Lydia Kontos

Executive Director, Kaufman Music Center, New York City

Lydia Kontos has been Executive Director of New York city’s Kaufman Music Center ( since 1986; for six years prior to that, she was Director of the Center’s Merkin Concert Hall. She learned the concert business while in college from her mentor, the late Omus Hirschbein, at the Hunter College Concert Bureau, and in between taught high school language courses. Education: Hunter College, NYU, and Harvard (certificate program). Lydia taught arts administration at SUNY Purchase, and has served on peer panels for state funding agencies and the NEA. She serves on the Boards of three nonprofits, and was on the founding advisory committee of Music and the Brain. Awards include the FAME Award from the National Association for Music Education, the Upper West Side Spirit “Westy” Award, and the Excellence in Arts Management Award from the Arts and Business Council. Lydia’s article, “A Public/Private Partnership for Training Young Talent” was published by the Dana Foundation in the Publication “Planning an Arts-Centered School.” Kaufman Music Center is where all music lovers, from curious fans to renowned performers, come together to explore their passion. Founded in 1952 as a community music school, today Kaufman Music Center is one of the city’s most vibrant cultural organizations, combining world-class teaching with electrifying performances featuring rising young classical stars, Broadway icons and cutting-edge performers & composers who are re-defining contemporary music. Kaufman Music Center comprises three divisions: Merkin Hall, Lucy Moses School and Special Music School.