When I embrace music… I embrace greatness

Talent Development Program™ Program History

Mrs. Azira G. Hill, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) Board Life Director, initiated efforts for a more inclusive Atlanta Symphony Orchestra beginning as early as 1989.  Mrs. Hill, who regularly attended Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concerts, believed diversity on the concert stage would result in diversity in the audience as well.

Recognition of the need to increase the number of classically-trained African American musicians in classical music led to the creation of the Black Talent Development Program. The program was created by the Atlanta Symphony Associates’ (ASA) Action Committee (AC) for Audience Development in the Black Community, under the leadership of ASA President Marcy McTier and Action Committee Co-Chairs Azira G. Hill and Mary Gramling. The members of the AC included notable figures from the Atlanta business, education, and arts communities who were unified in their belief it was imperative to make the ASO and its programs more representative of the diverse metro Atlanta community. The program was developed over a four year period of time through extensive planning meetings that sought input from educators and musicians. Funding to launch the program came from significant fundraising efforts from the AC members and support from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

With sufficient funding in place, the induction of the inaugural class of the Black Talent Development Program took place on September 13, 1993, at the Woodruff Arts Center. Throughout the years, the Program has continued to evolve and expand, including the creation of the Azira G. Hill Scholarship Fund, which was established in November 1999 to provide financial assistance to allow students to attend prestigious national summer music programs.

Another major change occurred later when the ASO opened admission to African American students from all counties in the Greater Metro Atlanta area. In 2003 the program was expanded further to include Latino students — as they were also underrepresented in professional orchestras — and the program adopted its current name: the Talent Development Program. Funding and community support for the Program also increased through the years, including significant financial assistance from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and The Goizueta Foundation, among others.

Currently, the Talent Development Program maintains a class size of 25 African American and Latino students from several Greater Metropolitan Atlanta public and private schools, as well as home school families. Over the years, more than 100 students have benefitted from the Orchestra’s long-term commitment to increasing diversity on the American orchestral stage.

  • ASO

    cloth {field} - scenes from the still world and hereafter

    Sun Sep 04, 2016 | 7:30 PM

    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano and glo founding artist Lauri Stallings expand their catalog of collaborations of new music and dance as material for exquisite persistence, experimentation, and deep engagement.

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  • ASO

    cloth {field} - scenes from the still world and hereafter

    Wed Sep 07, 2016 | 8:30 PM

    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano and glo founding artist Lauri Stallings expand their catalog of collaborations of new music and dance as material for exquisite persistence, experimentation, and deep engagement.

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  • ASO

    cloth {field} - scenes from the still world and hereafter

    Thu Sep 08, 2016 | 8:30 PM

    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano and glo founding artist Lauri Stallings expand their catalog of collaborations of new music and dance as material for exquisite persistence, experimentation, and deep engagement.

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  • ASO

    cloth {field} - scenes from the still world and hereafter

    Fri Sep 09, 2016 | 8:30 PM

    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano and glo founding artist Lauri Stallings expand their catalog of collaborations of new music and dance as material for exquisite persistence, experimentation, and deep engagement.

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  • ASO

    Star Wars and More: The Music of John Williams

    Sat Sep 10, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    Join us as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra celebrates Star Wars and More: The Music of John Williams.

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  • ASO

    cloth {field} - scenes from the still world and hereafter

    Sat Sep 10, 2016 | 8:30 PM

    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano and glo founding artist Lauri Stallings expand their catalog of collaborations of new music and dance as material for exquisite persistence, experimentation, and deep engagement.

    More Events on this Day

  • ASO

    cloth {field} - scenes from the still world and hereafter

    Sun Sep 11, 2016 | 8:30 PM

    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano and glo founding artist Lauri Stallings expand their catalog of collaborations of new music and dance as material for exquisite persistence, experimentation, and deep engagement.

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  • ASO

    Sold Out - Season Opening Concert with Special Guest Joshua Bell

    Thu Sep 15, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    We'll begin the 2016/17 season with a special One Night Only performance featuring the most celebrated violinist of his era, Joshua Bell.

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  • ASO

    Atlanta Symphony Ball: Season Celebration Party

    Sat Sep 17, 2016 | 6:00 PM

    A special evening of music and celebration supporting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

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  • ASO

    Garrick Ohlsson Plays Rachmaninov

    Thu Sep 22, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    Music Director Robert Spano leads the opening weekend of the Delta Classical Series with special guest, pianist Garrick Ohlsson performing Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto, always an audience favorite.

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  • ASO

    Garrick Ohlsson Plays Rachmaninov

    Sat Sep 24, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    Music Director Robert Spano leads the opening weekend of the Delta Classical Series with special guest, pianist Garrick Ohlsson performing Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto, always an audience favorite.

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  • ASO

    University of Georgia

    Sun Sep 25, 2016 | 3:00 PM

    Music Director Robert Spano leads the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with special guest, pianist Garrick Ohlsson performing Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto, always an audience favorite.

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  • ASO

    UK Rocks!

    Fri Sep 30, 2016 | 8:00 PM

    Since the 1960’s British Invasion, we've loved the way the UK Rocks! From legendary bands like Queen, The Who, and The Rolling Stones, to today's imports like Coldplay and Adele, there's something special about British rock.

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