VSO African American Fellowship Program
In Collaboration with Old Dominion University
The Virginia Symphony Orchestra has created a new African American Fellowship Program for four early-career orchestral string musicians to advance the goal of increased diversity of orchestral musicians nationwide. This initiative is a continuation of the VSO’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.
Fellows will perform as part of the VSO in over 100 services throughout eastern Virginia and engage in public school residencies and educational performances. Professional development opportunities, including private lessons and mentorship, will better equip Fellows to achieve in their careers as performers and educators. Through these activities, Fellows will receive 9 university-level course credits from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, according to each Fellow’s degree level: undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate course credit. For those Fellows at a post-graduate level, these 9 credits culminate in a Graduate Certificate in Music Performance.
“As an African American musician with the Virginia Symphony for over 38 years, I can say I am very excited about our fellowships for next season and look forward to wonderful music making with them.”
Beverly Kane Baker
Principal Viola, Virginia Symphony Orchestra
“As a person of color, it is of utmost importance to me that I am able to nurture the diverse artists of tomorrow. As our Symphony turns 100, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our future and build our arts community!”
Cello, Virginia Symphony Orchestra
We are excited about the many ways this program will impact our field and our community.
- The classical music industry benefits from investment in the pipeline for more aspiring African American musicians to receive the training they need to become successful professionals.
- Local public school music students and their teachers benefit from building individual relationships with these accomplished African American musician role models and string instrument coaches.
- The Fellows benefit from the experience of playing with a full-time professional symphony and the opportunity to receive regular coaching from VSO players.