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September 20, 2023

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra announces full slate of education and community engagement programs for the 2023–24 season 

INDIANAPOLIS—The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce a full schedule of education and community engagement opportunities designed to educate, inspire, and serve Hoosiers of all ages throughout the year. Through the ISO’s Education and Community Engagement Department, these programs provide lifelong learning opportunities to our community.  

“In our role as a vital community anchor, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to offer programs that engage central Indiana residents from all walks of life. We’re grateful to our sponsors who make this work possible as we deepen the impact of longtime initiatives like Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and introduce exciting new programs for adults with First Thursdays,” said James M. Johnson, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra CEO.

Teddy Bear Concert Series presented by the Indianapolis Colts (preschool/kindergarten)
Join musicians from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and a narrator as they take you on an adventure through five different original stories written by ISO violinist Victoria Kintner Griswold. Each story introduces children ages 3-7 to the instruments of the orchestra through storytelling, movement, and live music. All children will have the opportunity to try real violins and interact with ISO musicians at the end of each 30-minute program. The 2023–24 schedule features 12 performances held at libraries around central Indiana from September 2023 to July 2024. The series is made possible with generous support from the Indianapolis Colts as the presenting sponsor. 

All performances are free and open to the public, registration may be required. Stuffed friends are always welcome! See the full schedule here.  

Community Health Network Discovery Concerts (grades 3–6)
Discovery Concerts, which provide a unique way for students in grades 3 through 6 to experience classical music, are made possible through the generous support of Community Health Network. Featuring 8 concerts at Hilbert Circle Theatre beginning in January 2024, this season’s theme explores various cultures from around the world. The program includes teacher and student packets provided by the ISO. The Community Health Network Discovery Concert curriculum covers Indiana Academic Standards in language arts, math, music, ethnic studies, geography, social studies, science, dance, and visual art.  

Bring your students to a concert this season! See the schedule and reserve tickets here. 

Metropolitan Youth Orchestra (K–12)
The Metropolitan Youth Orchestra (MYO) is a youth and family development program of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, presented by Bank of America. For more than 25 years, the MYO program has been all about developing life skills through the rehearsal and performance of music. Students are provided with a safe and loving environment to make mistakes, overcome fears, develop healthy relationships, fulfill their potential, and take the life skills learned through music to become successful adults.  

Join us at the MYO’s Holiday Open House & Chamber Orchestra Performance on December 10, 1 p.m. at Broadway United Methodist Church. Performances are free and open to the public. See all MYO events and learn more about the program here 


Introducing First Thursdays! (adults/all ages)
First Thursdays are your FREE ticket to go behind the scenes at the Indianapolis Symphony! Enjoy a beverage and join ISO Assistant Conductor Su-Han Yang, ISO artists, staff, and special guests in an immersive experience in our beautiful Hilbert Circle Theatre lobby. This season will include five, hour-long programs featuring performances, exclusive interviews, and interactive activities.  

Our first program on October 5 will feature Su-Han Yang with tips on how to enjoy classical music as well as Concertmaster Kevin Lin as he prepares for his big night performing Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No. 3. You will also get a lesson on how to use the bow from our friends at the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra! Reserve your spot here. 


Introducing ISO Connect! (K-12)
The ISO Connect program includes offerings to engage students in school and at ISO concerts. Through this program, educators may request ISO musicians to visit your classroom to give short performances, answer Q&As, or conduct sectionals! You can also request ISO staff members to participate in career presentations and more. The ISO is proud to present five different programs developed by The Sassy Violist (founded by ISO violist Amy Kniffen), that combine elements of music, literature, poetry, history, and social justice in an immersive experience. Through the ISO Connect program, your field trips to the symphony can also include a tour of the historic Hilbert Circle Theatre as well as meet-and-greets with our musicians after the concert at the front of the stage!  

For more information on any ISO Connect programming, contact Nicha at 


Reintroducing Side-by-Side! (grades 7-12) 

Over 1,000 talented Central Indiana students have participated in the unique opportunity to share the stage of the historic Hilbert Circle Theatre alongside ISO musicians since Side-by-Side began in 1991.  

Side-by-Side is returning by popular demand! This season, students can expect to submit recorded auditions by  January 2024 and participate in intensive coaching and sectionals led by Su-Han Yang, ISO’s assistant conductor, and members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in the spring.  

Registration deadline, audition information, and rehearsal schedule will be posted on the ISO website soon—stay tuned! 

The Michael Ben and Illene Komisarow Maurer Young Musicians Contest

Follow in the footsteps of winners of the Michael Ben and Illene Komisarow Maurer Young Musicians Contest who are now musicians in orchestras across the nation, including the ISO. This contest encourages accomplished young Indiana musicians to set and achieve goals of technical and artistic excellence by providing an opportunity to perform in a competitive setting.  

New this year! The contest will now offer two divisions for young musicians to enter: the Rising Star category (middle school) and the Young Musician category (high school). The winner of the Young Musician category will receive a cash prize of $2,000 and the opportunity to perform their winning concerto with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at Hilbert Circle Theatre in the spring of 2024.   

Contest guidelines and application will open on our website by the end of September 2023.  

About the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, at home and thriving in the heart of Indianapolis, offers an exceptional artistic and musical experience. The orchestra is open to all and dedicated to creating an inclusive and innovative experiential environment that is inspiring, educational, and welcoming. The ISO celebrates historically beloved performances while engaging audiences by introducing new voices through programming including the IU Health Plans Classical Series, the Printing Partners Pops Series, the holiday traditions of AES Indiana Yuletide Celebration and the popular Film Series presented by Bank of America. For more information, visit