To promote balanced diversity in the performing arts and foster immediate change in the representation of orchestral and classical music with the fierce urgency of now through performance, education, discussion and dialogue.


Ovation Concerts was formed with the purpose of presenting artistically diverse, world-class musical performances based in  the lower Manhattan community to provide a high level of artistic return to intrigue, educate and provide enrich­ment for all in attendance.


Lead by Ovation Concerts’ founding board member and Executive Director, Burt Mason, our leadership is based uniquely varied art backgrounds drawing drawing from excellent and seasoned creative minds in the performing arts world. 

Who we Are

Ovation Concerts is a not-for-profit organization incorporated in the state of New York, which has been formed to immediately impact the rep­resentation of minorities in orchestral music. We endeavor to provide unique and meaningful arts programming for children and adults, educate audiences and artists alike, provide significant exposure for emerging performing art­ists and build a lifelong audience for areas of the arts that have been long overlooked in performance and cur­riculum. Although we will incorporate several aspects of the fine arts into our programs, our focus is on instrumental and orchestral music performance spanning several genres including classical, jazz and pop. Most performances are be preceded by educational workshops or masterclasses, for participants’ families, as well as the faculty, staff and students of our partner institution. We will offer a dynamic and constantly evolving program, operating in four branches:

Prestige Performances

Untold Legacies

Prodigy Educational Outreach

TopTech Internships

Engage. Educate. Enlighten.



di·​ver·​si·​ty | \ də-ˈvər-sə-tē 

 The inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a
group or organization.

Ovation Concerts was formed with the purpose of presenting artistically diverse, world-class musical performances for the lower Manhattan community. We provide a high level of artistic return to intrigue, educate and provide enrichment for all in attendance.

The ultimate artistic goal of the Ova­tion Series is to provide diverse, well-trained and passionate emerging artists the opportunities to collaborate with established, renowned artists. This, com­bined with the promotion of true diversity in the arts, will foster immediate change in minority representation in orchestras and classical music.

Ovation Concerts intends to be a beacon of live music in an indoor con­cert setting in lower New York City. The Centennial Memorial Temple, a 1400 seat, historical landmarked, state-of-the-art performance facility located at the crossroads of the city’s Chelsea and Greenwich Village neighborhoods, serves as the primary venue.

The performing arts community is in great need of ethnic diversity, particularly in classical music. Despite a flourishing minority artist community in New York, these issues have not been effectively addressed.

There is a vast underrepresentation of minorities throughout the world of classical music, in both performance and administrative roles. According to the League of American Orchestras, African Americans make up less than 2% of artistic personnel nationwide.
Ovation Concerts, based in New York City at Centennial Memorial Hall, provides performance opportunities for emerging classical musicians, vocal and instrumental, in an ensemble and solo setting. Emerging talent have the opportunity to perform with established, world-renowned artists. Musicians of African descent are strongly encouraged to apply and participate.
Ovation Concerts thrives on the knowledge that cultural interaction enriches the arts within communities by offering opportunities for mutual sharing, questioning, learning, understanding and change. We recognize two fundamental truths:

1) today’s society is comprised of diverse, constantly shifting strands and identities, and

2) this cultural interaction involves change for all people. We do not isolate this metamorphosis to non-traditional or minority communities. Ovation Concerts understands the term cultural diversity, as it applies to the arts, to encompass inclusive arts programming–more specifically, intercultural arts practice between artists and their communities from a wide range of national, ethnic or cultural groups.

Ovation Concerts seeks to have an immediate impact on the representation of black musicians in the field of classical music, with a concentration on instrumentalists and orchestral musicians to achieve balanced diversity in all of its outlets.
To facilitate this, the programs take a unique approach to create lasting change in the world of orchestral music for today’s society in several ways.


Ovation Concerts’ funding board member and Executive Director, Burt Mason, has a uniquely varied art background drawing him to this endeavor. Mr. Mason holds a BA in Music with highest honors, in addition to a Performer’s Certificate and double minor in the business of music and business economics from the Crane School of Music at SUY Potsdam. He also holds an MBA in Arts Administration with honors from SUNY Binghamton and a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Additionally, he performs with many professional orchestras including the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and is on the faculty of the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program. Mr. Mason has performed internationally and is an advocate for balanced diversity in the performing arts. He has appeared as a guest on Conducting Business on WQR (105.9), New York City’s classical music radio station.

Our Board of Directors is a diverse group of individuals from leading arts organizations and institutions who all have a vested interest in advancing the legacy of those individuals and groups who have been traditionally underrepresented in the orchestral performance field.