Talent Development Program™

Program Alumni

Talent Development Program™ Alumni

The Talent Development Program™ creates a space for serious orchestral students to delve into their training with the support of a major orchestral institution. Students who spend these formative years in the TDP go on to achieve success in the orchestral world in a myriad of ways.

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Alumni Spotlight

TDP Fellow Mekhi Gladded with ASO oboist Emily Brebach

TDP Fellow Mekhi Gladden with ASO oboist Emily Brebach

Mekhi Gladden joined the Talent Development Program as a sophomore at North Springs High School. An oboe player with a love of music, but no formal training beyond his school band instruction, Mekhi was accepted into the program and began his remarkable journey. He began rigorous training led by his mentor, ASO oboist Emily Brebach, and became a member of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. He was selected for Carnegie Hall’s 2017 National Youth Orchestra, where he performed at concerts in New York, as well as Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia, all led by the legendary Marin Alsop. Mekhi's journey will continue at The Curtis Institute of Music in the fall of 2017.

Many TDP alumni are helping to diversify the orchestral music field:



Angelica Hairston, TDP Alumni
Angelica Hairston’s "Challenge the Stats" concerts provide opportunities for professional African American and Latino musicians at the beginning of their careers to showcase their art in premiere performances. The first concert took place in Boston, while Angelica was working on her master’s degree. She was recently awarded a grant that will allow her to hold a similar concert in Atlanta.

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Stanford Thompson, TDP Alumni
TED Fellow Stanford Thompson founded the innovative educational and social initiative "Play on, Philly!" in August 2010 to give students ages 6 to 13 opportunities for personal development through the study of music. The program provides unprecedented access to symphonic music and the opportunity for children to discover their passion for the art.


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Drew Forde, TDP Alumni
Drew Forde established a major social media presence as “That Viola Kid,“ providing advice and insights to high school and college students on how to prepare for the top conservatories, as well as guidance on how to survive once accepted. By sharing his experiences, he empowers students to accomplish their dreams in the professional music field.


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