Meet the Special Music School’s New Dean of Music

DNAinfo By Jackson Chen | September 6, 2017 12:17pm

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UPPER WEST SIDE — New York City’s only music-focused K-12 school just named a new maestro.

Andrew Copper joined the Special Music School as the Dean of Music on Aug. 1 after nearly 20 years at another arts-focused not-for-profit organization, the Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts. The summer camp served multiple disciplines ranging from visual arts to dance, but Cooper is now able to focus solely on music at his new job.

“I’m excited to see the students here, the sense of community that’s built here, and the culture of quality and excellence,” Copper said. “That’s very apparent to me without even having seen the kids yet.”

The Special Music School at 129 W. 67th St. offers students a unique music-infused curriculum that was made possible through a partnership with Kaufman Music Center, the school’s parent organization, and the city’s Department of Education. On top of their standard studies, students also receive a rigorous music education that includes private lessons on their instrument and classes in music theory or chorus.

The new dean pulls from 30 years of experience with the horn and decades of experience in arts administration. Copper played the horn throughout high school and chose to pursue his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music.

He is currently the principal horn player for the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the American Chamber Ensemble, Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, and the Houston-based Aperio Americas.

Now as the school’s dean, Copper will oversee and ensure the quality of the music curriculum, the private lessons, and the repertoires that the school ensembles undertake.

Since music has been integrated in many aspects of his life, he’s hoping his students will see those same benefits in their education.

“Music really teaches us to listen to things deeply and passionately, and to really hear what is being said or expressed,” Copper said. “It teaches kids how to express themselves and that’s a difficult thing to do.”

The Kaufman Music Center’s executive director Lydia Kontos said Copper would create a rich and stimulating musical environment for the students that the Special Music School is known for.

“Andrew [Copper]’s strong commitment to helping young musicians develop their talents along with his wide-ranging experience as a musician, educator, and administrator will make him a wonderful addition to our team.”

The Special Music School has operated since 1996 as a K-8 and opened its high school portion in 2013. The school celebrated a 100 percent graduation rate with their first outgoing 12th grade class in June.

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