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New director of BQCM keeps eyes on mission

Jennifer Newell, the new executive director of the Brooklyn-Queens Conservatory of Music, looks forward to taking the conservatory in new directions while still adhering to the school's primary mission of offering affordable classes and lessons for adults and children, and free or low-cost concerts in all disciplines and cultures of music.

“Starting this year, we are giving out $100,000 in need-based scholarship money, the largest sum ever given out by the conservatory,” she said.

Inside her office a singer could be heard going through the operatic scales in one of the 16 studios that make up the school’s spacious floor at 42-76 Main St. in Flushing.

Newell, who became executive director of the conservatory in late October, gained experience through a succession of administrative positions, starting out first as publicity director at the Juilliard School of Music, and in June 1999 joining the Conservatory’s public relations and marketing department, later rising to director of development.

She oversees all operations and “the overall health of the conservatory,” she said.

The school, which also has a campus in Park Slope, Brooklyn, is an independent, non profit organization offering subsidized low-cost music instruction to all ages, and free concerts to the Queens community in styles and forms as varied as the myriad cultures of the borough.

The conservatory's Brooklyn and Queens campuses combined have about 2,000 students.

“Since it is our mission to get into the community, we have an off-site program called ‘Music Partners’ that reaches schools and centers,” Newell said. “We also offer low-cost and free concerts throughout the season, where we reach an added 5,000 to 8,000 people.”

Newell plans to get a performance date at the Queens Botanical Gardens during the warm weather, as part of his series, “Passport to Music.” The school also puts on concerts outside its campus during the warm weather.

“Obviously, in observance of the ethnic communities we’re in, we’ve had Korean drum troupes, an Irish band, and a Flamenco group," she said.

In Passport concert slated for Nov. 17, the Caribbean Youth Panoramics Steel Orchestra will play the tunes of their homeland inside the conservatory.

“Daily, classes are doing anything from classical to jazz arrangements,” Newell said. Last year the Youth Musical Theatre did selections from “Annie.”

A four-year undergraduate program and a two-year graduate program are also available. Students can major in either jazz studies, piano, voice an orchestral instrument, music theory or composition. Alumni have gone on to graduate studies at Columbia University and the Manhattan School of Music, as well as professional performing and teaching careers throughout the world.

Tuition for private lessons ranges from $493 for 30-minute lessons to $697 for one-hour sessions per 17 week semester. The school is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

“Obviously I’d like to expand and build upon things that are ongoing, and go in some new directions that would include our ensembles and off-site programs,” Newell said.

For more information about programs and classes at The Brooklyn-Queens Conservatory of Music, call 461-8910, or go to the website at www.brooklynconservatory.com.

Reach Qguide writer Daniel Arimborgo by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.

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