On Thursday (1/30) at his ArtsJournal blog Orchestras Everywhere, Stanford Thompson writes about a January 4 concert by alumni of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Talent Development Program, celebrating its 20th anniversary. “ASOTDP program was the vision of Azira G. Hill, who served on the Board of Directors for the symphony and questioned why her daughter was the only student of color in the ASO’s youth orchestra. Her solution was simple: ensure that students of color in Atlanta had early exposure to high-quality classical music education and the proper support and training to be competitive for top colleges in the country.… After 20 years of implementing this program … the ASO assembled its alumni [for the first time] in an orchestra.… The program sold out and we packed the hall with a lot of people who do not traditionally hear classical music.… I can’t think of a better way to engage African-American and Latino audiences in classical music than for them to see a group of their own performing flawlessly on the stage that typically doesn’t represent them.” At the concert, a lifetime achievement award was presented to Ann Hobson Pilot, the former principal harp in the Boston Symphony Orchestra who was one of the pioneering African-American musicians to perform with U.S. orchestras in the 1960s. Thompson, an alumnus of the ASOTDP, is a trumpeter and CEO of the Philadelphia-based music education program Play On, Philly!
Posted January 31, 2014