Discovery Orchestra


50 Mt. Bethel Road
Warren, NJ 07059
County: Somerset


Ms. Virginia Johnston

Grant Amount


Program Area



Grant Details

For live, media-based and interactive programs to help audiences develop listening skills to connect more deeply with classical music.

Organization Background

The Discovery Orchestra teaches listening skills that help people emotionally connect with classical music through live performances and electronic media. Founded in 1987 as the Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey, we originally presented traditional symphonic concerts. Artistic Director George Marriner Maull had been teaching music listening in classroom and lecture settings for two decades when, in 1992, we offered a course to the public. Participants and Trustees subsequently encouraged him to replicate this experience in the concert hall, resulting in our first Discovery Concert in 1996.

More Discovery Concerts were offered each season until, a decade later, we decided our mission should be exclusively an educational one. In 2006 we re-wrote our mission and changed our name to reflect this significant development. All programs now include interactive music listening components. We believe that we're filling an important educational niche. In addition to live programs, since 2002 we have reached ever-larger audiences through our electronic media programs. We have produced three Emmy-nominated public television programs -- with a new 8-part series in post-production -- and over 150 short Discovery Orchestra Chat videos.

The ubiquitous presence of electronically reproduced music continues to train individuals not to listen, but to merely hear music as a background to other activities. We teach audience members how to give music their undivided attention and notice musical details. At Discovery Concerts, we perform a short work and then explore it with the audience. A printed Listening Guide is provided as a framework. After the exploration, the piece is played again. Audience members invariably tell us they are much more connected with the music the second time.

The Orchestra serves New Jersey and the tri-state region through live programs. We also continue to reach hundreds of thousands of people nationwide annually -- cumulatively, millions of people - through the Chat videos and television shows: "Bach to the Future," "Discover Beethoven's 5th", and "Discover Vivaldi's Four Seasons." These programs are also distributed to educational institutions by Films Media Group and to the home market by Topics Entertainment.

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