re doing because it takes a lot of dedication and work. He illustrated this with his personal stories of how he fought bad influences growing up in a difficult setting in Baltimore, to how he continued to study music when his high school stopped supporting it, and to his challenges at Berklee and how he was able to rise to the top at Berklee through discipline and hard work in the face of challenges. It was a very inspiring story. He talked a lot about playing/learning music and had a recurring advice to Gabi and to the rest of the young students in how important it is to study the history of music and musicians. He advised the students to look at their contemporary musicians they listen to, then find out who those people listened to, then who those people listened to, and keep going back until there is nobody else. Then research them and understand what they did, how they played and why. That’s the only way you can really play jazz and understand it. 
As far as actual playing, he told us that you can tell if someone can play jazz by asking them to play two things: a ballad and blues. He said blues is not different from jazz, it’s the same family. And with ballads, he said when you play a ballad, you are “naked” and exposed. You can’t hide shortcomings as you can when you play a fast solo for example. You can hide behind the quick notes and the technical playing, but when you play a ballad, you have to be able to demonstrate your own feeling for the piece, your ability to bring out the melody and phrasing without guards. He demonstrated this by playing a solo very technically but not very musically, then playing in a way he normally plays, which was very musical. It was cool.
There were a lot of other topics discussed, relating to the history of jazz, how it impacted the black culture and their challenges, especially in the 50’s, 60’s etc. It’s hard to remember or summarize all the stories but it was very interesting and captivating. Of course he also played some pieces and demonstrated some musical ideas, with Howie Alexander jumping on the piano, and Howie even played drums! (Howie is a very talented Pittsburgh based jazz pianist, who happens to be teaching at the Institute there.)  Antonio is passionate about teaching also, he’s teaching at Queens College (I think he’s also a director there), and he said he wanted to come back again to the Institute for more of these sessions. I bet he would be willing to come to CYM as well if he’s in town. 
On another cool note, after Antonio left, Gabi got to play some blues together with Howie Alexander in a separate room with multiple pianos. That was a great and fun opportunity.
Yesterday evening we also went to see the Antonio Hart concert at the Hazlett Theater, which was totally awesome. He played with his sextet, which included Miki Yamanaka on piano, who used to be one of his graduate students. She’s an up-and-coming piano player in New York. The musicians were each incredible, (included Robin Eubanks on trombone) and the concert was amazing. At the end Antonio split up the audience and had each section sing a different blues phrase while they were playing. It was a great way to end the evening. 
…Thanks again for letting Gabi attend this, I think it was very impactful for him, in fact, it gave us an opportunity to connect with some people at the Institute, which will help further Gabi’s jazz studies!


Thank you, Viktor, for this wonderful depiction of the experience! We hope this inspires others to take advantage of these workshops and activities! Congratulations, Gabi, for seizing the opportunity- all the best to you on your musical journey!


Pictures from CYM Celli at Cumberland Woods Village!

Just in time for the whole family to enjoy! If you would like one of the picture files, please email Jake Niehl at and he will send you the raw picture file, for free. (Please, don’t download the pictures from the site, they are small and won’t be of as high quality.)  Each picture will have a corresponding number underneath it. Be sure to include that number for the photos you would like sent. Thanks everyone and have a happy thanksgiving!


Cellists Delight Audience at Cumberland Village

The crowd was “wowed” this weekend at Cumberland Village!

As our cellists performed holiday favorites, the crowd joined in with singing- a sure sign of a good time! Student performers represented CYM well, with excellent performances and gracious attitudes.

Bringing music into the lives of seniors is one of the best ways we can use our gifts, as well as  a great way to get performance experience. Watch for details on CYM’s next appearance at Cumberland, which will be December 20th! Check in with Mr Ryan for more details.

Watch for pictures of this event – coming soon!

Students and Families Dazzled at Pine Community Center

Hundreds of families stopped in at our CYM booth at PCC’s Holiday Dazzle to try out percussion hand instruments, and even participate in a sound-effect laden performance of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Abridged. Children supplied instrumental and vocal sound effects while others read lines in a 2-minute reduction of the classic tale!

Meanwhile, Mr. Mark was upstairs with his guitar students, who presented a recital to the delight of families who came in to warm up from the outdoor festivities.

These CYM guitar students added to the festive feel of the event by playing a selection of holiday favorites:

Aarnav Kannan – Jolly Old St. Nicholas
Riya Kulkarni – Up On The Housetop
Charlie Reiter – Dreydl Song
Keely Acheson – Deck the Halls
Carson Joller – Oh Tannenbaum
Sara Singhi – Silent Night
Christopher Ramaley – Jingle Bell Rock 
After the performances, students joined the crowd gathering outside to enjoy a fireworks display that capped the night off perfectly. Let the holidays begin!
Thank you, to all who performed!

Ensemble Recital Brings High Level of Performance

On Saturday, we enjoyed one of our biggest events of the year: Ensemble Recital. Congratulations, students on your very fine performances, a special shout out to those who earned awards!

Students entertained the full audience with piano duos, string ensembles, guitar duets, and even some singing from our youngest learners.

Teachers and parents, you should be very proud. Your students played with poise and confidence!

Don’t forget- anyone is invited to attend these recitals even if you are not performing.  There is always something new to see and hear. This year we enjoyed two beautiful Minuets that were arranged for strings and piano by Mr. Chris. Also this time around we had a 6-hand piano performance by piano faculty Ms. Grace, Ms. Simmi, and Ms. Rucker, replete with antics!

To see pictures from the event, visit our post for the 9:30 recital here and the 12:00 recital here!


The Center for Young Musicians