José Pietri-Coimbre is a gifted educator, as well as performing violinist, violist, and operatic baritone. He was born and raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and began taking violin lessons at the age of 7 at a local city-sponsored afterschool program. The program that inspired José, or the “Instituto”, as it was endearingly referred, became a second home for him, and by the time he was a teen he was taking music courses there as well as visual arts courses at another state-sponsored local fine arts school five days a week. José’s formative years in musical afterschool programs helped him appreciate the power of music and its ability to transform a person’s life, as well as the power of afterschool as a place for a young person to be understood, nurtured, and feel safe to be him or herself. José has gone on to use music as a means to unlock the talents and passions of young people for nearly 20 years.
José joined the Third Street Music School Settlement in 2004, beginning as a violin instructor, and expanding to teach viola, chamber music, Suzuki repertoire classes, orchestra sectionals and music theory. Over the years, José has become a pillar in the community, inspiring the littlest children to the most advanced to find their expressive voice through music, individualizing his approach to find the one that will connect and ignite a student’s spark. For José, his lessons extend beyond music to include what it can do for one’s life, teaching his students to help and care for one another and find beauty in the simple things. Through his time at Third Street, José has taught more than 250 students through the main school and over 600 children through the Partners program.
José’s impact extends beyond individual students, and can be felt through the school as a whole. José took over a floundering Chamber Music Program and significantly increased enrollment by creating a trusting and collaborative environment which encourages students and faculty to exchange ideas, and students of different ability levels to work together.
José is also an accomplished performer and is frequently engaged as chamber and orchestral musician in both violin and viola, playing in many regional ensembles and subbing for the pit orchestra of Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera. José is also regularly engaged as a classical/operatic baritone and has been a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall, Weill Hall, Symphony Space, and many other venues.
José has a graduate degree in violin performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and a Suzuki Method Teacher Certification from the School for Strings in New York City.