Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Receives $950,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to Support an Expanded BSO Academy

Share Article

Thanks to a grant in the amount of $900,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (The Mellon Foundation), the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is pleased to announce an expanded BSO Academy program. This grant will support the Orchestra’s efforts to develop and grow the BSO Academy program over the next three years, including the addition of year-round educational opportunities.

Thanks to a grant in the amount of $900,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (The Mellon Foundation), the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is pleased to announce an expanded BSO Academy program. This grant will support the Orchestra’s efforts to develop and grow the BSO Academy program over the next three years, including the addition of year-round educational opportunities. The Mellon Foundation awarded an additional $50,000 to support diversity scholarships, making the program more inclusive of individuals from all backgrounds.

“The Mellon Foundation has been extremely generous. We are very grateful to them for fueling the BSO’s growth as we chart the course for the Orchestra’s expanded role in the 21st century,” said BSO President and CEO Paul Meecham.

Initially only a week-long program, the BSO Academy now embraces a full continuum of activities for adult amateur musicians with the Baltimore Symphony. The week-long immersive summer music program in June continues to be the cornerstone program, giving amateur adult musicians the opportunity to perform alongside a top professional orchestra. The inaugural Academy took place in June 2010 and served 47 participants. In its second year, the BSO Academy nearly doubled its enrollment, serving 87 participants. The third annual BSO Academy occurred in June 2012 and attracted 104 participants from across the U.S. and earned extensive coverage in the New York Times by embedded reporter and amateur clarinetist Dan Wakin. (See “Band Camp for Grown-ups,” and “Every chair in this temporary orchestra holds a story,” The New York Times, July 13, 2012.)

Thanks to support from The Mellon Foundation, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is able to build upon the success of the last three years and offer four musical experience options for BSO Academy participants throughout the 2012-13 season.

  •     The week-long BSO Academy will convene for its fourth year on June 15-22, 2013. The cornerstone of the BSO’s continuum of activities for adult musicians, BSO Academy participants will participate in orchestra rehearsals, sectionals, master classes, private lessons, chamber music rehearsals and enrichment classes led by Maestra Alsop, BSO musicians and local experts. New this June, participants will also have the option to play in an Academy Chamber Orchestra, an exciting addition to the chamber music activities.

On Saturday, June 22nd, Academy participants and BSO musicians will perform a final concert led by Music Director Marin Alsop, with Group 1 performing Wagner’s Overture to Die Meistersinger, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, movements III and IV, Saint-Saëns’ Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah; Group 2 will perform Rimsky-Korsakov’s Procession of the Nobles, Respighi’s Fountains of Rome, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, movement IV. Please see below for complete registration details.

Additionally, the BSO will accept a select number of arts administrator fellows to learn how the BSO organizes and operates the week-long Academy. Fellows will be immersed in a series of professional development seminars, workshops and lectures by BSO management, board, staff and musicians on the various aspects of creating and managing a successful Academy program. The fellows will also observe (and, as individual musicianship and skill allows, participate in select) Academy activities throughout the week. Registration details for the arts administrator fellows will be announced at a later date.

  •     Also new this season are two day-long Instrument Clinics, taking place Saturday, February 9, 2013 and Saturday, April 20, 2013. Intended for adult musicians of all levels and experiences, these clinics provide amateur musicians with the opportunity to refine their playing skills through technique-building workshops focused on sound production, musicianship, range, endurance and practice techniques. At the conclusion of the day, participants will be invited to hear that evening’s Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert for a reduced rate of $23 per ticket. Registration details will be announced at a later date.
  •     The BSO is also excited to introduce Chamber Music Weekends. These two-day events offer participants the opportunity to play celebrated works while working closely with BSO musicians. After two days of intensive rehearsals, participants will perform for each other in a final concert. The 2013 Chamber Music Weekend will be take place in Summer 2013; further details will be announced at a later date. Registration details will be announced at a later date.
  •     The much-celebrated one-night Rusty Musicians program is now a part of the Academy continuum. This season the event took place on November 13, 2012 and brought together 116 un-auditioned string, brass, wind and percussion instrumentalists to rehearse and perform selections from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 and Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Macbeth, Don Carlos and Messa da Requiem side-by-side the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Heritage Signature Chorale. For the first time ever, over 40 Rusty Singers also shared the stage to rehearse and sing the iconic Verdi choral works.

