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Terry Lewis Named Executive Director of Sound United’s Sound Start Foundation

Foundation’s mission is to purchase and donate musical instruments to enrich students’ lives and support school music programs around the globe.

The Sound Start Foundation has named Terry Lewis as executive director, following the organization’s growth over the past three years.

Sound United – Terry Lewis
Terry Lewis

A highly respected music industry veteran with broad senior executive and not-for-profit experience, Lewis assumed his new role on February 14, 2022. He reports to Brendon Stead, CEO and president of Sound Start, and senior vice president of product & engineering at Sound United.

Sound United established the Sound Start Foundation in 2018 with a mission to purchase and donate musical instruments to enrich students’ lives and support school music programs around the globe. Leveraging a percentage of Denon, Polk Audio, and Definitive Technology sales and direct donations to raise the necessary funds, Sound Start has already achieved its first milestone, granting 10,000 instruments to schools and students across the United States during the 2020-21 school year, primarily in partnership with the Save the Music Foundation.

Lewis is eager to build upon this mission, expanding partnerships and Sound Start’s donor base to procure and donate an additional 250,000 over the next five years while simultaneously working to position the philanthropic organization for global impact.

Having built an illustrious career in the music industry and solid alliances and partnerships with key manufacturers and strategic not-for-profit organizations, Lewis believes the Sound Start Foundation is an ideal fit for him and the nonprofit organization.

He most recently served as president and founder of International Business Resources, Ltd., providing business consulting services primarily to the musical products industry. Before that, Lewis enjoyed a 26-year career with Buena Park, CA-based Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA), culminating in the position of executive vice president and president of Yamaha Artist Services, Inc. in New York City, and Yamaha Corporate Artist Affairs, Inc. in Nashville (now Yamaha Entertainment Group).

During his tenure, he was responsible for strategic planning, distribution, sales, and marketing for a broad portfolio of musical products and music-related technologies at YCA, the largest subsidiary of Yamaha, the world’s largest musical instrument manufacturer.

In addition to his senior executive duties, Lewis co-founded in 2004 the not-for-profit Yamaha Music & Wellness Institute (YMWI) to advance the understanding of Recreational Music Making as an effective lifestyle enhancement strategy. Part of the Institute’s research was engaged in making the connection between music and the brain, particularly among children and seniors. He also served as a director of YMWI for six years and served for another six years as chairman of the Board until 2016.

Lewis has continued his strong participation in the not-for-profit and music education sectors as a director for the Music Therapy Center of California in Encinitas, CA, collaborator with Able ARTS Work in Los Angeles, and director for Playground Sessions, the #1 platform for online keyboard music education, co-founded by Quincy Jones and Chris Vance. He also maintains a longtime collaboration with the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and the NAMM Foundation and is a former member of the organization’s Board of Directors.

In 2018, Lewis received the prestigious Remo and Ami Belli Humanitarian Award from Able ARTS Work for his work related to music-making and wellness, music education, veterans, children with special needs and seniors.

“The Sound Start Foundation is very close to our hearts and mission of bringing joy to the world through sound,” says Stead. “We feel that we have found the ideal candidate to fulfill and to grow our commitment to helping underserved communities to reach their full musical potential and all of the positive life benefits of music-making.”

“I feel that this position is a continuation of a lifelong journey to enhance the joy and well-being of countless people who play or would like to play a musical instrument,” says Lewis. “I am truly looking forward to taking the Sound Start Foundation to the next level while helping to provide future musicians with the instruments that they need to succeed in music and life.”

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