American Festival for the Arts (AFA) was founded in 1993 by Houston composer and arts advocate J. Todd Frazier to provide accessible, high-quality music education and performance opportunities for youth and to broaden the audience for both American works and the classical music repertory.
Our model is unique because our philosophy is specific. American Festival for the Arts (AFA) offers Houston’s finest music education programs for youth, assembles renowned faculty with a passion for teaching, offers challenging curricula that enhance student skills, and provides performance opportunities that benefit our students and our community. Our approach makes musical development and accomplishment a vehicle for learning and personal growth — growth that impacts every area of our students’ lives.
Described as “an essential part of Houston’s summer music activities”, AFA’s signature program, the AFA Summer Music Conservatory, enrolls 300 fourth through twelfth grade students from 100+ elementary, middle and senior high schools throughout Southeast Texas. Offering full-day programs ranging in length from two to five weeks, AFA offers programs for instrumentalists, vocalists, pianists and composers.
Launched in 2010, AFA’s Year-Round Programs offer training for instrumentalists, vocalists and composers throughout the school year. In addition to programs at AFA’s downtown offices, AFA hosts Community Partnerships and outreach concerts throughout greater Houston. Working in collaboration with Da Camera of Houston’s Young Artist Program, Houston Grand Opera’s HGOco, Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy and our many arts partners, these programs take place during school, after school and on weekends all year long.
Ensuring that students have access to AFA programs regardless of their ability to pay, AFA’s Scholarship Enrichment Fund has kept pace with an increasing annual demand. In our 2011-12 season, almost 69% of AFA’s students received need-based tuition assistance. Financial hardship has never been, and will never be, a barrier to attending AFA.