<July 2019>

Wu Family Academy logo

About The Wu Family Academy

The vision of the Wu Family Academy for Learning and Engagement is to change lives by expanding the understanding of the arts, empowering everyone to have confidence in their creative decisions, and sparking a passion for music that will last a lifetime. We aim to change lives — whether as a hobby or a career — through life-long music making.

Through live and digital partnerships, hands-on music education and training in classrooms, communities, and virtual settings, the Wu Family Academy will cultivate relationships that will change lives today, and, thereby, the trajectory of our community tomorrow.

Dresner Allegro Foundation Ensemble students on stage

Launched in the fall of 2017, the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble joins thirteen current student ensembles organized by the DSO’s Wu Family Academy through its Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE) program. The DSO offers this opportunity completely free of charge to students, including an instrument and all materials, and commits to providing scholarships throughout their participation in Civic Youth Ensembles. Unlike the DSO’s other CYE ensembles, this is an entry-level opportunity and no prior musical experience will be necessary.

CYE gives students opportunities to receive instrumental performance instruction and play in an ensemble setting, as well as provides access to DSO musicians for teaching and mentoring.

To increase access to instrumental performance instruction for students in Detroit who would not otherwise have a pathway to pursue music education, the DSO has implemented a more intense recruitment effort for the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble and host auditions at local schools to attract a broader range of participants. The Vera and Joseph Dresner Allegro Ensemble is an afterschool program at the Duke Ellington Conservatory of Music and Art in Detroit under the direction of their teacher Sean Patton, and teaching artists Leslie DeShazor and Ashley Nelson.

The Legacy of Clyde & Helen Wu

Clyde & Helen Wu

More than half a century ago, a promising young pianist gave a recital in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, a young doctor sat in the audience and was mesmerized by her beauty and her talent. Following the recital, Dr. Clyde Wu introduced himself to that pianist, Helen, which sparked a great love that led to a lifetime of partnership in service to the community and dedication to musical education.

Clyde was a regarded physician by profession, steeped in the classical tradition through Helen’s musical career. His quiet countenance masked a deep understanding for music’s transformative qualities, as he proved to be the ideal candidate for leading the DSO's Education Committee as chairman. Together with Helen, Clyde went on to steer his committee in the development of a music education program that has since touched countless young lives.

Clyde and Helen Wu's vision has principally guided the DSO’s achievements in music training. The DSO is proud to carry on their relentless belief in music's power to transform a child's life through what is now aptly named the Wu Family Academy for Learning and Engagement, offering a broad range of educational programs for all ages and backgrounds.

The DSO welcomes hundreds of student musicians each week as they hone their musical acumen, nurture the seeds of teamwork and develop focus that will serve them throughout their lifetime—exercising music's ability to inform, to enrich and perhaps most importantly, to delight.