Music creates harmony in difficult times, bridging the gaps of equity and opportunity

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The Texas Music Office recently designated Dallas as a Music Friendly Community. This certification means that the city is serious about attracting and developing the local music industry to stimulate job creation and economic growth. In 2019, the music scene created 210,000 jobs statewide and generated $ 27.3 billion in economic activity.

We’ve seen how music matters, especially during a global pandemic. Music speaks directly to our humanity, and the emotions we feel when notes touch our ears have been felt for centuries. Creativity is an art, and the rising strings of a melody inspire and impact our community. Music teaches essential skills such as discipline, perseverance, teamwork, and communication. It provides a creative outlet to reduce stress and anxiety and helps us reach some of the most vulnerable communities.

Fabio Luisi, pictured above conducting the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, was appointed Music Director in June 2018.(Sylvia Elzafon)

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s efforts during COVID-19 closures have reflected its commitment to music. While many performing arts organizations were forced to switch to virtual-only performances, the DSO presented a full season of 150 live concerts and over 300 outdoor chamber and community music events. The live audience was greeted at the Meyerson Symphony Center with innovative protocols for the safety and comfort of the audience and musicians.

In addition to ensuring that the live performances run as smoothly and safely as possible, the DSO has brought music to its most vulnerable communities. A state-of-the-art robotic studio and cameras have been installed in the Meyerson to capture and live stream DSO performances and events. This innovation has enabled patients in many of D-FW’s large hospital systems to enjoy concerts and other musical performances at home. Technology has fueled much of this service transformation in a way that can survive the immediate effects of the pandemic. By July 2021, more than 100,000 visitors from all over the world had watched DSO’s performances.

The DSO attracts innovation, creativity and top talent, for the benefit of the individuals and families who live there. When we don’t have thousands of customers every year, we are training the next generation of musicians and music lovers. Through numerous education programs, we teach our young people not only to perform, but also to develop their appreciation of art so that they become well-rounded citizens.

Support from the business community helps us find creative ways to expand access to the arts. We must take deliberate action to keep our communities strong. When we have an ecosystem of businesses and community partners working together, we all win. DSO’s partnership with Capital One is a model of how businesses can partner with arts organizations to deliver outsized impact to artists and communities.

By supporting programs like Young Strings and Young Musicians in addition to offering workshops on financial wellness, we have made an impact on students in the metropolis, including South Dallas, who would otherwise not have access to music lessons. Likewise, Full STEAM Ahead, an initiative that promotes arts education and equal opportunities for girls in science, technology, engineering, arts and math, has multiplied the impact of DSO in the community. Not only do we create new orchestral musicians, but we create future patrons, board members, community leaders and dreamers.

DSO is best when we are together – listening together, acting together, and working in partnership with our business community. For example, DSO and Capital One presented a joint special concert with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra to benefit the MET Orchestra Musicians Fund and the Dallas-Fort Worth Musicians COVID-19 Relief Fund.

One thing is clear: Collaboration between business and the arts will strengthen us, giving us a strong and sustainable future. The orchestra is the soul of a city, and when cities have large orchestras, it builds the cultural soul and the spirit of a community. We inspire, enrich and change lives today in a community we cherish. The healing power of art is music to our ears.

Sanjiv Yajnik, Kim Noltemy and Fabio Luisi will always love music. Sanjiv Yajnik, president of financial services at Capital One, was elected chairman of the board of governors of the Dallas Symphony Association in 2017. Under Yajnik’s four-year term, which ended October 21, Noltemy joined the Orchestra. Dallas Symphony as CEO in January 2018, and Luisi was appointed Music Director in June 2018. Luisi conducted the joint special concert with the DSO and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the spring of 2021, even contributing his own money to the MET Orchestra Musicians Fund and the Dallas-Fort Worth Musicians COVID-19 Relief Fund.


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