The Challenge

In New York, a city full of creative energy that fuels innovation and opportunities, music (and music education) is an important source of inspiration, strengthening social bonds, and serving as a universal language that builds unity between communities. Music is an essential tool for self-expression, supporting the healthy mental and emotional development of our youth.

Unfortunately, lack of funding in schools and other public programs have resulted in the disappearance of music from educational curriculums and has limited our youth’s exposure to experiencing music in live formats. This eliminates significant opportunities for exposure to new experiences, the development of nascent tastes and the ability to hone the talents of future artists.

Additionally, attending live music experiences is often not feasible due to high ticket costs, access to locations or a simple lack of awareness. As a result, they seldom escape their “musical bubbles“ formed by the limited set of music discoverable through their immediate environment, including the rigid recommendation algorithms of streaming services.

The Initiative

“Listen To New York“ is a live experience, bringing quality performances of music and other arts like spoken word directly to underserved youth, within an intimate venue. Participants get to listen to singer-songwriters, beatboxers, poets, and other artists in an up close and personal setting, interact with these performers and ask them questions, and talk about their own stories, including their artistic pursuits and aspirations.

We invite children/teens to actively work with the artists before each event. Every artist leads a “mini-mentorship” in which they take a child under their musical wings for a limited time and collaborate on a piece that they will then perform at the actual event. The mentorship could entail composing a song, writing a poem, preparing a spoken word piece/rap, or even playing a musical instrument of choice.

The day of the event, each artist performs a small set for the attendees, then calls the child they’ve worked with onto the stage. They’ll either perform their piece together, or the student will go solo, depending on the artistic concept in question and their level of comfort and confidence.

The Mission

We seek to support our future artists of New York by ensuring they can be witnesses to – and participants in – successful creative processes and cultural exchanges that push their creative boundaries. We want every participant to emerge from the program inspired and motivated to keep exploring their artistic interests through other avenues.

Our mission at “Listen to New York” is to ensure children can experience music beyond their existing tastes and cultural backgrounds. We believe that by piquing their interest through the mentorship programs and live performances, we’ll open their eyes to new ideas while helping them build self-confidence and become more creative.

Our team

Hauke Gahrmann


Having moved between New York and Germany for almost twenty years, Hauke Gahrmann permanently settled in New York City twelve years ago, where he strategically directed his lifelong love of music and passion for helping the underserved urban youth into a highly successful passion project.

The first iteration of this vision was NYCROPHONE – a website and blog launched in 2008, designed to support quality music made by emerging artists. The blog quickly evolved to include recordings, concerts, and more to create a full experience of sound, film, and events. By 2014, Hauke was producing live music events and videos, including an event for NBC Universal at Rockefeller Center. With nearly 1.5 million views, the YouTube channel became testament to the initiative’s snowballing success. Hauke has now produced over 30 artists and 130 music videos, and launched a concert series in Manhattan which since 2014 has held 17 concerts to date, and presented 60 artists.

In 2018, Hauke unveiled a second initiative, Listen To New York (LISTEN2NY) – in some ways an outgrowth of NYCROPHONE, but with an even clearer social enterprise at its core. LISTEN2NY was born out of a profound social challenge that Hauke was committed to addressing.

Gabrielle Lakshmi


Gabrielle Lakshmi is a performer, composer, and music educator. She has worked as choraldirector for Holy Cross High School, acted as musical director for school and regional theater companies, and operates her own music studio.

Why I listen2NY: Moving to NYC to pursue my career in music left me missing my students! When I connected with Hauke, I knew I found my place to help create those impactful relationships through music!

Kenny Rodriguez


Kenny Rodriguez is the premier photographer of the NYC night life. With a singular eye, almost entirely utilizing available light, Kenny’s portfolio tells a visual history of post millennial NYC. What began as a modest project of documenting artists he respects and parties that lacked a consistent visual voice quickly became a full time occupation. His impressive portfolio boasts exclusive collections of acts ranging from KRS-One and Jay-Z to Beirut and Metallica. His long running DJ Project extends Kenny’s work out of the clubs and into the homes for biographical studies of his subjects‘ normal lives. His photos have been featured in GQ, The Wall Street Journal, Time Out, and Crush Magazine and several features in Europe, Japan and South America.

In 2014 Rodriguez was hired on to document Bud Light’s „WhatevertownUSA“ program which turned the small town of Crested Butte, Colorado into a massive party. Kenny’s abilities to capture the wild atmosphere while maintaining the standard of quality and engagement he has with his subjects led him to work with Nike, The Lexington Clothing Company, L’oréal, GM, Chevrolet and Cadillac. Kenny’s automotive studies are as riveting as his human ones. His ability to provide detailed and compelling studies of Cadillac’s new models extends his portfolio of portraiture. He gives the vehicles a voice, treating them with the attention and respect he does his human subjects.

With his free hand Rodriguez maintains a sleepless schedule raising his children Antoinette and Marlo with his wife Zoe in Washington Heights. The family photo album, like Rodriguez, is remarkable.

CR Capers


CR Capers is the Founder and CEO of Harlem Film House, a 501(c) 3) corporation, that creates and produces film & music festivals, operates year-round workshops, theatre productions and live events, while also offering business consulting to filmmakers and content creators in underserved communities around the world.

In her role as Executive Director, CR creates a economic ecosystem by providing filmmakers services and resources to ensure longevity in careers in film, theatre and related entrepreneurial pursuits. It is a “new media” company that leverages social media and large scale events to change the narrative. C R is referred to as a „new media socialite“ having produced major events from corporate fundraisers to film screenings to festivals. The events she produces provides an ecosystem with marketing and strategic partnerships between filmmakers, activists, businesses and the community at large.

She is the founder and CEO of the award winning Hip Hop Film Festival, named “BEST NEW FILM FESTIVAL THE UNITED STATES” for 2016. Her popular radio show and podcast “Why You Mad Son?” (which deals with the social ills plaguing the human community) generated over 3 million listeners worldwide and still boasts a legion of loyal fans raised in the global Hip Hop culture.

She has directed and produced 3 films and 2 shorts through her film company MBS Films.

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