Study at NEC

Kathryn Wyatt
Executive Director, Kidznotes
Durham, North Carolina


Katie Wyatt is an accomplished musician, educator and innovator in music and social entrepreneurship. Katie co-founded and assumed the post of Executive Director of Kidznotes in 2010. Including her work in El Sistema, Katie is a national leader in creating programs for access and opportunity for all children to experience the transformative power of music. She has led seminars and consulted in music and social entrepreneurship nationally and internationally, including as adjunct faculty for Duke University, TED, the New World Symphony, and the League of American Orchestras. Recently Katie was honored as one of Musical America’s “30 under 40.” She is a Fellow in Duke University’s community leadership development program “Duke in Durham Fellows,” and she is a board member for El Sistema USA. 

As an accomplished violist, Katie has toured and performed nationally and internationally with the orchestras of the New World Symphony, Verbier Festival Orchestra, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Youth Orchestra of the Americas, and the Spoleto Festival of Charleston, S.C., in the major concert halls of the United States, Europe, Mexico, Central and South America, China, Japan, and Taiwan. 

Her call to leadership in social justice through the arts was inspired by her performances with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela in 2005. She speaks Spanish and French and holds bachelor degrees in Political Science and Viola Performance from Indiana University and a Master’s Degree in Viola Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Katie lives and works in Raleigh and Durham, NC, and enjoys performing locally with the NC Opera and the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle. 

Inspired by El Sistema, Kidznotes’ mission is to change the life trajectory of underserved k–12 students through orchestral and choral training. Kidznotes’ vision is to build a thriving network of children, families, and partners where the passion for music unleashes the human potential to transform lives and communities. The foundation of Kidznotes’ vision is a commitment to embrace and value diversity, excellence, and collaboration in our daily lives. Kidznotes teams up with the music teachers of Title-1 schools in North Carolina to build a public-private partnership, offering ensemble based classes 4 days/week after-school and on Saturdays, up to 10 hours a week, in all orchestral instruments and choir. Including a 3-week summer camp, Kidznotes students receive over 500 hours/year of instruction.  Kidznotes will serve over 500 students in 13 schools from 3 counties by 2017, with a goal to serve 1,000 students in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area by 2020.

Photo: Beatrice Yaxley