On May 14, the Kaufman Music Center’s 2018 Gala honored the legacy of long-time Kaufman Music Center Executive Director Lydia Kontos and raised nearly $1 million in support of Kaufman’s music education programs.
The event, which took place at Guastavino’s in New York City saw the Kaufman Music Center present the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award Kontos, who will retire nearly 40 years at the Center’s helm, in recognition of her distinguished career as a champion of music education and performance.
In honor of Kontos, the gala had numerous musical guests including Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne Galway, who performed three pieces and Ailyn Pérez, who performed “I Feel Pretty from Bernstein’s “West Side Story” and “Je Veux Vivre” from Gounod’s “Romeo et Juliette.” They were both accompanied by young virtuosos from Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School and Lucy Moses School. During the gala, Pérez and Galway remembered their music education upbringing with Pérez noting that she was honored to be performing in front of Galway, one of her first musical idols.
The gala also saw an auction for the benefit of the Kaufman Music Center and numerous students honor Kontos with musical performances and speeches. Kaufman Music Center’s annual Gala benefits the Center’s Fund for Music Education, which helps thousands of children access high-level instruction in music, theater, and dance.