The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and School of Music Announce Groundbreaking Partnership

May 25, 2023

The collaboration marks a significant investment in the community, students and the future of orchestral music.


The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and the University of Maryland’s (UMD) Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (The Clarice) and School of Music (SOM) today announce a groundbreaking partnership that marks a significant investment in the cultural and civic landscape of Prince George’s County, Maryland, and the future of orchestral performance. The collaboration between three major cultural institutions—an orchestra, a performing arts center and a school of music—will revolutionize how organizations work together to engage with their communities in an innovative, meaningful way. It is complemented by unique educational opportunities for students and the commissioning of new music. Ultimately the goal of the partnership is to transform the role these institutions play as catalysts for social and cultural change in their communities and in the state of Maryland.  

"This exciting new partnership will fund a range of innovative community engagement initiatives, all to be guided by listening, connecting and empowering creativity," said Maryland First Lady Dawn Moore. "The investment that these institutions will make through music and community programming will have lasting and meaningful impact for Marylanders.”

At the heart of this effort is “Voices of Prince George’s County,” a program that will give voice through music to individuals in Prince George’s County and provide opportunities to share their stories with audiences at The Clarice. Sound Impact, a collective of musicians serving communities, will collaborate with partners to ignite positive change and connect with community members to learn about their needs, challenges and hopes for the future and utilize music as a community-building tool. The program will involve BSO musicians and UMD SOM Ensembles with performances and community commissions taking place in libraries, detention centers, youth facilities and churches.

“'Voices of Prince George’s County’ offers a tremendous opportunity for social impact in our community, and I am thrilled to celebrate this partnership,” said UMD President Darryll J. Pines. “It expands UMD’s campuswide Arts for All initiative, which demonstrates the community-building and the transformative power of the arts.”

All partners are deeply committed to meaningful and innovative community engagement initiatives: The BSO continues its commitment to community engagement by extending its reach across the state. From the Music for Maryland Tour, which visits each Maryland jurisdiction over three summers, to programs for younger students like OrchKids and Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra (BSYO), the BSO remains dedicated to music education, equity and inclusion. The Clarice is home to the National Orchestral Institute+Festival (NOI+F), a laboratory for young orchestral musicians who engage with the community through partnerships, performances and initiatives that empower historically excluded voices in classical music. And the School of Music hosts numerous programs centered on advocacy, entrepreneurship and empowering students through music.

Driven by a commitment to contribute in important ways to the future of their communities and the orchestral music field, partners will combine their unique cultural resources to launch new civic initiatives and engage new audiences.

“As the largest arts organization in Maryland, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra remains committed to sharing the magic of music with more people, more often,” said BSO President and CEO, Mark Hanson. “This partnership allows us to continue inspiring audiences of all ages through a wide-variety of symphonic experiences throughout the state of Maryland and beyond.” 

Complementing their significant investments in the community, the partnership will also provide training and mentoring opportunities for UMD students. They’ll have the chance to study with some of the best professional musicians in the country. BSO musicians will teach masterclasses and orchestra sectionals, perform in annual side-by-side rehearsals and host students at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall for open rehearsals. 

“Our School of Music students will gain so much through this partnership. It gives them incredible opportunities to expand their musical education through performances, masterclasses and community engagement," said Gregory Miller, director of the School of Music.

Additionally, world-renowned conductors Jonathon Heyward, the BSO’s new music director who begins his tenure this fall, and Marin Alsop, BSO music director laureate/NOI+F’s music director, will lead conducting masterclasses for students in SOM.

“We believe the performing arts are for everyone and that culture can serve as a vital catalyst for positive social change. This partnership we hope will ignite a new kind of musical dialogue with our on and off-campus communities that will lead to meaningful contributions to the cultural and civic life of Prince George’s County and UMD,” said Terry Dwyer, the executive director of The Clarice. 

Audiences will get a taste of what the future holds during concerts featuring Heyward, Alsop, the BSO and the UMD Concert Choir. Three performances are currently slated for November 2023, February 2024 and March 2024, and are on sale now

Friday, November 17, 2023

Jonathon Heyward, conductor and host
Stephanie Shonekan, co-host

*CHIN Subito con forza
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 4

Friday, February 16, 2024 

Marin Alsop, conductor
Time for Three, string trio

PUTS Contact
HAYDN Symphony No.59 (Fire Symphony)
RAVEL Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2

Friday, March 15, 2024 

Jonathon Heyward, conductor
Jasmine Habersham, soprano
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Elliot Madore, baritone
University of Maryland Concert Choir
Jason Max Ferdinand, director

MENDELSSOHN Die Schöne Melusine Overture 
MAZZOLI Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres)
ORFF Carmina Burana

The Clarice, the BSO and SOM are also co-commissioning a new work that will have its world premiere in the second year of the partnership. As a part of the BSO’s initiative to make symphonic music and orchestral performances more accessible, this partnership provides yet another opportunity to connect audiences to the music by way of education. To kick off the three-concert series, Heyward will share insight about the repertoire from the stage in a conversation moderated by ethnomusicologist and UMD College of Arts and Humanities Dean Stephanie Shonekan. They will be in dialogue about the importance of music and invite audience members to participate. The two following concerts, led by Alsop and a second by Heyward, will also feature in-depth opportunities for audiences to experience these programs in a unique and collaborative format. 

“Connecting with emerging talent and rising musicians is a key component to my tenure with the BSO,” said Heyward. “I feel very fortunate to be able to foster partnerships that align so beautifully with my artistic values. It is a wonderful opportunity to sincerely connect with the next generation of visionary artists and musicians while making this art form that we all love approachable and accessible.”

About the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
For over a century, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has been recognized as one of America’s leading orchestras and one of Maryland’s most significant cultural institutions. The orchestra is internationally renowned and locally admired for its innovation, performances, recordings, and comprehensive education and community engagement initiatives including OrchKids.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs annually for more than 275,000 people throughout the State of Maryland. Since 1982, the BSO has performed at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, and since 2005, with the opening of The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD, the BSO became the nation’s first orchestra performing its full season of classical and pops concerts in two metropolitan areas.

In July 2022, the BSO once again made musical history with its announcement that Jonathon Heyward would succeed Music Director Laureate and OrchKids Founder Marin Alsop as the Orchestra’s next Music Director. Maestro Heyward begins his five-year contract in the 2023-24 season.

More information about the BSO can be found at

About The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland is a purpose-driven cultural organization that believes everything it does should inspire innovation, challenge the status quo and contribute to a more equitable and civil society. As an artist-supportive and socially conscious community, The Clarice leverages creativity, innovation, scholarship and community engagement across the arts. The Clarice supports student and independent artists of all levels and voices, helps nurture and preserve creative freedoms, and contributes in meaningful ways to the future of its community and the field.

More information can be found at

About the UMD School of Music
The University of Maryland School of Music serves as an advocate for the art of music in American culture. In educating the next generation of artist-citizens, the school is dedicated to the highest standards of artistic and scholarly excellence; diversity in curriculum and programming; robust engagement with our region, nation, and world; entrepreneurial thinking and problem solving; and the creation of an inclusive, open and welcoming community. 

More information can be found at