African-American Orchestra Fellowship

The DSO inaugurated its African-American Orchestra Fellowship in 1990 and is proud to be 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 African Americans within classical music.

The African-American Orchestra Fellowship is designed to enhance the career development of African-American musicians. Fellows perform in the orchestra, work closely with coaches and mentors, participate in mock auditions, and represent the DSO in the community.

The DSO’s current African-American Orchestra Fellows are Cole Randolph, cello and Jaquain Sloan, bassoon.

The African-American Orchestra Fellowship is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In 2018, the DSO was pleased to announce the expansion of the program from one Fellow position to two positions, thanks to the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Application Process

The African-American Fellowship program is not currently accepting applications. Any audition information will be posted when available. For previous audition information please view the 2019 Fellowship Poster.

Previous Fellows

Previous African-American Orchestra Fellows include, but are not limited to:

Doug Cardwell
Douglas Cardwell – Principal Timpani, New Mexico Philharmonic

Velda Kelly
Velda Kelly – Violin, Michigan Opera Theatre

Romona Merritt v2
Romona Merritt – Associate Principal Viola, West Michigan Symphony

Caen-Thomason-Redus-2.jpg
Caen Thomason-Redus – Flute, DSO Senior Director of Community and Engagement

Alexander-Davis-2.jpg
Alexander Davis – Bassoon, Former Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; Freelance Musician


Alexander Laing – Principal Clarinet, Phoenix Symphony

Derek Reeves
Derek Reeves – Principal Viola, Fort Wayne Symphony

Kenneth Thompkins 2
Kenneth Thompkins – Principal Trombone, DSO

Geoffrey-Johnson-2.jpg
Geoffrey Johnson – Oboe, Former Acting Second Oboe, DSO; Detroit Freelance Musician

John Madison
John Madison – Principal Viola, Michigan Opera Theatre

Michael Robinson Jr
Michael Robinson Jr. – Principal Trombone, Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra

Josh Jones
Joshua Jones – Principal Percussion, Kansas City Symphony

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Garrett McQueen – Bassoon, Digital Content; Radio Producer

Adam Sadberry 2
Adam Sadberry – Acting Principal Flute, Memphis Symphony Orchestra