Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

San Diego students play a concert with help from New York's Carnegie Hall

Dozens of San Diego elementary school students spent part of their weekend playing music designed by professionals at New York’s famous Carnegie Hall.

The local connection to world-class learning is provided by Villa Musica a local nonprofit organization that makes music accessible through education, lessons, and outreach to families who might not be able to afford it.

“When you say this is a Carnegie Hall initiative, it’s truly something that’s been thought out, well devised, and obviously they have the reputation," said Fiona Chatwin, founder and Executive Director of Villa Musica.


Villa Musica partnered with La Jolla Symphony and Chorus in collaboration with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI), during the 2022-2023 season. The world-famous concert venue provides the curriculum and resources for students to perform with professionals.

Executive Director of La Jolla Symphony and Chorus, Stephanie Weaver said, "The union of our two organizations creates an ideal ecosystem of music education and performance, planting the seeds for a lifelong relationship with music in our young students."

M.G. Perez
Violin lessons are offered at the Logan Heights Library and four other satellite locations run by Villa Musica, known as San Diego's community music center, San Diego, Calif., May 4, 2023.

Saturday, 220 students from elementary schools in Linda Vista, Kearny Mesa, and Serra Mesa played recorders along with the symphony musicians at UC San Diego’s Mandeville Auditorium.

“Music at this early of an age definitely affects them and moves them into the enjoyment of different kinds (of music) and a different range and a different focus," said Kelly Oakes Brooks, a fourth-grade teacher from Carson Elementary who brought several of her students to the concert.


Since 2014, Villa Musica has opened five satellite sites that include some of the county's most ethnically diverse and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

M.G. Perez
Students learn how to take care of their bow during a violin lesson at the Logan Heights Library. The free lessons are offered by Villa Musica using a curriculum from Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, San Diego, Calif., May 4, 2023.

They include the Malcolm X Library in Valencia Park and the College-Rolando Library. More recently, classes have expanded to include the Linda Vista and City Heights libraries.

On Thursday afternoon, a violin class is offered for 5- and 6-year-old children at the Logan Heights Library.

Adriana Verduzco said loved the change it created in her young daughter’s spirit.

“She loves it. She enjoys it. I’m just proud of who she’s going to become if she continues over the years playing this instrument," Verduzco said.