About the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
The Grammy Award-winning Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is internationally recognized as having achieved a preeminent place among the world's most important orchestras. Acclaimed for its enduring pursuit of artistic excellence, the BSO has attracted a devoted national and international following while maintaining deep bonds throughout Maryland with innovative education and community outreach initiatives.

The BSO made musical history in September 2007, when Maestra Marin Alsop led her inaugural concerts as the Orchestra’s 12th music director, making her the first woman to head a major American orchestra. With her highly praised artistic vision, her dynamic musicianship and her commitment to accessibility in classical music, Maestra Alsop’s leadership has ushered in a new era for the BSO and its audiences.

In recent years, Marin Alsop and the BSO have been regularly invited to Carnegie Hall, including Maestra Alsop’s debut in February 2008, a critically acclaimed appearance later the same year to perform Bernstein’s Mass, further performances in November 2010 and again in November 2011 for a performance of Honegger’s dramatic oratorio Jeanne d’Arc au Bucher. The Orchestra under Maestra Alsop undertook their first domestic tour in March 2012 to the West Coast, including a 3-day residency at the University of California, Berkeley.

For more than 80 years, the BSO has maintained a vibrant educational presence throughout Maryland, supporting the local community not only through concerts and recordings, but also through its commitment to actively giving back with its education, outreach and mentorship programs. The 2012-2013 season marks the fifth year of OrchKids™, a year-round in-school and after-school music program designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City’s neighborhoods. OrchKids™ provides music education, instruments and tutoring to Baltimore’s underserved children at no cost. Since its start in 2008, the program has grown from 30 students to nearly 600 student participants throughout four schools in Baltimore City. The BSO recently launched OrchLab, in partnership with the Montgomery County Public Schools. This music-in-schools program for elementary, middle and high school students in Montgomery County was created to enrich the instrumental music program in schools within the MCPS system that have the greatest need, as well as to provide professional development opportunities for MCPS music instructors. For the 2012-2013 academic year, OrchLab will be piloted in 23 of the schools located in the Downcounty and Northeast Consortia of the MCPS System. OrchLab is an outgrowth of BSO on the Go, the Orchestra’s education outreach program that has provided more than 12,000 students with classroom instruction and performances from BSO musicians since that program’s start five years ago.

The BSO also provides educational opportunities for adult music lovers through special performance opportunities with members of the Symphony. In February 2010 at Strathmore and September 2010 at the Meyerhoff, the BSO invited more than 400 amateur musicians onstage to perform alongside members of the BSO in “Rusty Musicians” events that captured international attention. This annual event provides participants from across the country the opportunity to meet, rehearse and perform with the BSO and Maestra Alsop. In June 2010, the BSO held its first-ever BSO Academy, an intensive, side-by-side weeklong program of master classes, chamber music, orchestra rehearsals and public performances for amateur musicians and BSO members led by Marin Alsop. The third BSO Academy was held in June 2012.


  •     To register, participants can visit to fill out an online application form and submit the non-refundable application fee through the website.
  •     Applicants must be at least 21 years old for consideration into the program.
  •     Registration opens Thursday, November 29, 2012.

All applications, supplemental materials and the non-refundable application fee must be received by 5 p.m. on January 17, 2013.

Base tuition for the BSO Academy is $1,850 with opportunities for chamber music/orchestra and private lessons available at additional costs. See for more details.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Alyssa Porambo
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
(410) 783-8044
Email >
Visit website