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About Us

Ascent expands the traditional festival educational model to inspire and guide musicians of the 21st century through immersive performative experience, community engagement, and a whole-life approach to learning. Ascent Music was founded in 2021 by Dr. Sarah Kim and Alan Rafferty.

Inspired by the Cincinnati Young Artists programs they co-directed for ten years, the mission of Ascent Music is to provide an opportunity for the nation’s talented pre-professional and young professional musicians to improve their ensemble and performance skills through intensive festivals, master classes, and concerts with internationally renowned faculty. The primary goal of Ascent Music is to inspire and guide musicians in their technical and artistic growth. We aim to make a contribution to our society and culture in the form of classical music education and performance, by advancing the development of the next generation and nurturing the young person as a whole.

Ascent strives to provide opportunities for young musicians from all walks of life regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, religion or disability.  

Alumni of the Cincinnati Young Artists programs occupy positions in professional orchestras, string quartets, hold teaching positions and have been accepted to such institutions as Juilliard, Curtis, New England Conservatory, Harvard, USC, Cleveland Institute of Music, Northwestern University and the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music to name a few.