Discovery Orchestra


50 Mt. Bethel Road
P.O. Box 4064
Warren, NJ 07059
County: Somerset


Ms. Virginia Johnston

Grant Amount


Program Area



Grant Details

For general operating support of Discovery Orchestra's educational, interactive music programs that help audiences develop listening skills to more deeply connect to classical music.

Organization Background

The Discovery Orchestra teaches listening skills that help people emotionally connect with classical music utilizing live performances and electronic media. The Orchestra began in 1987 as the Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey, professionally presenting symphonic concerts. Beginning with our first Discovery Concert in 1996, and culminating with our name change in 2006, our programs now primarily feature orchestral and chamber music performances combined with interactive instruction by Artistic Director George Marriner Maull.

The ubiquitous presence of recorded music continues to train people not to listen but to merely hear music as a background to activities such as dining, driving and texting. The Discovery Orchestra trains people how to actually give music their complete attention. By promoting active listening, many participants share that they have "peak experiences" with music like those described by psychologist Abraham Maslow.

At Discovery Concerts, Maestro Maull and the musicians perform a short work and then explore it with the audience. It is a carefully planned encounter in noticing the details of the music. These are pointed out in accessible terms using a Listening Guide -- a visual "map" of the music. Musical examples, stories and humor help the audience actively participate by answering questions and physically responding. After the exploration, the entire piece is played again. A large majority of the audience say they are much more connected with the music the second time through.

The Orchestra serves individuals of diverse backgrounds from New Jersey and other parts of the tri-state through our live programs. We also reach hundreds of thousands of people nationwide annually through our award-winning public television shows: "Bach to the Future," "Discover Beethoven's 5th", and "Discover Vivaldi's Four Seasons" -- as well as through our Discovery Orchestra Chat videos on YouTube. Key personnel are: Artistic Director George Marriner Maull, a professional musician, conductor and educator for over 40 years; Executive Director Virginia Johnston, with the Orchestra since 1992 and also a professional musician; Director of External Relations Elliot Dee; Director of Patron Programs Jeanne Maass; and Administrative Director Diane Lester. Participants tell us The Discovery Orchestra experience has transformed their listening and enhanced their lives.

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