aka The Phoenix Symphony   |   Phoenix, AZ   |


Mission Statement
The mission of The Phoenix Symphony is to provide the joy of music as a catalyst in helping Arizona to become the best place in America to work and live. We will do this by creating high quality musical experiences:
-to feed the souls of our residents
-to bolster the cultural economy
-to educate and strengthen our next generation resulting in a creative workforce

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Ms. Suzanne Wilson

Main address

One North 1st Street Suite 200

Phoenix, AZ 85004 USA

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NTEE code info

Symphony Orchestras (A69)

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Programs and results

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

The Phoenix Symphony

The Phoenix Symphony was founded in 1947 as a part-time orchestra, in a city of fewer than 100,000 people, and has grown to become Arizona’s only full-time symphony orchestra. Public value is tied to our goal to perform live symphonic music of excellence, beauty and vitality at a consistently high level. We achieve the goal through a selection of seasonal programs - Classics, Pops, and special presentations - designed to attract a diverse audience. The Phoenix Symphony is the only orchestra in Arizona providing a 38 week concert season in venues such as Symphony Hall, local performing arts centers and churches in Central Arizona. Each season we serve over 300,000 people through more than 200 concerts and presentations.

The Symphony is dedicated to building and maintaining accessible musical opportunities for everyone. In addition to our mainstage concerts, the Symphony boasts a comprehensive Education and Community Engagement program that reaches over 125,000 students, adults and families every year. Our programs ensure an individual, regardless of means and background, is given equal opportunity to develop skills and grow through imaginative, high quality music experiences. For many this is their first exposure to orchestral music. With a starting point of Symphony Hall field trips and school-based concerts, a cross-cultural music residency with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and a STEAM professional development model to train teachers and Symphony musicians in how to teach and assess STEM concepts through music. Our B-Sharp Music Wellness Initiative provides live, interactive performances presented by Symphony musicians in healthcare settings and homeless outreach centers.

Population(s) Served

Mind Over Music - A STE[+a]M Initiative

Mind Over Music, is a three-year STE[+a]M (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) professional development model in partnership Phoenix Symphony musicians and K-5 teachers at Arizona State University Preparatory Academy. The Phoenix Symphony is the only orchestra in the country to implement a whole school instructional model based on STE[+a]M theory and practice. Phoenix Symphony musicians and teachers train and collaborate together to design and deliver new STE[+a]M curriculum units to K-5 classrooms that emphasis creative and analytical thinking through live and digital music. For students, a STE[+a]M unit provides an exploratory look to core subjects like science and math by tapping their artistic abilities. Each unit is measured quantitatively and longitudinally by an outside evaluator with pre and post testing with internal treatment and control groups for both students and teachers so that we can measure the efficacy of the program.
The initiative is considered a pioneer project for an American orchestra as it represents a ground up development of an entirely new curriculum that leverages music to teach STEM. The program meets the criteria of the Arizona STEM Network as a partial STEM immersion model and reinforces the Arizona Department of Education Common Core Standards in the design framework by:
1. Implementing and investigating the effectiveness of music integration as a way to facilitate guided and open inquiry in the field of informal science, math and language arts learning.
2. Strengthen the creativity and innovation skills of STE[+a]M teachers through hands-on experiential learning and music-based professional development.
3. Enhancing the innovation of cross-disciplinary STE[+a]M teams comprised of professional musicians and K-5 teachers.
4. Conducting a comprehensive program review that includes multiple measures, both quantitative and qualitative to gauge achievement of goals and curriculum implementation.

Population(s) Served

The B-Sharp Music Wellness program targets a specific community outreach population through a multi-faceted music wellness experience dedicated to bringing the transformative, healing power of live music from Symphony Hall to their facilities. Symphony musicians provide an engaging program that ranges from soothing classical strings to Americana jazz. Concerts are performed at each facility once per month year-round. Each concert varies in length from 90 minutes to two hours, with musicians remaining afterward for one-on-one interaction with participants. Concert content is varied such as a brass quintet performing jazz standards; a string duo performing Mozart and an arrangement of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean; and a percussion quartet showcasing the evolution of rhythm and drumming.

We think of the program as having a 360° impact not just with the audience, but everyone who participates ─ Symphony musicians, partner agency staff and volunteers. B-Sharp instills a deep connection to music and creativity and sets the stage for a broad range of personal experiences within the seven elements of wellness: social/cultural, physical, environmental, occupational, intellectual, emotional and spiritual.

B-Sharp for Alzheimer’s (formerly “Arts Engagement Program”): Designed for individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and their care partners, participants attend Friday morning Coffee Concerts and receive an exclusive pre-concert chat about the day’s music with Symphony musicians.

Phoenix Symphony at Shea: In partnership with Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center, Symphony chamber musicians perform a varied and engaging program in public areas of Shea Hospital for patients, family members and hospital staff. The program repertoire uses music as a tool to help with the stress and anxiety of a medical diagnosis, thus embracing a holistic outlook for a patient to cope and heal.

B-Sharp Homeless Outreach: The primary program goal is to use music as a catalyst for joy and self-expression for individuals who often feel powerless and silenced. The Symphony partners with four nationally recognized homeless facilities serving women, men, unaccompanied minors and families ─ each group representing the growing population of individuals experiencing homelessness in Greater Phoenix.

B-Sharp for Special Populations: Everyone responds to the energy and joy of music, regardless of their capabilities or challenges. Symphony musicians bring the therapeutic effects of interacting with live music to facilities serving children and adults with cognitive, physical and/or developmental disabilities.

