Spotlight: Creative Arts

Self-Expression Inspires Self-Discovery

Students devote many hours to high level academics, and they also strive to reach their creative potential, often with breathtaking results.

All student work—brightly colored geometric designs, negative space created by strips of ripped paper in muted colors, and haunting charcoal self portraits—decorate the halls of the Ramaz Upper School. The studio art program is renowned for its advanced aesthetic training, as well as its prolific creativity. Students undertake sophisticated and challenging projects such as Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.

One of the highlights of the school year is Celebration of the Arts, an evening that showcases student achievements of impressive breadth in all the arts. The walls are lined with photographs and artwork; student-made videos and animations play. Students read their original fiction and poetry and perform scenes, both comic and tragic. They play their instruments, in groups and alone; singers sing opera and hard rock; and dancers perform intricate routines they have choreographed. Students who lead the dance troupe have trained with Alvin Ailey and the Joffrey Ballet. Beit Café night is a similar celebration of Hebrew music and dramatic skits.

Each day after school, every room is occupied, and student voices, male and female, confident and strong, ring out. Our chorus and chamber chorus sing everything from Salomone Rossi to Hebrew pop songs to James Taylor. The Upper School band not only performs at student events, but also provides the accompaniment for the annual musical. Members of the Percussion Ensemble write their own pieces. Speaking of writing, our literary and art magazine, Parallax, is nationally renowned for its urban sophistication, and since 1998 has been awarded the Gold Crown Award—the highest accolade from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

Creativity is fostered at Ramaz by a spirit of openness and inclusion.

Students know that Ramaz is a “safe space” for artistic expression. Widely emulated, but never matched, the arts at Ramaz are vibrant and alive.
  • The Ramaz Choir has produced 6 CDs to critical acclaim.
  • The Ramaz Percussion Ensemble has performed at the prestigious Lower East Side Festival of the Arts at the Theater for the New City several times over the past decade, often with alumni returning as special guests.
  • This past year Parallax, our school literary magazine, again won the Gold Medal Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.
  • The Ramaz Upper School Choir has taken part in a national choral competition in Virginia Beach and has brought its music to communities in Boston, New York, and Washington, DC.
  • Our Chamber Choir has performed at the White House, Lincoln Center, the International Arts Expo, and the North American Jewish Choral Festival.
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