Music Haven Duo Departing

Paul Bass PhotoA wife-and-husband team responsible for building one of the city’s most vibrant new-ish arts not-for-profits is preparing to leave the stage.

That means a time of transition is in store for the organization, Music Haven.

Executive Director Tina Lee Hardari (at center in top photo), who founded the organization in 2006, announced in a letter to supporters and participating families, that she will step down from her post in June 2015. A national search is taking place for her replacement. Her husband, Netta Hardari, the organization’s development director for the past six years, will also step down then.

Working out of a converted former garage behind St. Luke’s Church on Whalley Avenue, Music Haven provides tuition-free after-school classical-music lessons (instruments included) to kids from New Haven’s Newhallville, Dixwell, Dwight, and Hill neighborhoods. It has a robust schedule of student recitals as well as faculty “Haven String Quartet” public performances in unorthodox public settings as well as from the back of a truck. (Click here, here, and here for stories by Lucy Gellman about some of those events.) Its annual budget has grown from an original $45,900 to $461,381. Music Haven is also responsible for the rockingest acoustic-string version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” ever heard on New Haven’s streets, during last year’s Arts & Ideas Festival. (Click on the video to watch.)

Kathleen Cei Photo“After many months of reflection and deliberation, along with the recent birth of Emma, our second daughter, Netta and I have decided that it is time for us to open the doors to new possibilities, both for our family and for Music Haven,” the executive director wrote in the letter, which includes details about the transition, and which you can read in full here. “Eight years later, I marvel at our community. I am proud to see our budding musicians keenly aware of their sense of belonging and their potential contributions to their community. I am perpetually in awe of our families and parents, from whom I have learned so much and whose friendship I will always cherish. I am inspired by the commitment, passion, and capacity of my talented colleagues.”

Lucy Gellman Photo

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