About the DSO Fellowship Program

For several decades, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has been a leader in celebrating the contributions of African-American composers, nurturing the talents of young African-American classical musicians, and increasing access and opportunity for younger African-Americans within classical music.

The DSO Fellowship Program was created in its current form in 1990. The Fellowship Program is designed to enhance the career development of African-American orchestral musicians and the diversity of professional orchestras. It provides the opportunity to perform with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra during throughout the season.

Alternate weeks not spent playing in the Orchestra are spent in a schedule of individual coaching, mentoring, and mock auditions. Previous DSO fellows have gone on to win positions in major orchestras across the United States—including the DSO’s own principal trombone, Kenneth Thompkins.

The DSO’s African-American Fellowship Program is supported by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Fellowships Application Process

Thank you to all of the 2017-18 Applicants! Please check back for information regarding future Fellowship auditions.

Previous Fellows Include:

  • Ken Thompkins—Principal Trombone, Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • Velda Kelly—Section Violin, Michigan Opera Theatre
  • Caen Thomason-Redus—Senior Director of Community and Learning, Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • Douglas Cardwell—Principal Timpani, New Mexico Philharmonic and Sphinx Orchestra
  • John Madison—Principal Viola, Michigan Opera Theatre
  • Alexander Laing—Principal Clarinet, Phoenix Symphony; 2018 Sphinx Medal of Excellence Awardee
  • Romona Merritt—Section Viola, Alabama Symphony
  • Garrett McQueen—Second Bassoon, Knoxville Symphony
  • Derek Reeves—Principal Viola, Fort Wayne Symphony
  • Shawn Jones—Bassoon, San Francisco Ballet
  • Michael Robinson—Principal Trombone, Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Geoffrey Johnson—former Acting Second Oboe, Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • Josh Jones—Principal Percussion, Calgary Philharmonic
  • Alex Davis—current DSO Fellow; 2017 Tanglewood Music Center Fellow