Our Mission: Enriching the lives of young people through music.
AFA enriches the lives of young people through music. We accomplish this mission by:
- Creating educational programs for young people in safe and respectful environments
- Encouraging talent and creativity in programs that empower life skills through musical achievement
- Committing to excellence in teaching, faculty and state-of-the-art collaborations
- Leading collaborations that meet the needs of the arts education community
AFA’s approach makes musical development and accomplishment a vehicle for academic learning, personal growth and community involvement—impacting many areas of our students’ lives.
In its twentieth anniversary season (2014-15), AFA served nearly 2,000 young musicians, offered over 40,000 hours of classroom instruction and presented nearly 50 free performances throughout the greater Houston metro area. AFA’s work in our community is divided into three main program areas:
AFA IN SCHOOLS presents a broad range of classroom-based residencies, clinics and master classes in area schools that enhance school curricula and impact potentially underserved communities through innovative, customized programming.
AFA’s YEAR-ROUND CURRICULUM (Chamber Music Academy, Composer Institute, Houston Girls Chorus) is presented in collaboration with Houston’s finest performing arts organizations and offers unique learning opportunities in the fall and spring semesters that challenge young musicians at their next level of musical learning and accomplishment.
AFA’s flagship program, the SUMMER MUSIC CONSERVATORY is the highest level of age-appropriate training that AFA offers. Students participate in intensive, challenging, multi-week experiences for vocalists, orchestral performers, pianists and composers.
FINANCIAL AID & SCHOLARSHIPS
Every AFA program is guided by two important philosophies that form the basis of our work with young people:
- Financial hardship should never be a barrier between a young musician and the experiences that have the potential to shape their futures. AFA’s Scholarship Enrichment Fund provides financial aid and merit scholarships to students in all AFA programs and underwrites AFA IN SCHOOLS residencies so that they can be offered at little to no cost to area schools.
- The opportunity to showcase one’s achievements is an essential part of the learning process. AFA’s annual Concert Series promotes the talents and accomplishments of AFA students through nearly 50 free performances every year, ranging from in-school assemblies to performances at Jones Hall, Houston Ballet’s Center for Dance, The Wortham Theater Center and Miller Outdoor Theatre. Welcoming more than 8,000 attendees annually, AFA concerts are a free, community-based concert-going option for local audiences and out-of-town visitors alike.
AFA (formerly “American Festival for the Arts”) was founded in 1993 by Houston composer J. Todd Frazier as a series of touring music education residencies at colleges and museums in San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Stephenville, Texas. After two years of tours, AFA launched its flagship program, the SUMMER MUSIC CONSERVATORY, in 1996. Acclaimed for safeguarding quality arts education experiences in times of economic decline, the Conservatory has grown to enroll over 350 second through twelfth-grade students every summer.
In 2004, composer and AFA Deputy Director Michael Remson was appointed Executive Director and, following the retirement of founder Todd Frazier in 2007, was promoted to Executive and Artistic Director. Under Dr. Remson’s leadership, AFA launched new elementary, middle school and choral divisions of the Summer Music Conservatory and AFA’s YEAR-ROUND CURRICULUM and the AFA IN SCHOOLS initiative in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
As AFA embarks on its third decade of service to our community, new initiatives are being implemented to broaden AFA’s impact throughout Southeast Texas.