<August 2019>


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.

Official DSO Fellowship Poster

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

Fellowships Application Process

Please check back soon for information regarding the 2020-21 Fellowship auditions.


Previous Fellows Include:

Previous Fellows

From Left:

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—Host, Classical 24; former Second Bassoon, Knoxville Symphony

Not Pictured:

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—Xelena Duo; 2017 Tanglewood Music Center Fellow

Adam Sadberry—Acting Principal, Memphis Symphony