John Connolly is the program director for the Empire State Youth Orchestra’s CHIME Program, which was featured on WMHT’s AHA! A House for Arts program. Connolly is from Newcastle upon Tyne in England and now lives in Troy, NY.
1. Who has been an inspiration in your work?
There have been many inspirations in my working life but the biggest has to be the work of Maestro Jose Abreu, the creator and founder of El Sistema in Venezuela. I was fortunate enough to get to meet him in 2013 and what I saw and experienced in Venezuela changed my professional life completely, it was the fuel behind wanting to work for a Sistema inspired program full time and that is what brought me to America.
2. What are you most proud of about your work so far?
Designing, Implementing and sustaining the CHIME program to date. There is such talent in the Capital District and I feel honored that my program is helping the youth of the region realize their full potential.
3. Are you working on anything new right now?
We are currently designing an expansion of the CHIME program to serve children from 1st through 8th grades.
4. Best advice or tips for other artists/musicians?
Work hard! Nothing is handed to you in this business, be specific with what you want to do and then work every second of everyday getting there.
5. How do you take your coffee?
Medium cappuccino every time, although being from England I am still searching for a place to get a proper cup of tea!