Detroit Symphony Orchestra

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) today announced its Social Progress Initiative, an ongoing assessment of its community impact through programs that serve hundreds of thousands of people each year across greater Detroit.

According to the press release « the Social Progress Initiative seeks to create a sharper definition of the role the DSO has in society and how to build upon current efforts. Detroit’s resurgence is a powerful force for social progress, and it has been proven across the country that the arts greatly aid community revitalization efforts. As focus builds on the neighbourhoods in and around Detroit, the DSO is committed to providing access to music for all people of its communities. »

Among the projects is the new Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble which will provide free entry-level instrumental instruction for underserved youth in Detroit as part of the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE). The DSO will provide an instrument and all materials to students, and will commit to providing scholarships as they progress in the CYE.

The grant from the Dresner Foundation to establish the Allegro Ensemble will also enable the DSO to expand the reach of its long-running Educational Concert Series (ECS) for students, in Orchestra Hall as well as the webcast series of these performances, Live from Orchestra Hall: Classroom Edition, to Detroit-area schools and around the world.

The DSO is also taking steps to further diversify its Civic Youth Ensemble programs by working directly with schools and other youth development organizations on recruitment efforts for young musicians. Already nearly 1,000 students from the Greater Detroit area receive ensemble performance instruction in CYE groups provided by the DSO each year.

The DSO will soon introduce a free lesson program, allowing for the waiving of fees for young people to receive private instrumental performance instruction. This program will also expand work-study options so that no student is turned away because of financial need. More details on this program will be announced at a future date.

The DSO’s African-American Fellowship Program seeks to address the shortage of African-Americans in professional orchestras by offering a yearlong fellowship with the orchestra.

Last fall, the DSO introduced the Detroit Community Orchestra, an opportunity for adult amateur violinists, violists, cellists, and bassists to rehearse and perform with peers and DSO musicians. Next season, the DSO will also launch a new youth chorus as one of its Civic Youth Ensembles.

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