Niños and ARMONÍA SOCIAL Education Programs
In 2007, the Orchestra inaugurated Niños, its innovative Arts-in-Education pilot program in New York City public schools, and Armonía Social, its sister program, performed whilst on tour in Mexico.
In New York, over the course five months of classroom visits and teaching sessions, POA musicians and performing ensembles join Alondra de la Parra in each school.
The Niños program’s primary goal is to introduce students to the basic building blocks of classical musical composition, and work with students to compose a new work for orchestra using student melodies, rhythms and instrumentation choices.
Student compositional material from the in-school teaching sessions in the participating schools is then combined by a professional composer and arranger, and crafted into a suite of world premiere orchestral pieces for full symphony orchestra, which are then performed in public concert by the full Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas at its annual Niños Concert in New York City, before a sold-out audience of the students and their parents (who are provided with free and subsidized tickets), as well as regular patrons.
In 2009, the Orchestra expanded Niños to more schools, serving third and fourth grade students at PS 187 (Hudson Cliff's School) in Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood, and adding Harlem Day Charter School (District 8) and Discovery Programs (District 8) to the program. The expansion also included a greater number of classes in each school being taught by a larger number of POA musicians, ensembles and teaching artists.
In Mexico, the Orchestra performs a range of shorter education programs and youth orchestra collaborations during its tours, and these activities are collectively titled Armonía Social.