At 18, Juilliard violin virtuoso and Yale University freshman Jourdan Urbach has already received international acclaim: for his musical artistry, his sweeping contributions to MS-focused neuroscience research, and his humanitarian and philanthropic endeavors as founder and director of Children Helping Children, a musical charity organization that raises funds through Concerts for a Cure for cutting edge neurological research, pediatric hospital divisions with groundbreaking programs in music therapy, and international medical organizations targeting the eradication of neurological disease, especially among children. To date, Urbach has raised over $4.6 million to fight neurological disease. Compared by NY critics to a “Young Paganini” with “buttery smooth playing and laser sharp technique,” Urbach has been the headline performer at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, The Meadowlands, The Tilles Center, The Kravis Center in Palm Beach: a production of the national radio show: From the Top, The Wortham Center in Houston, Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Universal City in LA, among dozens of other legendary concert venues. Host Robert Sherman of WQXR’s Young Artist Showcase called Urbach “the one to watch for the future…a brilliant and persuasive performer.”
Urbach’s concert career has included four sold-out performances at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and musical collaborations with Multi-Platinum Country Music Star Clay Walker and Emmy nominated composer Chris Caswell—with two world premieres written for him by Caswell. Urbach was presented as classical music’s “Rising Star” at The Ventura Music Festival, under the direction of Maestro Nuvi Mehta; in Memphis as the prestigious “2009 Artist Ascending Winner” (following in the footsteps of such past winners as: Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham, Daniel Barenboim and Mischa Dichter). In November, 2008, Urbach recorded the track Banana Banjo, on comedian Steve Martin’s new Blue Grass album—released by Capitol Records in January, 2009; and in February, 2009 he was commissioned to compose and perform his first original film score for the short film: “Elah and the Moon” which will be screened at The Cannes Film Festival this spring.
While a freshman at Yale, Urbach was chosen to compose the original score for Dramat’s production of Metamorphoses, earning him great critical acclaim (METAMORPHOSES: "Captivating is the original score by Jourdan Urbach ’13, which complements every embrace, every kiss and every plot twist" (Yale Daily News)..." "Stunning. Simply Stunning. Urbach blew it out of the water with his score...the most ambitious undertaking Yale Drama has ever heard...Urbach's incredible talent is obvious and we are brimming with excitement to hear what he'll do with Arcadia in April" (Dramat)); the score for Yale Repertory Theater’s production of Arcadia (April production); and the original score for a new play at Yale Rep, Page 199 (April production).
Urbach is the recipient of numerous humanitarian and leadership awards for championing health care innovations and pediatric hospital programs for children in need the world over, including being the just-announced winner of the World of Children "Junior Nobel Prize" for Global Child Advocacy, He also is the recipeint of a 2010
Build-a-Bear Huggable Heroes Scholarship and The Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and
and selection as a featured speaker at the 2010 TEDx Conference in Washington, D.C.
He has won: The Associated Television International 2008 Hero Awards; The NY State and National Prudential Spirit of Community Scholarship Awards; The National Caring Award; The Better Hours International Award for Humanitarian Leadership; The NY State Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award; and The Liberty Medal for NYC, along with being named a 2009 National Coca Cola Scholar, National AXA Achievement Scholar, Nestles Very Best in Youth Winner, and National Toyota Scholar.
Urbach has been featured on: The Today Show, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, CNN-Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN-Weekend News, Montel Williams, The Glenn Beck Show, CBS News Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, and MTV documentary: True Lives: Genius and Prodigy; and has been profiled in The New York Times, The Daily News, The New York Post, Newsday, People Magazine, Teen People Magazine (as one of “Twenty Teens Who Will Change the World”), Time Magazine for Kids, Family Circle and US News & World Report.
Urbach’s most recent philanthropic activity is as Founder and Executive Director of the International Coalition of College Philanthropists (ICCP). The goal of the ICCP is to celebrate and encourage humanitarian leadership among college students by creating an elite Honor Society for Philanthropy, as an analogue to the Phi Beta Kappa Society on the finest college campuses in America, thereby linking the young, entrepreneurial leaders of our nation’s major universities in promotion of collegiate social action and charity.
