Founded in 1894, Third Street traces its roots to the late 19th century settlement house movement. It was the unique inspiration of
Third Street founder Emilie Wagner to make high quality music instruction the centerpiece of a community settlement house that would
also provide social services to the immigrant population of the Lower East Side.
In this context, music would provide a source of spiritual and cultural nourishment, inspire achievement in its young students, and serve as
a universal language to unite the community's Jewish, Irish, Italian, Russian, Greek and Hungarian immigrants. Third Street soon grew
to include an extensive library of books and music, a rooftop playground and a summer camp in New Jersey, and provided help with housing,
employment and medical care - and even baths for neighborhood residents. By 1915, Ms. Wagner's vision had inspired similar music school
settlements in thirty American cities.
Third Street alumni have gone on to successful careers in every field imaginable. And, over the years, many have pursued careers in music, joining the rosters of major symphony and opera orchestras across the country.
The School's most famous alumni include concert violinist and music educator Josef Gingold and renowned songwriter Irving Caesar,
whose more than 2000 works include Tea for Two, Swanee and I Want to Be Happy.
Emerging professionals today include violist Masumi Per Rostad of the acclaimed Pacifica String Quartet; Bobby Lopez, co-writer of the hit Broadway musical Avenue Q; Ingrid Michaelson, pop singer/songwriter with hits on the TOP 40 charts; and violinist Jessie Montgomery
formerly of Providence String Quartet and its Community MusicWorks, which was hailed by Alex Ross in The New Yorker for its "revolutionary" melding of professional performance with
instruction for low-income urban youth (September 4, 2006). Distinguished past directors of Third Street have included David Mannes,
violinist, concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic and founder of the Mannes College of Music and conductor Julius Rudel.
Over the years, as the ethnic makeup of the Lower East Side has changed and government agencies have taken on many of the social services
once shouldered by settlement houses, Third Street has evolved to meet the changing needs of the community. When the budget crises of the
1970s forced the New York City School Board to cut virtually all arts education, Third Street stepped in to supplement the arts curriculum in
public schools on the Lower East Side. In 1983, Third Street established a licensed preschool school program to address neighborhood
demands for an arts-infused early childhood program. In 2007, with a new focus on adults "50 and better" Third Street launched the first New York chapter of the New Horizons band and chorus programs for adults.
Today, as they always have, Third Street's programs of high quality music and dance instruction help children thrive in school and in life by promoting
healthy personal and academic development, by opening avenues to further study and eventual careers and by encouraging a lifelong love of the arts.
2014-15 Course Catalog