Third Street Music School Settlement

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Third Street Music School Settlement
Third street banner.JPG
Third Street Music School building.
235 E. 11th Street
New York City, New York
Coordinates 40°43′52″N 73°59′13″W / 40.731°N 73.987°W / 40.731; -73.987Coordinates: 40°43′52″N 73°59′13″W / 40.731°N 73.987°W / 40.731; -73.987
Type Private
Established 1894
Executive Director Valerie Lewis
Campus Urban
Information 212-777-3240

Founded in 1894, Third Street Music School is the oldest community school of the arts in the United States and traces its roots to the late 19th-century settlement house movement. As part of this settlement movement in which young university graduates "settled" in poor, immigrant communities to improve the quality of life, Third Street originally employed live-in social workers and gave baths to children along with their music lessons. 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 also provided 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 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. By 1915, Ms. Wagner's vision had inspired similar music school settlements in thirty American cities.

Over the years, graduates of Third Street have joined the rosters of major symphony orchestra and opera companies across the country. The School's most famous graduates include concert violinist and music educator Josef Gingold, and prolific songwriter Irving Caesar, whose more than 2,000 works include "Tea for Two", "Swanee" and "I Want to Be Happy".


The school's mission statement is:

We, the Society of the Third Street Music School Settlement, believe that a knowledge and appreciation of music and the arts is fundamental to the development of each individual and that the arts provide unique opportunities for cultural exchange and community understanding. Thus we affirm that: It is the mission of the School to provide quality education in music and the arts, primarily to children of the Lower East Side, in an environment that nurtures achievement and creativity and offers to all who attend, regardless of artistic ability or economic circumstances, the opportunity to pursue their own personal development and enrich the quality of their lives.

Notable faculty and students[edit]

[clarification needed They should be shown separately.]

Notable advisory board members[edit]

Early benefactors[edit]


  1. ^ "Elizabeth Sprague Collidge", p. 7, The Maud Powell Signature, Winter 1997, Vol. 2, No. 1, The Maud Powell Society for Music Education

External links[edit]