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Detroit Symphony receives $600,000 grant to increase access to music for underserved youth

March 7, 2017

On March 2, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) announced it had received a grant from the Dresner Foundation, one of Michigan’s largest foundations, to provide comprehensive music education for underserved youth in Detroit. The grant—$600,000 over two years—will enable the DSO’s Wu Family Academy to add a new, free entry-level program to their existing range of educational programs for all ages and backgrounds. The new program will be named the Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble.

Launching this fall, the new Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble will join thirteen current student groups organized by the Wu Family Academy through its Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE) program. The DSO will offer this new opportunity completely free of charge to students, including instruments and all materials, and will commit to providing scholarships throughout their participation in Civic Youth Ensembles.

Unlike the DSO’s other CYE ensembles, this is an entry-level opportunity and no prior musical experience will be necessary.

Additionally, the DSO will implement an intense recruitment effort for the new Allegro Ensemble, hosting auditions at local schools to attract a broader range of participants. This group will operate as an after school program in Detroit, and, through a partnership with a community organization, instruction will take place in a selected Detroit neighborhood rather than at the DSO’s main concert venue, the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, in an attempt to further lower barriers to entry.

Asked what role the DSO’s many recordings, including 10 on Naxos, had played in winning the grant, a spokesperson said, “Our recordings are a key component in our goal to be the most accessible orchestra in the world. Because recordings allow people to listen to world-class music whenever, however, and in whatever setting they choose, there would be no accessibility in what we do as an orchestra if not for a robust recording mission.”

Detroit Symphony Orchestra Background and Discography


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