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

    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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    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 Molasky 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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    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 Molasky 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 Molasky 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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    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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    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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    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.

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    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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