Jourdan Urbach is a rising sophomore at Yale University; he has studied privately with Patinka Kopec, at The Juilliard School with Catherine Cho, and presently studies with Ani Kavafian at Yale. His violin is an 1850 Vuillaume.
Jourdan began CHC by gathering other accomplished, young musicians from Juilliard and Manhattan conservatories and producing monthly performances at NYC hospital playrooms. From 1999-2005, he played his violin room to room in the neurosurgical ICUs at Beth Israel Medical Center, and performed four benefit concerts at Carnegie Recital Hall which funded life-saving neurosurgery for 12 indigent children, as well as musical therapy services for pediatric patients post-op. He beheld the power music has to heal and stimulate the brain when he performed at BIMC’s 10th floor playroom, and witnessed the movement of a previously unresponsive child who had recently undergone neurosurgery. Every monitor she was hooked up to commenced beeping as she began reacting to the music. It was a moment Jourdan will never forget—there before him was the success of music therapy—a symbiotic reaction between medicine and music to which he devotes his life’s work. As Jourdan saw the impact this model of music therapy had on pediatric hospital patients in NY as he and his fellow conservatory students played (BIMC, NY Hospital, Schneider’s Children’s Hospital), he began a media campaign to reach conservatory kids all over the country and rallied them to extend CHC’s “music for life” programs in their neighborhood hospitals. Hence the name Children Helping Children had taken on a life of its own as satellite chapters of CHC burgeoned all across the country and around the world (with members in Australia, El Salvador, Guatemala, etc.) and young, talented musicians brought their art into hospital pediatric wards to promote healing, divert pain, and diminish isolation.
It was from the music of a child that gifts beyond music were given to children suffering from neurological disease and pain. The Concerts for a Cure that Jourdan and fellow, young concert artists performed are the means through which funds have been raised to jump-start the campaign to build a Ronald McDonald “House Within A House” for Mott Children’s Hospital in Michigan, scheduled to open in the fall of 2011; to seed the money for the beginning of Mott’s neonatal music therapy program for at-risk infants (expected to serve 20,000 needy infants); to fund life-saving neurosurgeries for 12 children at BIMC’s INN; to fund 1,000 cochlear implant surgeries for needy children at the Children’s Hearing Institute; and to fund pediatric clinics in Joya Grande El Salvador and in villages like Lipke Bakwe, Ghana—among other recipients.
The following is a list of how many children and families in need have been affected by the extraordinary work of CHC:
- In the last 12 months: 120 children in Ghana have benefited directly from medical attention at the clinic built by CHC donations; and the months ahead bring plans for a community-wide Concert for a Cure in Michigan: featuring Jourdan as headline soloist, the Life Science Orchestra and a neighboring high school orchestra (130 musicians) to benefit Mott Children’s Neonatal Music Ward and Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit Music Program. In their first year they will serve 20,000 needy children, 44,000 in their second year and an estimated 1.6 million within the following four years—an extraordinary innovation in healing for children that can be replicated around the world.
- In the last 3 years: 1,000 children received cochlear implants from CHC benefit performance; 5,000 children at Mott Children’s Hospital (UMHS) for the Gifts of Art Bedside Music Program at the bedside in pre-surgery and post-surgery areas, the Neonatal Intensive Care and Pediatric Intensive Care units.
- In the last 5 years: 42,000 families and children living with MS (through hundreds of thousands of dollars of funds raised for cutting edge pharmacological research, peer counseling for teens with MS, scholarships to help children of advanced stage, MS-stricken parents pay for their college education).
- In the last 10 years: Life-saving neurosurgery for 12 disenfranchised children was paid for at Beth Israel Medical Center’s INN under the late, eminent pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Fred Epstein.
States and Countries Served by CHC:
States: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Texas, Michigan, California, Missouri, Tennessee, Nevada, Georgia, Virginia, Washington, DC; South Carolina; Minnesota, Indiana.
Countries: El Salvador; Guatemala, Mexico, Australia, Ghana.
Children Helping Children’s 2010-2011 Initiatives:
Jourdan hopes to jump-start two new and vital programs: one in music therapy, immune system boosting, and pain management for the at-risk neonatal division and bone marrow transplant division at Mott Children’s Hospital; and a second in “Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Care” to improve the diagnosis and treatment of children with MS and better define the emotional, clinical, and neurological complications of the disease.