Discovery Orchestra


45 East Willow Street
Millburn, NJ 07041
County: Essex


Ms. Virginia Johnston

Grant Amount


Program Area


Grant Details

To connect participants with classical music by teaching music listening skills through interactive live and media programs.

Organization Background

The Discovery Orchestra teaches listening skills that help people profoundly connect with and emotionally respond to classical music through live interactive performances and media programs. Founded in 1987 as the Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey, our mission was to present traditional symphonic concerts. Artistic Director George Marriner Maull had taught music listening in classroom and lecture settings for two decades when, in 1992, we offered our first course to the public. Course participants and Trustees encouraged him to replicate this experience in the concert hall, resulting in our first Discovery Concert in 1996.

More Discovery Concerts followed until, a decade later, all stakeholders arrived at the conclusion that our mission should be exclusively an educational one. In 2006 we rewrote our mission and changed our name to reflect this. Since then, all programs include interactive music listening instruction. Feedback from the public continues to reinforce the belief that we fill an important educational niche. Since 2002 we've reached exponentially larger audiences through our media programs: three Emmy-nominated public television shows, our latest eight-part series for American Public Television and over 150 short Discovery Orchestra Chat YouTube videos.

The omnipresence of electronically reproduced music continues to "train" everyone in our society not to listen, but to merely hear music as a background to other activities. At Discovery Concerts we coax audience members to give music their undivided attention and notice musical details by performing a short work and exploring it with them using a printed Listening Guide. After the exploration, the piece is played again. Audience members invariably tell us they feel a much deeper connection with the music the second time it is played.

We serve New Jersey and the tri-state through live programs and reach hundreds of thousands of people annually nationwide - cumulatively, millions of people - through our Chat videos and television shows: "Bach to the Future," "Discover Beethoven's 5th", "Discover Vivaldi's Four Seasons" and our new "Fall in Love with Music" 8-part series. These programs are distributed to schools by Films Media Group and to the home market via Amazon streaming and DVD.

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