Siblings Lauren Conner, 11, Ashleigh Conner, 10, & Christian Conner, 9, Play Classical Music in Subway to Raise Money for Homeless

Meet the Seriously Talented Young Siblings Who Play Classical Music in the Subway to Raise Money for the Homeless| Music, Good Deeds, Music News, Real People Stories

(From left) Lauren, 11, Ashleigh, 10 and Christian Conner, 9  (Photo via

Lauren, Ashleigh and Christian Conner have been studying music since they were toddlers. Violinists and a cellist, the trio of siblings has long had a heart for music.  But when they moved to New York from New Jersey last year and saw the number of homeless people in the city’s streets, they realized they had a heart for much more.

“I saw [the homeless people] on the street and I felt sad for them,” Christian, 9, tells PEOPLE.

The three moved from Sussex County in October with their parents, Zenobia and Keith Conner. Zenobia says that from the moment the family got to the city, Christian wanted to help.

She tells PEOPLE that the young cellist would repeatedly ask her for money to give to the less fortunate and, after awhile, she said, “If you want to give some money to the homeless, then go out there and play your cello.”

And play he did. Christian and his sisters, 10-year-old Ashleigh and 11-year-old Lauren (both violinists), decided to take to the Fulton Street subway station to play music with hopes of raising enough money to give to the less fortunate.  To see video of these amazing siblings busking, click here.

Meet the Seriously Talented Young Siblings Who Play Classical Music in the Subway to Raise Money for the Homeless| Music, Good Deeds, Music News, Real People Stories

Talented Young Conner Siblings Who Play Classical Music in the Subway to Raise Money for the Homeless (photo via

Last week, the three siblings set up their music stands in a corner of the bustling station. Ashleigh tells PEOPLE that on their first day, they played for two hours and raised a little more than $240. The three play works by composers like Beethoven, Bach and Karl Jenkins as onlookers in the station watch in amazement.

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Sisters with Strings: Jasmin “Char” Charles and Margaux Whitney are Brooklyn-based Classical Duo Chargaux


If the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “classical music” is stuffy older folks politely clapping for elevator music, you may want to reconsider. Chargaux, a Brooklyn-based duo that play the violin and viola, are using classical string arrangements in bold, soulful ways, and incorporating stunning visuals to help you see their sounds. (Think neon-colored box braids moving furiously over a classical orchestration of a Beyoncé cover.) Chargaux produces sounds that would have kept you focused in your high school music class.

Jasmin “Char” Charles and Margaux Whitney met on a street in Boston and immediately connected over their love for music. Both classically trained, it wasn’t long before the two started jamming in New York City train stations, drawing diverse crowds of strap-hangers from across the world–and it took off from there. The beautiful chords at the end of Kendrick Lamar’s “B*tch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” is also Chargaux’s work. This year, they performed at Opening Ceremony’s fashion show and their latest EP, Broke and Baroque was released this month. EBONY chatted with the duo on their creative process, what it’s like to be Black classical musicians in the industry and why there is really no one quite like them.

EBONY:  What kind of stories do your music and visual art pieces tell? What kind of people do they speak to or do you hope they reach?

MARGAUX:  I love my generation despite our flaws, so I want our music to reach them. The Internet has made us a little impatient. Everyone wants what they want right away and likes what they like. Our art is a way of changing that, of giving people something they didn’t know they wanted, a new experience. On the other hand, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want to reach, well, basically everyone. If somebody’s grandma is jammin’ to my song, I’d be ecstatic. As girls from Detroit and Atlanta braving New York and experiencing some of the best and challenging moments in our lives thus far, I think the music tells a beautiful story. We want you to have fun and enjoy what you hear but also feel the passion and drive behind it. Continue reading

Clarinetist Anthony McGill Becomes New York Philharmonic’s 1st African-American Section Leader

Anthony McGill

Clarinetist Anthony McGill (Hiroyuki Ito / Getty Images)

The great clarinetist Anthony McGill has made history by becoming the first African-American principal, or section leader, in the New York Philharmonic, effective this fall. His appointment is among several changes at the symphony reported by The New York Times.

McGill and bassist Timothy Cobb were both poached from New York’s Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, where they served as first chairs. The Philharmonic will announce several more hires in the coming months, including a violinist to replace outgoing concertmaster Glenn Dicterow.

Although the Philharmonic is regarded as the standard bearer of American orchestras and has recently updated its image with contemporary repertoire and multimedia staging, under the leadership of young conductor Alan Gilbert, it has made slow progress in terms of racial diversity. In 1962, violinist Sanford Allen became the first full-time African-American member, and there have been few people of color, other than Asians or Asian-Americans, since.

According to Aaron P. Dworkin, president of the Sphinx Organization and a leading advocate for inclusion in classical music, McGill’s “talent and artistic excellence exemplify the future of America’s classical music landscape.”

article by E. Tammy Kim via The Scrutineer