Our Past

Our Future

CityMusic got its start in 1983 when Artistic Director and Founder Steve Rosenberg, in collaboration with community members, performed an informal concert with the Quantz Trio in the Short North Tavern on High Street.  The non-traditional venue offered a uniquely casual, friendly environment and the concert was a standing-room-only success.  Live chamber music became a regular occurrence at the Tavern and from there evolved into the CityMusic Chamber Music Series which was presented in the space for seventeen years. From the Short North Tavern, the Series moved to the historic Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus to the Grand Ballroom of the Athletic Club of Columbus.

The series received national recognition, including a feature article in Chamber Music magazine, for its innovative approach to presenting chamber music. Artists who have appeared in the Chamber Music Series include Paul Galbraith, the Jacque Thibaud String Trio, Cavani String Quartet, Stas Venglevski, and the Polonsky family.
CityMusic (formerly the Short North Performing Arts Association, Inc.) received non-profit status in 1987 and two years later expanded its offerings to include the World Music Series, designed to be a musical celebration of ethnic and cultural diversity. The World Music Series is the only Central Ohio series devoted exclusively to presenting the best in traditional and contemporary world and folk music.
The Columbus Dispatch lauded the series for “consistently presenting the finest in folk music spanning the world.” In 1995 the Greater Columbus Arts Council nominated the series for its Artistic Excellence Award, citing CityMusic’s “innovation and risk….as well as artistic merit.”  Artists who have appeared in the World Music Series include Odetta, Jay Unger & Molly Mason, Tarika, Cherish the Ladies, Altan, the Klezmatics, Catie Curtis, Vusi Mahlasela, Lila Downs, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Natalie MacMaster.

In recent years, CityMusic Columbus has made a concerted effort to ensure that the wonderful artists we bring in for performances on our chamber music series share their passion and artistry with children in the Columbus area through residencies, presentations, and workshops as a part of our Featured Artist Series.

Additionally, we partnered with the Godman Guild to present the Summer Youth Empowerment Program (SYEP) serving youth in the Weinland Park neighborhood.

We also recently created the Music and Reading at Livingston Library program where we teamed up with the Columbus Metropolitan LibraryColumbus Songwriters Association, and the Dick and Jane Project for an eight week bridge program focused on keeping Columbus youth engaged in music and learning throughout June and July.

Moving forward, our plan is to expand and increase our outreach programing to enrich and empower more Columbus youth through engaging and meaningful musical experiences.

Our Mission

The mission of CityMusic Columbus is to provide musical opportunities and education to under-served children and families in Central Ohio and to present unique musical events of diverse genres by top-rank artists.

Our Vision

Our vision is that music enhances learning, literacy, enrichment, spirituality and creativity. Exposure to music builds a better community. CityMusic Columbus can enrich the lives of children by filling the gaps in their musical experiences.


Board Members present on 8/23 from L to R: Leslie Laufman, President; Gayle Karafil; Eugene Braig; Erin Spring, Educational Director; Crystal Mayle, Treasurer; Dennis McCann, Vice President; Ceara Chiapparelli, Executive Director

Our Board

Leslie Laufman - President

Retired Physician                                                      

Dennis McCann - Vice President

Retired Attorney

Eugene Braig - Trustee

Artistic Director of Columbus Guitar Society's Concert Series, Biologist

Simone Ellerson - Trustee

Technical Assistance Specialist, Family Child Care

Action For Children​

Crystal Mayle, CPA - Trustee


Velocys, Inc.

Gayle Karafil - Trustee

Retired EMT, Professional Musician, Founder of the Joel Guild and Gayle Karafil Endowment

​​Questions? Suggestions? Contact us!

We're interested in your thoughts about our new focus and your ideas for programing and fundraising. Please use the form at the right to contact us.


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