Thurnauer School of Music

The JCC Thurnauer School of Music is renowned as a center of artistic and educational excellence open to all. Since 1984, the school has inspired thousands of students and families—transforming lives and sharing the joys of music. Through outstanding instruction, concerts, master classes, community events, and partnerships with local schools, Thurnauer offers opportunities for everyone in our community—from infants to senior citizens—to connect with the world of music.

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As a music school student, you will meet special friends with whom you can share the pleasure of making music. There are opportunities to meet, talk with, and even make music with world-renowned artists like Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Richard Goode, Wynton Marsalis, Paula Robison, Paquito D’Rivera, Joshua Bell, and Alan Gilbert. We also offer performance opportunities for you every month, both at the JCC and outside the school. Our students have performed with Whoopi Goldberg and Bob McGrath on Sesame Street, and have appeared at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, and bergenPAC. Music School alumni are aficionados and extraordinary performers, and all share a lifelong love for music that they credit to their experience at the school.

For concertgoers, Thurnauer is a place where you can hear extraordinary performances from many of the greatest musicians in the world. Our Thurnauer Chamber Music Series shares its love of music with you through concerts presented in the intimacy of our beautiful Eric Brown Theater, including concerts that introduce music to the youngest children in a fun-filled, relaxed way. Our talented faculty enriches our lives with a marvelous annual recital series, and each year the Gift of Music Gala Benefit Concert brings a star of the international concert stage to our school.

At Thurnauer, our goal is to make music come alive for everyone in our community. It is all part of an environment in which we love to make music, listen to music, and be involved in music in every way. Each year brings exciting new initiatives to develop and nurture, and much to look forward to. I hope you and your family will join us in this inspiring and stimulating adventure.
Dorothy Kaplan Roffman, Founding Director

Teen girl performing on stage.

The Thurnauers: A Legacy in Music

William Thurnauer, who passed away in March 2006 at the age of 92, was the Music School’s beloved benefactor and friend for over twenty years. He began his acquaintance with the school in the 1980’s, when his late wife, Maria, began taking many of the tender photographs of our students that still hang in the halls. In 1987, their lifetime dedication to music led Bill and Maria to endow the JCC Music School that bears their name. Bill was a loving presence at the school, first with Maria and, more recently, with his second wife, Lilo.

William Thurnauer was a president of the North Jersey Cultural Council and the Teaneck Symphony Society (later the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra), and on the boards of the International Society of Performing Arts Administrators and the Pro Arte Chorale. Maria, who passed away in 1999, was founder and director of the Friends of Music, which provided free chamber music concerts in this area when it was still viewed by many as a “cultural wasteland.” Bill and Maria brought many world-famous artists to Bergen County, for which they were honored by the International Society of Performing Arts Administrators.
Teen girl performing on stage.

Lilo Thurnauer, to whom Bill was married for the last several years of his life, continued to express her love for the Music School in many ways, including the establishment of a Scholarship Endowment in Bill’s memory. Her devotion to the school and desire to preserve the Thurnauer legacy are characterized by her consistent interest in our activities and ongoing support in so many ways.

Thanks to Bill, Maria, and Lilo, students of all ages and backgrounds have an opportunity to receive the education essential to a lifelong understanding and enjoyment of music. The contribution of these three individuals to the life of the music school has been immeasurable: encouraging new initiatives, lending their time and talents to a wide range of projects, and being a visible presence at the School’s many events over the years. Everyone who passes through the doors of the Thurnauer School of Music is a beneficiary of all that the Thurnauers have given to us, for which we are truly grateful.