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Charleston, SC – The Charleston Symphony (CSO) announced last month auditions for its inaugural orchestral fellowship, a two-year intensive program for professionally-trained string musicians. The orchestral fellowship expands on the CSO’s action-driven approach to creating a more equitable industry and effecting change in the arts.

Launched in August 2021 with the executive division, the Charleston Symphony Inclusion Fellowship (CSIF) is an immersive, experiential program designed to advance individuals from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in classical music. As the organization’s foremost initiative that directly addresses the institutional barriers and issues of representation, the Charleston Symphony seeks to build direct career pipelines for future orchestra leaders and musicians. The orchestral fellowship, representing the second CSIF division, will engage five talented musicians for two seasons as members of the Charleston Symphony.

Charleston Symphony Assistant Conductor and CSIF program curator, Kellen Gray said, “Ultimately our goal is to change the legacy of classical music, both on and beyond the stage.” Michael Smith, Executive Director of the CSO commented, “We are proud to launch this second component of our inclusion fellowship program as one of several steps we intend to take to honor our commitment to this goal.”

After national auditions are held, the CSO will select five professionally trained orchestral fellows to join the Charleston Symphony for the orchestra’s main series concerts, as well as educational activities, during the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 performance seasons. Participating fellows will perform in the CSO’s three main concert series (Masterworks, Pops, and Chamber Music), community concerts, and educational programs, including engagements with the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra.

In addition to their organizational role, all fellows will actively participate in supplemental learning opportunities and career-applicable enrichment workshops centered around topics such as leadership, philanthropy and marketing, interview and audition preparation, strategies of diversity equity and inclusion, Alexander Technique, philosophies of the community embedded musician, and more.

Auditions for the orchestral fellowship are now open to violin, viola, cello, and bass players of traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. Eligible candidates must be a graduate of, or currently enrolled in a graduate-level music degree program. Application materials, including introductory and performance videos, are due no later than April 17, 2022. More information and the full submission requirements can be found online by visiting:


The CSO is celebrating 86 years of serving the community through engaging musical performances and enriching education initiatives. The Charleston Symphony is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts, and strives to not only be recognized for both performance and presentation of the highest quality music, but also to engage and enrich people of all backgrounds and beliefs through culturally meaningful and relevant programming for our communities. As the largest full-time performing arts organization in the state, the CSO serves close to 50,000 adults and children annually. The CSO now invests more than $530,000 annually in its education initiatives to reach students throughout the tri-county region.

The CSO has a $3.5 million budget and relies on philanthropic support to cover 55% of annual operating expenses. Employing 24 full-time “core” musicians and more than 400 guest musician engagements throughout the season, the Charleston Symphony hosts more than 150 concerts and activities throughout South Carolina, including education and family experiences, community engagement events, free performances, chamber music, main series concerts, and more. To continue learning about the CSO, visit