Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts (, the nationally acclaimed summer arts day camp whose August 3 Gala featured the World Premiere of a jazz work by Richard DeRosa, announces the first of its Open Houses for the 2012 season. It will take place on October 23 from 11AM to 2PM.  In addition to the Center’s frequent Open House dates, Usdan also offers individual weekend guided tours available by appointment. Weekday self-guided walks are also available on the Center’s magnificent 200-acre woodland campus at 185 Colonial Springs Road, Wheatley Heights (Huntington), New York 11798.  Call (212) 772-6060 or (631) 643-7900, write to, or visit for more information.

The commissioned jazz work by Richard De Rosa, whose arrangements have been performed by Wynton Marsalis, Gerry Mulligan and other stars, is part of a new two-year grant for audience building in jazz, one recently awarded to the Usdan Center by the Rauch Foundation’s Founders’ Memorial Program. The program, titled Sustaining American Jazz: Inspiring Young Artists and Audiences, is intended to encourage interest in listening and performance by young people. The program will provide scholarships each year to promising high school students for summer jazz study at the Center; commissions for new works by leading jazz composers; collaborations with Long Island high school jazz ensembles for additional performances of the new pieces; and concerts and master classes at the Usdan Center by prominent artists. The Jazz Department was founded by Dr. Billy Taylor in 1986, and performances and master class teachers have included Jimmy Heath, Arturo O’Farrill, John Faddis, and Marian McPartland. The 2012 commissioned piece will be composed by Ted Rosenthal, whose works have been performed by Ron Carter and other major artists, and who has been called “A new jazz leader” by the New York Times.

Many of Usdan’s programs and special events, including excerpts from its August 3rd 2011 Gala Concert, may now be viewed on the Center’s recently re-launched website,  Designed by Lafiya Watson, Usdan’s Coordinator of Electronic Media, the site features a host of expanded functions intended to illustrate, for prospective and current students, and for families, alumni, and website visitors, the enormous range of programs available to students at Usdan. It has been designed to maximize the immediacy of visual and electronic aids, and it is fully coordinated with Usdan’s YouTube and Facebook sites.


Future Open Houses after October will be on Sundays November 20, 2012, January 22, 2012, March 18, 2012, April 22, 2012 and May 20, 2012; and Wednesday, February 22, 2012.   All Open Houses will be from 11 AM to 2 PM.  For appointments for weekend or weekday tours, call Gail London at (631) 643-7900.
Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, whose alumni include singer Jane Monheit, actor Natalie Portman and Mariah Carey, has introduced the arts to more than 50,000 Tri-State Area children since its founding in 1968. The Center is open to all young people from age 6 to 18. Usdan’s program features more than 40 four and seven-week programs in music, dance, theater, visual arts, writing, nature & ecology, and chess. No audition is needed for most programs – rather, admission is based on an expression of interest in the arts. Each summer, 1,600 students are transported to the Center in air-conditioned buses each day. One-third of Usdan’s students attend on scholarship. Although the mission of the Center is for every child to establish a relationship with the arts, the unique stimulation of the Center has caused many to go on to arts careers.   Usdan Center is an agency of the UJA Federation of New York.
Usdan’s 45th season begins June 25, 2012. For more information, write to, Call (212) 772-6060 or (631) 643-7900, or visit