• Center for Traditional Music and Dance Center for Traditional Music and Dance


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Mission Statement

Founded in 1968, the Center for Traditional Music and Dance works in partnership with New York's immigrant communities to assist them to preserve their performing arts traditions and share them with audiences across the city.


Since its founding in 1968, CTMD has produced over 1000 major presentations including concerts, festivals, tours, CD and film series, and lectures. Materials gathered by CTMD staff, folklorists, ethnomusicologists and community cultural specialists are the basis for subsequent artistic presentations and educational programming. CTMD-produced recordings, publications, and documentary films preserve and document cultural traditions and educate the public about the rich artistic heritage ofNew York's diverse immigrant/ethnic communities. Annually serving more than 100,000 artists, immigrant/ethnic community, and general audience members, CTMD's programs have a positive impact upon the continuous evolution of cultural traditions within a community and help to ensure that the artistic traditions, which define a community, continue to exist and have contemporary meaning for successive generations. Activities include:

*Community Cultural Initiatives - multi-year field research and presentation projects which help community and cultural activists, artists and educators within targeted immigrant/ethnic communities to preserve their cultural traditions;

*Sharing Traditions - after school programs providing youth inNew York City’s immigrant communities with instruction and ensemble performance opportunities in the performing arts traditions of their communities.

*An-Sky Initiative for Jewish Culture- a partnership with New York University, the 92 St. Y, the Workmen’s Circle and the Center for Jewish History to research and revitalize the practice of traditional East European Jewish performing arts;

*Masters on Stage- ongoing partnerships with major institutions (i.e.,Lincoln Center,New York Historical Society,AmericanMuseum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution) that are designed to introduce leading practitioners ofNew York’s rich immigrant expressive traditions to wider audiences;

*New York World Festival - a biennial event devoted each time to a different region of the world. Celebrating New York as the most culturally diverse city in the world, the festival acknowledges the vitality of immigrant and ethnic performing arts and their contributions to the New York City landscape;

*Touring Artists - a program designed to promote community-based artists and assist these artists access mainstream performance venues and media acrossNorth America;

*Sounds of Immigrant New York - leading ethnomusicologists present public multi-media lectures on the music/dance traditions of New York’s immigrant communities.

*Archives/Dissemination - over the past thirty-five years, through extensive fieldwork and research, the Center has assembled one of the largest collections of urban immigrant and ethnic music anywhere in America. The collection includes audio and video recordings, photographic documentation and related ephemera on CTMD’s presentations and programs. Sound and video recordings are published through CTMD’s Ethnic Heritage Recording Series as well as the Global Beat of the Boroughs series on Smithsonian Folkways. A monthly eNewsletter provides news, events and information about NY’s traditional music and dance scene.

CTMD's programs and initiatives help build the cultural infrastructure within immigrant/ethnic communities by bolstering immigrant/ethnic artistic traditions within the community and introducing these time-honored and continually evolving traditions to larger, more diverse audiences.



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