Skip to Content


August 29, 2017

Colorado Symphony Awarded $75,000 Grant by Dresner Foundation to Expand “Very Young Composers” Music Education Program


 Media Contact:  

Rachel Trignano, Manager of Public and Community Relations 
404.519.1015 (m) – 303.308.2477 (o) 


Aug. 29, 2017 – Denver, CO – The Colorado Symphony received a $75,000, three-year grant from Michigan’s Dresner Foundation in support of expanding the Symphony’s Very Young Composers music education program.  

The Very Young Composers program places Colorado Symphony musician Teaching Artists into local public schools and enables children to compose original music using descriptive language, rather than relying on technical music knowledge. The program launched at the Cole Arts & Science Academy in northeast Denver and is successful in helping children to express themselves creatively without needing an extensive, formal music education. Students’ finished music has been performed in their schools, as well as onstage in Boettcher Concert Hall.  

Colorado Symphony’s Very Young Composers program offers an opportunity to support the work of music teachers with third- through fifth-grade students who would not ordinarily have this unprecedented level of access to professional musician Teaching Artists,” said Catherine Beeson, who is Director of Community Education Programs, as well as Assistant Principal Viola, of the Colorado Symphony. Students in economically distressed communities are provided personal growth opportunities through safe academic risktaking when composing music for the symphony to perform. We see powerful transformations in these students. 

The Dresner Foundation‘s program areas of focus are health, youth and family, and animal welfare; the Colorado Symphony’s Very Young Composers program exemplifies the Foundation’s goal to foster self-empowerment and self-esteem through academic, artistic, personal or social enrichment.” 

The grant will be used to expand the Colorado Symphony’s Very Young Composers in-school residency program during the 2017 through 2020 school years in approximately four elementary schools serving Title I populations in the metro Denver area. The funding will be disbursed in $25,000 increments over the course of three school years, beginning with the 2017/18 school year. Beeson estimates that this generous support will allow Very Young Composers to reach an additional 2,000 students annually by 2020, underscoring the extent to which music education programs rely charitable giving. 

A large percentage of our operating funds comes from contributed revenue, including grants, said Coreen Miller, Colorado Symphony Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. “The growth of programs like Very Young Composers depends on support like this, and we hope it encourages more foundations and individual donors to contribute to the Colorado Symphony’s ongoing transition from stabilization to positive growth.  

To learn more about the Very Young Composers program, watch this video: 



For more information or to request interviews, please contact:  

Rachel Trignano, Manager of Public and Community Relations – 303.308.2477 (o) 

 For high-resolution, downloadable images of the Colorado Symphony, visit 

The 2017/18 Colorado Symphony Season is sponsored by Arrow Electronics, with support by The Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), 9NEWS, and United Airlines. 


Tickets are available online at, by phone at 303.623.7876, and in person at the Boettcher Concert Hall Box Office, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1000 14th Street. The Box Office is open Monday Friday, 10 a.m. 6 p.m.; Saturday, noon 6 p.m.; and two hours prior to each performance. 


One of the leading orchestras in the United States, the Colorado Symphony performs more than 100 concerts annually at Boettcher Concert Hall in downtown Denver and across Colorado. Led by Music Director Brett Mitchell, the Colorado Symphony is home to eighty full-time musicians, representing more than a dozen nations, and regularly welcomes the most celebrated artists from the world of symphonic music and beyond. Every season, the Colorado Symphony serves more than 250,000 people from all walks of life, performing a range of musical styles, from traditional to contemporary. Recognized as an incubator of innovation, creativity, and excellence, the Colorado Symphony continually expands its reach through education, outreach, and programming. The Colorado Symphony partners with the state’s leading musical artists, cultural organizations, corporations, foundations, sports teams, and individuals to expose diverse audiences to the transformative power of music. To learn more, visit