When I embrace music… I embrace greatness

About The Talent Development Program™

One of the cornerstones of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s education and community engagement efforts, the Talent Development Program (TDP) identifies musically-gifted and motivated African American and Latino youth in the greater metropolitan Atlanta area and prepares them for acceptance into top music programs in preparation for careers as professional musicians.

Each year, 25 students receive intensive year-round instruction, mentoring, performance opportunities, and biannual progress reviews, and have access to the resources of a major American orchestra. TDP students receive one-on-one coaching from Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians or highly qualified local instructors approved by the Orchestra. Additionally, students and their families are eligible to receive complimentary tickets to Atlanta Symphony subscription concerts to enhance their appreciation of the orchestral repertoire and the nuances of world-class musicianship. TDP students also participate in chamber ensembles and/or competitive large group ensembles, such as the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Emory Youth Symphony Orchestra. In addition, through the Azira G. Hill Scholarship Fund, the TDP provides financial assistance for students to attend leading summer music study programs.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Talent Development Program is the oldest year-round, intensive training program established by a major American orchestra to support talented young African American and Latino students of every orchestral instrument. TDP students will influence the orchestras of tomorrow as exceptional musicians who are role models and ambassadors for classical music throughout the community. 

Cultivating Success

Annually the TDP includes 25 students ranging from 5th to 12th grade, most of whom remain in the program through high school graduation. Cellist and TDP graduate Ismail Akbar recently secured a one-year appointment in the Augusta Symphony Orchestra, the second TDP graduate to secure a position with a professional orchestra. In 2007, bassist and TDP graduate Eric Thompson was appointed to a one-year position at the Charlotte Symphony — he now holds a permanent position there. In 2014, bassist and TDP graduate Xavier Foley was the Senior Division First Place Laureate of the 2014 Annual Sphinx Competition and performed as a soloist with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra at the Detroit Symphony Hall.

The excellence of the program is also reflected through TDP students becoming finalists in the national Sphinx Competition, featured guests on the NPR’s “From the Top,” as well as solo performers with the ASO in National Black Arts Festival concerts, donor appreciation concerts, and the ASO’s King Celebration concerts. TDP students comprise a significant segment of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and regularly place in the top All-State ensembles (many in principal positions).


  • ASO

    Concertmaster David Coucheron Solos

    Thu Feb 04, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    ASO Concertmaster David Coucheron is featured in an Everest of the Violin Concerto repertoire – Brahms’ violin concerto.

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    Casual Friday: David Coucheron Plays Brahms

    Fri Feb 05, 2016 | 6:30 PM

    Featuring David Coucheron performing Brahms' Violin Concerto. All tickets $25

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    Concertmaster David Coucheron Solos

    Sat Feb 06, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    ASO Concertmaster David Coucheron is featured in an Everest of the Violin Concerto repertoire – Brahms’ violin concerto.

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  • ASO

    A Valentine’s Romance

    Fri Feb 12, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    Jazz guitarist and bandleader John Pizzarelli joins the ASO in an evening of love songs and duets. Special guest (and John’s wife!) Jessica Molaskey joins him to put you in the mood this Valentine’s weekend! This will be a romantic evening you won’t want to miss.

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  • ASO

    A Valentine’s Romance

    Sat Feb 13, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    Jazz guitarist and bandleader John Pizzarelli joins the ASO in an evening of love songs and duets. Special guest (and John’s wife!) Jessica Molaskey joins him to put you in the mood this Valentine’s weekend! This will be a romantic evening you won’t want to miss.

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    Sold Out: Be Mine - A Free Family Concert

    Sun Feb 14, 2016 | 3:00 PM

    Stories of young love abound during Valentine's Day. Celebrate some of the greatest young romances in classical music as told through whimsical and romantic selections from Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, Bizet's Carmen and Puccini's La bohème, among others.

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  • ASO

    A Valentine’s Romance

    Sun Feb 14, 2016 | 7:00 PM

    Jazz guitarist and bandleader John Pizzarelli joins the ASO in an evening of love songs and duets. Special guest (and John’s wife!) Jessica Molaskey joins him to put you in the mood this Valentine’s weekend! This will be a romantic evening you won’t want to miss.

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  • ASO

    Karen Gomyo Plays Tchaikovsky

    Thu Feb 18, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    Petrushka is the tale of a puppet who after being murdered by his rival, returns to haunt his master.

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    Travis Tritt

    Fri Feb 19, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    Travis Tritt will perform a rare & intimate solo acoustic act at Atlanta Symphony Hall on February 19, 2016.

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    Kennesaw State University

    Fri Feb 19, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    Conductor Cristian Măcelaru leads the ASO in an evening of works from Russian composers.

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  • ASO

    Karen Gomyo Plays Tchaikovsky

    Sat Feb 20, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    Petrushka is the tale of a puppet who after being murdered by his rival, returns to haunt his master.

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  • ASO

    ASO Premieres Frankenstein, Serkin Plays Brahms Piano Concerto

    Thu Feb 25, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    The Frankenstein Symphony features music from American composer Mark Grey’s full-length opera, based upon the novel by Mary Shelley. Brahms’ First Piano Concerto is based off of his first attempt at a symphony, at the behest of his mentor Robert Schumann.

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    Morris Robinson Community Recital

    Fri Feb 26, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    Bass Morris Robinson, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's 2015-16 Artist-in-Residence, presents a FREE recital of his favorite works in collaboration with the Morehouse Glee Club.

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    Music for the Very Young: Stories in Sound

    Sat Feb 27, 2016 | 9:30 AM

    This program introduces a variety of contrasting musical elements with storytelling which are brilliantly interwoven to create a unique, interactive musical journey.

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  • ASO

    Music for the Very Young: Stories in Sound

    Sat Feb 27, 2016 | 11:30 AM

    This program introduces a variety of contrasting musical elements with storytelling which are brilliantly interwoven to create a unique, interactive musical journey.

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  • ASO

    ASO Premieres Frankenstein, Serkin Plays Brahms Piano Concerto

    Sat Feb 27, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    The Frankenstein Symphony features music from American composer Mark Grey’s full-length opera, based upon the novel by Mary Shelley. Brahms’ First Piano Concerto is based off of his first attempt at a symphony, at the behest of his mentor Robert Schumann.

    More Events on this Day

  • ASO

    David Cross

    Sun Feb 28, 2016 | 7:30 PM

    David Cross is bringing his comedic act to Atlanta Symphony Hall on February 28, 2016.

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