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Music, a bargeload at a time - Former violinist brings culture to the water’s edge

Olga Bloom was 57 years old in 1976 when she gave up her career as a violinist and violist to create Bargemusic.

For her “floating concert hall” she chose a 100-foot steel barge that had been built in 1899 and had served much of the last century as a working vessel in New York Harbor, delivering hand-loaded sacks of coffee for the Erie Lackawanna railroad.

Bloom renovated the barge herself, together with her brother, his wife and preschool daughter, and a violin student.

She now runs Bargemusic, New York City’s floating concert hall in Brooklyn, at the Fulton Ferry landing near the Brooklyn Bridge. Bargemusic’s mission is to present live music at affordable prices, featuring world-class musicians as well as young talent, in four extraordinary concerts each week.

Every month, Bargemusic offers a free concert to the community, and provides the opportunity to experience classical chamber music in a unique setting, with the intimacy originally intended for chamber music, but rarely experienced today.

For her dedication to bringing superlative music to the city, the New York City Hall of Fame inducted Bloom into its first class of honorees.

The purpose of the NYC Hall of Fame is to honor remarkable New Yorkers who have contributed to the betterment of the city and will, in turn, serve as role models for children. Bloom believes that music of all eras and nations should be provided here as an ongoing positive environmental influence.

The hall is not only a place where both ordinary people as well as celebrities are honored for their service to New York City, but also has children’s programs to instill good principles and self-esteem in the young people of the city.

Inductees for the hall are selected from nominations submitted to www.nychalloffame.org. All New Yorkers are welcome to submit nominations via this website.

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