Community MusicWorks (CMW) is a nationally recognized community-based organization that uses music education and performance as a vehicle to build lasting and meaningful relationships between children, families, and professional musicians in urban neighborhoods of Providence, RI.
Founded in 1997 by Sebastian Ruth with start-up funding from the Swearer Center for Public Service at Brown University, the program began with just fifteen violin students. Today, CMW is a thriving organization with thirteen professional resident musicians and more than 125 neighborhood children participating free of charge—some for as long as 10 years—regardless of talent or ability. Resident musicians teach instrument lessons in violin, viola and cello, mentor students, organize events and perform in a robust concert series throughout Providence and the surrounding communities.
Our students, who live predominantly in Providence’s South Side neighborhoods, receive instruments free of charge and participate in a variety of activities, including lessons, studio classes and workshops. The success of our program is demonstrated by a 90 percent student retention rate from year to year. CMW receives strong ongoing support from our local community, and from our growing community of fans across the U.S. and beyond.
CMW has been featured in The New Yorker as a “revolutionary organization in which the distinction between performing and teaching disappears.” The program has also received numerous awards, including a CMAcclaim Award from Chamber Music America for “significant and lasting impact on their community” and the Jabez Gorham Award from the Arts & Business Council of Rhode Island for “unwavering commitment to excellence, significant impact on the community, and success in organizational development.”