Population(s) Served

Symphony for the Schools provides daytime symphonic concert experiences for 25,000 K-12th grade students of Greater Phoenix and the surrounding metropolitan areas. As a cooperative effort with grade level teachers and music specialists in public, charter, private and home school systems, the program offers an increased understanding of and appreciation for symphonic music. Each school year, the Symphony schedules 12 concerts, 45 minutes in length which are programmed by our Director of Education & Community Outreach and conducted by the Symphony’s Resident Conductor. Performed live at Symphony Hall by the full orchestra, the programs have an entertaining mix of narration and popular classical music selections which are tied to core subjects such as science, math and language arts. The field trip to Symphony Hall for a Symphony for the Schools performance begins in the school classroom through the use of free study guides that contain lesson plans and assessment tools to help teachers prepare students for their pre- and post concert experiences.

Priority is given to schools located in an economically repressed or urban redevelopment area of the community, Title 1 designation and/or at least 50% of the student population qualifying for the federal free/reduced lunch program. Schools of this nature face numerous financial challenges in providing arts education opportunities for their students. As school districts continue to eliminate funding for music programs, Symphony programs are often the only music education experience K-12 students in Arizona encounter. For many students, Symphony for the Schools is their first exposure to orchestral music.

2013-2014 Programs
Good Vibrations (Grades K-8)
How is a brass instrument engineered to produce sound? What causes the strings on a cello to vibrate? Can a drum change pitch? The answers can be found in science. This concert will allow students to explore the world of music through the lens of science and mechanics of engineering.

Great Works of Literature in Music (Grades 7th-12th)
Classic literary works have long inspired composers to create beautiful music. This concert will feature staged readings of classical literature with corresponding musical compositions.

Music and Math (Grades K-8)
Counting, fractions, symmetry - must be math class, right? Guess again  it's music! In this fast-paced concert, students will discover connections between music and math by listening to music from well-known composers. Get ready for music as you've never heard it before . . . you may just come away whistling some math!

Population(s) Served

Reaching beyond the walls of Symphony Hall, the Symphony’s Classroom Concert program brings the live concert experience into the school. Students hear live, top-quality music and meet professional musicians in an up-close, informal setting.

During this interactive 40 minute visit, Symphony musicians talk about music, history, music theory, the science of the sound produced by their instruments and their own individual journeys to becoming professional musicians. Concerts are performed in a variety of settings including gymnasiums, cafeteria, libraries and classrooms.

Each repertoire integrates music standards with science, language arts, math concepts; helping students make connections across the curriculum.

The Building Blocks of Music gives K-3 students a look at the strings instruments family as they learn the science behind how they produce sound and explore the world of the composers who write the music.

The Science of Sound for grades 4-8 shows students how science concepts such as vibration, frequency and resonance are relevant when playing classical orchestral instruments by reinforcing STE[+a]M (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) concepts. This concert is aligned with the National Science Standards and Benchmarks for science literacy.

Reach Out to Music blends the traditional audience/performer format with an interactive session in which students become part of a personalized learning experience with the premise that we all use music to tell and discover our own story.

To support classroom integration of all the Symphony’s education programs, free electronic teacher study guides are available through the Symphony website. Specific to each program’s repertoire, corresponding study guides contain lesson plans and assessment tools to help teachers prepare students for their pre- and post concert experiences. All presentations, curriculum guide, lesson plans and assessment tools are aligned with the Arizona Arts and Common Core Academic Standards.

Population(s) Served

In 2000, The Phoenix Symphony established a partnership with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to provide a supplemental music program with private and group instrumental lessons to interested high school students. Now in its thirteenth year, the One Nation continues to enhance the general and instrumental music curriculum of the Salt River Community’s K-8 elementary and the high school by building relationships between Symphony musicians and students. The program has been tremendously successful in engaging students in music education, building self-esteem and increasing academic achievement.

One Nation is a music education residency program offered to students attending Salt River High Community Schools. The program is located on the Salt River Elementary and High School campuses and is a collaborative effort coordinated by the Salt River Community Schools Performing Arts Specialist/One Nation Coordinator and the Symphony’s Director of Education and Community Outreach. With the continued successes of One Nation, the Symphony has expanded the program in the 2013/2014 school year by adding four days of instruction per week at the elementary school campus in addition to the one day per week at the high school. Additionally the total program length has been expanded from 18 weeks to 32 weeks of program delivery.

The program offers private lessons, group lessons/workshops and recital coaching by Symphony musicians in a structured four day per week, in-school and afterschool environment for grades 9-12. In addition to instrumental music instruction, students prepare solos and ensemble work for community recitals. One Nation is directly tied to the Arizona Department of Education Music standards and the music curriculum of the Salt River Community schools with class assignments and lessons appropriately gauged to the student’s skill level. Scheduling for instrumental music instruction follows the school year calendar, beginning in September and ending in May. Recitals, Classroom Concerts and Bach ‘n Roll Assemblies are planned accordance with school schedules. All students enrolled in the Salt River Community Schools attend Symphony for the Schools concerts at Symphony Hall which are offered three times per year.

The teaching roster is composed of eight Symphony musicians and the One Nation program coordinator/teacher. Private lessons are offered by nine musicians teaching an average of 60 minutes per day for 32 weeks. Group lessons are offered through the afterschool program by four Symphony musicians with an average of 90 minutes per day of instruction. In addition, a Symphony musician assigned to the teaching roster serves as a Student Recital Coach to better prepare students for community concerts and auditions for the Arizona Regional Band/Orchestra and/or All-State High School Band and Orchestra.

Population(s) Served

Where we work



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as of 3/4/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
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