Lyra NYC – New!

Lyra and Midori & Friends have partnered to bring our Glissando Program to New York City! Our first school is Theatre Arts Production Company School, located in the Bronx.

Brandee Younger leads our NYC expansion as the “Harp Mama” with her previous student, Skyla Budd, as our new Teaching Artist.

Midori & Friends

Midori & Friends provides transformative tuition-free music education, access to live performances, and leadership development for underserved youth.

For 30 years Midori & Friends, founded by violin virtuoso Midori, has invested in over 300,000 students in NYC by providing tuition-free music education programs. We serve local communities by supporting those arts organizations whose purpose is to develop self-confidence, creativity and ambition in our young people. As it ignites positive social change in the rising generations of students and their families, our dynamic music education programs enrich our city and the individual lives that make it great. We believe that by acting to realize the principles of equity, inclusion, and a strong, diverse population, we help to create an environment of goodwill upon which our city depends if its citizens are to flourish.

Midori & Friends makes the music of today and builds the futures of tomorrow.

Brandee Younger

“No harpist thus far has been more capable of combining all of the modern harp traditions — from Salzedo, through Dorothy Ashby, through Alice Coltrane — with such strength, grace and commitment.” – The New York Times

A leading voice of the harp today, performer, composer, educator, and concert curator Brandee Younger defies genres and labels. She has performed and recorded with artists including Pharoah Sanders, Ravi Coltrane, Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, Common, John Legend, The Roots, Stevie Wonder, and Lauryn Hill. In 2019, she released her fourth solo album, Soul Awakening, and her original composition “Hortense” was featured in the Netflix Concert-Documentary, Beyoncé: Homecoming. This same year, Ms. Younger was selected to perform her original music as a featured performer for Quincy Jones and Steve McQueen’s’ “Soundtrack of America.” Ms. Younger’s ability to seamlessly inject the harp into arrangements and venues where it has historically been overlooked is a testament to her deep love for and exemplary command of the instrument.

Ms. Younger earned her Bachelor of Music in Harp Performance at the Hartt School of Music and her Master of Music at NYU Steinhardt. She has taught at Adelphi University, Nassau Community College, and The Hartt School Community Division at the University of Hartford and teaches masterclasses globally. Past residencies and masterclasses include The Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), University of Birmingham (UK), Howard University, Drexel University, Princeton University, Tulane University, Trinity College, The Hartt School, University of Michigan, DePaul University, and Berklee College of Music. She also serves as Symphonic and Jazz Harp Artist in Residence at the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts.

She holds leadership positions through the Apollo (theater) Young Patrons Steering Committee and the American Harp Society, Inc. where she is Director at Large. As a concert curator, Ms. Younger organized “Divine Ella,” part of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s annual Women’s Jazz Festival. She also served as curator of the 2016 Harp On Park concert series, “highlighting the diversity of the harp and the contemporary importance of an ancient instrument,” and most recently coordinated Her Song, featuring the works of women composers, both for Arts Brookfield.

Skyla Budd

Skyla Budd is a versatile harpist who has performed in many traditional and unusual venues.  She has performed at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center and at Carnegie Hall.  She has also performed at the Governor’s Comedy Club in Wantagh, at the LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, and at The Museum of Modern Art in NYC. 

Skyla received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Performance at Adelphi University and her Masters Degree in Music at The Mannes School of Music.   She has had  the opportunity to work with well-known conductors, David Hayes and JoAnn Falletta, for the Mannes Centennial Celebrations, and Joseph Colaneri for the Mannes Opera Productions.
Skyla has been part of the Mannes American Composers Ensemble (MACE) with conductor David Fulmer.  She is the founder of a unique chamber group, Trio Delphi, and she, a flutist, and a guitarist perform at various events.  

She has been part of the LIU Post Chamber Festival multiple times; she was soloist with the Chamber Orchestra in the Summer of 2013 when they performed the first movement of Handel’s Harp Concerto in B-Flat Major.

Skyla currently performs with different orchestras, at weddings, and at other special occasions. She also teaches students privately and frequently visits public schools, Girl Scout troops, and senior citizen homes to perform and educate people about the harp.