“Azira G. Hill beamed with pride Wednesday as she watched classical musicians take part in a rehearsal ahead of a special Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert. A number of the musicians on the stage were people of color,” writes Marlon A. Walker in Friday’s (2/8) Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Twenty-five years ago, she said, that would not have been the case. At the time, the ASO featured no black musicians. There also were no black participants in the Atlanta Youth Orchestra, the symphony’s program for youths interested in classical music…. That fall, with the ASO’s blessing, she and Mary Gramling hosted 10 students for the inaugural Black Talent Development program…. In the years since, nearly 100 students of color from metro Atlanta from the Talent Development Program (TDP) … have gone to the nation’s top music schools, and fill chairs in orchestras across the world…. Program alumna Chelsea Sharpe is currently a violin fellow with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach…. She … credits the exposure she received through the [TDP] program—subsidized lessons, assistance with buying instruments and performance opportunities among the many benefits—for her success. ‘It surely created a pathway to where I am now,’ she said.”

Posted February 12, 2019

Photo: Students and staff celebrate the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Talent Development Program, in a 2017 photo.