CHICAGO - September 22, 2014 - The People's Music School, the only tuition-free music school serving Chicago metropolitan area children, has appointed Jennifer Kim Matsuzawa as President and Artistic Director.
In this role, Matsuzawa assumes responsibility for both the financial and artistic management of the School and will work with the Board of Directors to implement its strategic vision to increase access to music for more children. The People's Music School serves hundreds of students at its Uptown Academy and through its El-Sistema inspired Youth Orchestra program.
"Jennifer is a seasoned business professional and a talented pianist with a life-long passion for classical music," said Christopher S. Hennessy, President of the Board of Directors. "We are excited that we were able to attract such an accomplished professional with not only business and music credentials, but also with close personal ties to the School."
Matsuzawa joins The People's Music School after over ten years with Bain & Company, where she served most recently as Global Director of their Strategy and Innovation Practice based in New York. She also worked in marketing and business development at PepsiCo, Inc. in both the US and Asia. She began her career in the non-profit sector as a faculty member of The People's Music School, followed by community outreach and engagement work with the Longy School of Music (now part of Bard College) and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
Says Matsuzawa, "The People's Music School changed the trajectory of my life." She continues, "When Rita hired me, I came in closer touch with the power of music to transform not only my life, but of any child who perseveres. The School's mission is as vital as ever. Achieving musical excellence transforms lives in many ways beyond music, and we will stay focused to deliver on the promise of musical education in increasingly innovative and effective ways." Founder of the School, Dr. Rita Simó, a Juilliard-trained classical pianist, founded the School and, as will Matsuzawa, led the School in both artistic and administrative capacities.
Matsuzawa holds a Bachelor's degree in philosophy with honors from Northwestern University and a Master's degree in education from Harvard University. She is also an accomplished pianist, having studied with premier musical talent at such institutions as the Aspen Music Festival, and won honors from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA ARTS), Society of American Musicians, and Stravinsky Awards International.
The People's Music School is the only completely tuition-free music school in Chicago, and the oldest in the United States. It was founded in 1976 by Dr. Rita Simó, a Julliard-trained pianist from the Dominican Republic, who believed that all children should have access to music education, regardless of their family's socioeconomic status. The school serves over 300 students each year though private lessons and group instructions at its Uptown Academy and its Youth Orchestra program in neighbor Chicago Public Schools.