Karen Cueva is dedicated to uplifting youth voice, culture, and community music education programs as an integral part of social infrastructure. Karen is currently the Head of Operations at The Lewis Prize for Music, a national philanthropy dedicated to building more vibrant and fair communities by investing in leaders who are advancing positive change for young people through music. In 2023, The Lewis Prize for Music distributed over $2 million dollars to creative youth development programs across the United States.
Karen launched her administrative career at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, curating professional development for hundreds of music educators working in schools and community music programs across the United States. During her tenure as the Assistant Director for Learning and Engagement Programs, she stewarded over $3.5 million dollars in grants through the PlayUSA program, and built a national network of twenty-three community music education programs to discuss best practices in the music classroom.
In addition to her Board service at El Sistema USA, Karen is the Board Chair for Quinteto Latino, a wind quintet based in San Francisco, whose mission is to disrupt racial and economic disparities in classical music. Karen also sits on the Executive Council of The Dream Unfinished, an NYC-based activist orchestra that uses classical music as a platform to engage audiences in dialogues surrounding social and racial justice.
Karen has earned degrees from The Juilliard School (BM, MM, Violin Performance) and Harvard University (EdM, Arts in Education).