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KSO receives Getty grant to further develop Music & Wellness program

February 11, 2016

Feb. 11, 2016

Rachel Dellinger
KSO Director of Communications
Direct: 865-521-2317
[email protected]


The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra is one of 23 American orchestras selected by the League of American Orchestras to receive a Getty Education and Community Investment Grantonly six of which were awarded for health care-related programs.

The grant was awarded in the amount of $20,000 for the continuing development of the orchestra’s Music & Wellness program and serves as recognition of the KSO’s innovation and dedication to increasing its relevance to the community.

The KSO quartet performs as part of the Music & Wellness program.

The KSO quartet performs as part of the Music & Wellness program.

“The Getty grant has allowed the KSO to hire a certified music therapist, increase technology used to better accommodate patients, allow KSO musicians to become certified music practitioners through specialized training and this year will expand the program to serve patients with mental health and orthopedic needs,” KSO Executive Director Rachel Ford said.

“We are grateful to the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for continuing to support this critical program,” said Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of League of American Orchestras.

“Orchestras continue to expand their vital role in civic and community life, with musicians acting as ambassadors, advocates, and educators.

“The League is a catalyst in this work, as we share success stories and ideas with the entire orchestral field, helping orchestras deepen their relationship with their communities and develop diverse audiences.”

The mission of the Music & Wellness program is to provide live musical performances that enhance the healing process and benefit patients, visitors and staff in health care settings. The KSO partners with the University of Tennessee Medical Center and Covenant Health, providing 100 performances in health care settings each season, reaching approximately 3,600 people.

“The patients at Peninsula really loved the visit by the musicians,” said Rev. LuAnne Nickell Prevost, chaplain, Peninsula Behavioral Health Institute. “I have received so much positive feedback from patients and staff and hopefully they are beginning to understand the healing powers of music.

“As one patient was being discharged, he thanked me specifically for the music. I was so pleased with the openness of the patients and their politeness for the quartet. I honestly think they were in awe. I imagine very few have ever been in the presence of professional musicians.”

Receiving the Getty grant for a fourth year will allow the program to:

  • Employ a part-time, board certified music therapist, the first music therapist position at any American orchestra
  • Purchase iPad technology for the five KSO musicians working in the program so they can better accommodate patient musical preference
  • Facilitate an observational study to document the effects of live music in a health care setting
  • Complete practicum hours as the five musicians working in the program become certified music practitioners

The program has grown in scope from basic performances in lobbies and assisted living facilities to one-on-one/bedside playing for individual patients in chemotherapy treatment bays and on in-patient floors.

The Getty Education and Community Investment Grants recipients for 2015-16 are:

Allentown Symphony Orchestra, for El Sistema Lehigh Valley; Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for OrchKids; El Paso Symphony Orchestra for Tocando; Empire State Youth Orchestras for CHIME: Creating Harmony Invigorating Music Education; Grand Rapids Symphony for Music for Health; Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for Metropolitan Youth Orchestra; Juneau Symphony for Juneau, Alaska Music Matters (JAMM); Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra for Kalamazoo Kids in Tune; Kidznotes; Knoxville Symphony Orchestra for KSO Music & Wellness; Los Angeles Philharmonic for Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA); Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra for Soul Strings; New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project); New West Symphony for Harmony Project of Ventura County; Orchestra of St. Luke’s for Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (YOSL); Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra for RSO/SPHERE Partnership; San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory for Community Opus Project; Seattle Symphony for Lullaby Project; Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras for SYSO in the Schools; The Phoenix Symphony for The B-Sharp Music Wellness, a W.O.N.D.E.R. Project: Alzheimer’s Expansion Initiative; Waterbury Symphony Orchestra for Bravo Waterbury!; and the Yakima Symphony Orchestra for Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA).

A total of $425,000 was awarded, the fourth year of the $2 million re-granting program made possible by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. The orchestras, encompassing a full range of budget sizes, will receive individual grants ranging from $15,000 to $27,500 for a variety of community-based programs taking place during the 2015-16 season. A prerequisite for qualifying orchestras was the existence of partnerships with local community or social service organizations.

The 100-plus applicants were narrowed by an independent advisory panel of experts to 32 semifinalists; all programs were then judged on a number of criteria, including innovation and relevance to community needs, strength of partnerships, extent and quality of professional development and strength of evaluation activities, among other assessment categories.

For firsthand video accounts from grantee program stakeholders and others, visit the League’s new online story bank.  Health care providers, parents, musicians, orchestra administrators, and students are all spotlighted in a regularly updated array of videos, articles, and infographics, all showing the many ways in which orchestras serve communities.

About the League of American Orchestras

The League of American Orchestras leads, supports, and champions America’s orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform. Its diverse membership of approximately 800 orchestras across North America runs the gamut from world-renowned symphonies to community orchestras, from summer festivals to student and youth ensembles. The only national organization dedicated solely to the orchestral experience, the League is a nexus of knowledge and innovation, advocacy, and leadership advancement for managers, musicians, volunteers, and boards.  Its conferences and events, award-winning Symphony magazine, website, and other publications inform music lovers around the world about orchestral activity and developments.  Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers and administrators, board members, volunteers, and business partners.  Visit to learn more.

About the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

Established in 1935, the KSO has contributed to the cultural life in East Tennessee continuously for 80 years, providing excellence in musical and educational programs. The Orchestra consists of 80 professional musicians and performs 250 programs throughout the region each season, reaching audiences of more than 200,000 people. The KSO performs in traditional venues such as the Tennessee Theatre, Bijou Theatre and the Civic Auditorium as well as non-traditional places like hospitals, schools, city parks and churches.  The KSO is currently undergoing the search for a new Music Director, to be announced in 2016. For more information please visit

Maria Cornelius