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ACOSA 2020

Press Release


All City Orchestra Summer Academy to Feature Small-Group Instruction 
on Instruments, Music Tech, Leadership & More

PHILADELPHIA (July 21, 2020) – After a successful inaugural season last summer, the All City Orchestra Summer Academy (ACOSA) at the Mann is returning July 20 to 31, 2020, this time in an entirely virtual fashion.

Presented by the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Project 440, and the School District of Philadelphia, ACOSA is an intermediate-level, two-week music education program offered to rising sixth to 12th graders in the Philadelphia School District at no charge. With 90 students confirmed for the summer 2020 season – an increase over the original group of 65 students who attended the 2019 program – this year’s academy will shift from providing ensemble-based lessons to providing enrichment online through sectionals and instrument-specific learning. 

“We are thrilled to be continuing the incredible work that began with last summer’s first All City Orchestra Summer Academy,” said Naomi Gonzalez, vice president of education and community engagement for the Mann. “The Mann has invested significantly in the technology and software for our virtual edition of ACOSA this summer.  The upside is that students will be learning in smaller groups with the same focus on fostering their musicianship and skills through intensive rehearsal and performance time so that nothing is lost.  In fact, so much can be gained during summer, out-of-school time,” Gonzalez said.

Lessons will be provided by Project 440’s founder and executive director Joseph Conyers, who is also the director of the All City Orchestra, a teacher at the Julliard School of Music and Temple University, and acting associate principal bassist for The Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as by certified instrumental teachers from the School District of Philadelphia.  The two-week curriculum will also include masterclasses with Philadelphia Orchestra musicians, including violinists Paul Arnold, Jason DePue, and Juliette Kang; coursework on composition with Network for New Music professor and composer Tom Whiteman; health and wellness instruction from Project 440, including yoga for instrumentalists by Ariana Adelé; best practices for instrument playing and maintenance by Eastman Music and Menchey Music Service Inc.; sectionals with Catalyst Quartet and Curtis Institute; harp lessons with teachers and guest speakers from The Lyra Society; and WRTI Radio workshops with production staff and show hosts.  A virtual ensemble orchestra performance will culminate the program.

“We have said since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that the performing arts must go on,” said Gonzalez.  “This summer academy is a testament to the commitment of Mann CEO Catherine Cahill, our Board of Directors, and all of our program partners that despite the challenges of not being able to enjoy and play music together in person, we had to find a way to retain productive learning time this summer,” she said.  

To that end, another virtual music enrichment initiative has been offered by the Mann since March.  The Mann Music Room features new episodes released weekly that are produced for youngsters and showcase the talents of local artists.  The episodes connect audiences and performers, home to home, through music and dance activities, printable student activity guides, and a six-lesson global music curriculum for children in kindergarten through sixth grade.  Episodes have featured everything from making music with found sounds, to the global music of India, Trinidad, and Puerto Rico, to hip hop and drum line experiences.

About the Mann
As one of the foremost outdoor music centers in the country, the Mann, a leading non-profit organization, has a historical legacy of artistic excellence as a world-class entertainment destination presenting premier artists in association with Live Nation. Each summer season, renowned symphony orchestras, iconic rock stars and the latest touring artists in indie rock, hip hop, R&B and pop take the stage here. The Mann is the summer home of The Philadelphia Orchestra and has presented critically acclaimed performers in every decade since the 1930s. Located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, the Mann hosts more than 200,000 visitors annually. Signature concert experiences are surrounded by Philadelphia’s stunning skyline and include seats beneath the Mann’s acoustically acclaimed TD Pavilion at the Mann; picnics, blankets and music under the stars on its great lawn; and dining in Crescendo, the venue’s spectacular tented restaurant.  For more information, visit

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