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October 14, 2019

Thirty-Nine Musical Arts Organizations Convene To Examine The Future Of Music Education And Access In Denver


Media Contacts:
Nick Dobreff, Manager of Publicity and Community Relations
Colorado Symphony
C: 616.485.3913 | O: 303.308.2477

Cecile Forsberg, Marketing & Development Manager
Denver Young Artists Orchestra
O: 303.433.2420 ext. 404 | C: 303.506.1446

October 3-4 event examined equitable access to youth music education in Denver

Oct. 14, 2019 – Denver, CO – The Denver Young Artists Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony, and El Sistema Colorado hosted the first-ever Denver Music Education Convening on October 3 and 4, 2019.

The convening saw thirty-nine organizations present including Denver Public Schools, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, SCFD, Universities, and numerous Not for Profit 501(c)3 Organizations. The event was a veritable who’s who of the Denver musical arts community. The goal of the convening was to identify and implement actions that increase equity, diversity, and inclusivity for Denver youth music education in a transformational, measurable, and sustainable manner.

“The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation was pleased to support this important convening. I was so impressed with the number and diversity of organizations participating, demonstrating the interest and need in finding strategies to address equitable access to music education. The convening’s collaborative and creative approach to identifying shared purpose and next steps was really inspiring. I’m excited about the possibilities moving forward” said Gina Ferrari, Director Grants Program with the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation.

Through robust discussions, led by Team Tipton consultants, the convening discussed topics ranging from the definition of an active musical life, diversity of musical genres, and the impact of music education. There are many diverse organizations incorporating all genres of music through educational work.  Some programs overlap others and others are unique in and of themselves.  The consensus in the room was that an active musical life will mean many things to many different people and all Denver youth should have access to these opportunities across our community.

This is a shining moment for musical arts education in Denver. The organizations came together across a variety of shared values to create the following ambitious vision statement: “We use music to amplify the silenced and reimagine community.”  Team Tipton challenged the convening to define actionable steps to make this ambitious vision a reality.  The convening resulted in a commitment to create a Denver Music Education Coalition engaging all community stakeholders to define the mission and overarching vision of the coalition.

“The Colorado Symphony was honored to host the inaugural Denver Music Education Convening in conjunction with DYAO and El Sistema Colorado,” said Jesse Martinez, Director of Community Education with the Colorado Symphony. “The opportunity to collaborate with a group of passionate organizations who are committed to improving equity, diversity, and inclusivity within Denver youth music education was inspiring and beneficial for all involved. We look forward to taking the next steps towards the creation of a viable Denver Music Education Coalition as we strive to create a lasting impact on youth music education in Denver for years to come.”

Plans for an initial meeting are already underway.  The convening plans to reach out to the community to ensure that all voices are represented at the table including: students, performers, educators, parents, organizations, funders, and more.


For more information or to request interviews, please contact:
Cecile Forsberg, Marketing & Development Manager
Denver Young Artists Orchestra | O: 303.433.2420 ext. 404

For high-resolution images of the Denver Young Artists Orchestra, contact:

Nick Dobreff, Manager of Publicity & Community Relations
Colorado Symphony Association
O: 303.308.2477 | C: 616.485.3913

For high-resolution images of the Colorado Symphony Association, contact:

The mission of the Denver Young Artists Orchestra Association (DYAO) is to provide the finest possible youth orchestra programs, inspiring and educating young musicians through the performance of great works of music, and offering valuable cultural opportunities to the community. For forty-two years, DYAO has nurtured the talents of the Rocky Mountain region’s finest young musicians. Today, the organization’s three orchestras and outreach programs train nearly 250 students ages seven to twenty-three annually. To learn more, visit:

One of the leading orchestras in the United States, the Colorado Symphony Association is a not-for profit
501 (c)(3) organization performing more than 150 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. In the last year, the Colorado Symphony served nearly 233,000 people attending live performances at concert and nontraditional venues throughout Colorado’s Front Range. In addition, over 265,000 people listen to the Colorado Symphony through Colorado Public Radio’s live broadcasts of classical content featuring concert recordings, in-studio performances of individual musicians and small ensembles, and live streaming of interviews and performances with artists. 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

El Sistema Colorado (ESC) is modeled after the visionary global “El Sistema” movement started in Caracas, Venezuela, now serving over a million children worldwide. ESC provides free, daily access to ensemble music for low-income youth. Since launching in 2012, ESC has served 1,300 children, building orchestras, choirs  and diverse ensembles in Denver’s low-resourced Globeville, Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods (in partnership with Denver Public Schools). October 2019 marks the opening of the new El Sistema Community Music Center in Curtis Park with access to 200 more affordable and public housing units. Daily rehearsals and regular performances are projected to raise the vibrancy and engagement of the greater Curtis Park/Five Points community. ESC incorporates team-building and mentorship training, and has just hired several of its high school students to assist teaching part-time afterschool.

Through the pursuit of musical excellence taught by professional Denver musicians, ESC helps close the opportunity gap for economically disadvantaged youth 2nd to 12th grade. Most students come from racially diverse backgrounds – especially Latinx and African-American families. ESC students annually win auditions to competitive summer music camps and citywide honor band, choir or orchestra. To-date, 16 ESC musicians have been accepted into the prestigious Denver School of the Arts, ranked #2 in Colorado high schools in academic performance by US News and World Report (2019).   To learn more, visit:

Team Tipton, a Colorado Public Benefit Corporation and Certified B-Corp, provides consulting, training, and coaching services to organizations that serve humanity and the greater good. We work almost exclusively in the public sector (non-profits, foundations, government agencies, public education) to create healthier, more productive, innovative, and sustainable organizations. For more information, please visit