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Center for Traditional Music & Dance - and we congratulate Pete Rushefsky

CTMD logoThose of us who remember the Center for Traditional Music & Dance back when it was the Balkan Arts Center as the source of the last Dave Tarras cassettes and several wonderful events, along with newer folks aware of the organization only by its current name, are pretty pleased by the following news:

In summary: the organization's capable former Exec Dir. has resigned, and the new Executive Director is that master of the tsimbl (soon to be master of fundraising) and new denizen of New York City, Pete Rushefsky

Date: February 20, 2006
Contact: Jodi Hewat,Operations & Publications Manager,
Center for Traditional Music & Dance
Phone: 212-571-1555,ext.21
Fax: 212-571-9052
Web: www.ctmd.org

Co-founder and long-term Executive and Artistic Director Ethel Raim will be stepping down as Executive Director of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance. The Center’s Board of Directors has appointed Peter I. Rushefsky, a seasoned not-for-profit health care executive and traditional music artist as its new Executive Director. Ms. Raim will continue to serve as Artistic Director for a transitional period and remain on the Center’s Board.

Ethel Raim has spent the better part of her lifetime tuning American ears to the tremendous beauty of traditional music and assisting communities to support their own cultural legacy. Her love of Balkan music brought her together with Martin Koenig to co-direct the Balkan Arts Center in 1976 – which was renamed the Ethnic Folk Arts Center in the ‘80s and later the Center for Traditional Music and Dance. She developed many of the innovative program models for which the Center is best known, including the Center’s Community Cultural Initiatives – long-term projects designed to establish and nurture community-based artistic documentation and presentation in New York City's immigrant, ethnic and refugee communities.

Under the leadership of Ms. Raim, the Center has become one of the nation's leading proponents of what the late Alan Lomax called “cultural equity,” the right of every community or ethnic group to express and sustain its distinctive cultural heritage. “Through her long career as an advocate of traditional performing arts and her leadership at the Center, Ethel Raim has helped America appreciate and value the vibrancy of its ethnic diversity” said Rick Luftglass, Sr. Director of U.S. Philanthropy at Pfizer and the Center’s Chairman.

Over the past fifteen years, Peter I. Rushefsky has built a highly successful track record of operational and financial leadership experience in the not-for-profit health care field. He served as Executive Director of Univera Healthcare-Southern Tier and Vice-President/Chief Operating Officer of Lifetime Health in Syracuse, NY. Mr. Rushefsky is a leading authority on Jewish klezmer music as well as an internationally-acclaimed performer and teacher who has authored a number of articles about traditional music and has served on the faculty of prominent Yiddish cultural programs like KlezKamp and KlezKanada. Through his work on a variety of community boards including the Buffalo Jewish Federation and the Buffalo Junior Chamber of Congress, Mr. Rushefsky has spearheaded significant fundraising and community-building activities. Mr. Rushefsky earned his B.S. from Cornell University and holds a Master’s in Health Services Administration from the Unive rsity of Michigan, Ann Arbor. “Pete Rushefsky brings a unique mix of business acumen, dedication to community service and expertise and passion for traditional music and dance. We are thrilled to have him aboard as our new Executive Director” said Luftglass.


The Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD) is a leading not-for-profit arts organization that has served New York City for more than three decades by strengthening performing arts traditions among ethnic and new immigrant cultures through educational programming, public performance and community partnerships. The Center develops and presents research-based performance and education programs for general and community audiences, collaborates with cultural institutions, documents traditions, produces audio and visual publications, main tains and extensive archive, promotes performance opportunities and builds support for community-based cultural expression.

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