DC Strings Workshop Applauds DC Council for Passing Music In Our Schools Month Resolution 

CONTACT: Kat Fleischman (kat@femme-preneur.com

Washington, DC (March 10, 2023)–DC Strings Workshop (DCSW) is proud to recognize March as the thirty-eighth annual Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM) created by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). This March, music educators and music students will celebrate music education in their school communities demonstrating how the theme “Music Is All of Us” resonates with them.

“We thank the DC Council for recognizing the importance of music education in DC Schools and hope that they will continue to honor their commitment to ensure access to music and the arts for every DC school student,” said DCSW Board Member Donny Kirsch.

“We are proud that the DC Council agrees that music is a unique and unifying way to bring people together, create a sense of community, and cultivate relationships,” said DCSW Artistic/Executive Director, Andrew M. Lee. “Music is a transformative practice that impacts not only the practitioner, but the listener in ways that bring indescribable power and should be an essential element of every DC student’s education.

DCSW is proud to join with the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and support state-NAfME-affiliated music education associations who will participate in engagement activities through the month, including broadening support for strong music programs and funding. 

Read the full text of the “District of Columbia Music In Our Schools Month Recognition Resolution of 2023”, passed by the DC Council on March 7, 2023 introduced by Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen with additional support from At-Large Councilmember Robert White and Chairman Phil Mendelson. Additional cosponsors were Councilmembers Vincent C. Gray, Trayon White, Sr., Matthew Frumin, Kenyan R. McDuffie and Zachary Parker. 


About DC Strings Workshop

DC Strings Workshop (DC Strings) hosts a dynamic and versatile orchestra, “The Accord Symphony Orchestra” consisting of musicians committed to bringing music to all areas of the DMV, particularly underserved communities, among other ensembles. The organization has performed at corporate galas, community events, observances and numerous educational events at libraries, schools, and universities. With a mission to celebrate and recognize the contributions of musicians, conductors, composers, women, and people of color to music, particularly classical music. The orchestra and various ensembles have presented over 150 concerts since the organization’s founding in 2017. The orchestra made its Kennedy Center debut as part of THEREACH opening in September 2019. A community non-profit organization, DC Strings Workshop takes pride in presenting meaningful and challenging programs both musically and workshops for students. To learn more, please visit www.dcstrings.org.

DC Strings changing the community through musical representation, education and inspiration

Founded in 2017, DC Strings Workshop brings the love of classical and other music to all parts of the Washington, DC region and to people of all ages.

 Highlighting the beauty and diversity that exists in classical music, DC Strings Workshop realizes its mission to share and present music to communities that often are overlooked through a mix of performances, education, and dynamic masterclasses and workshops.

DC Strings Workshop is led by renowned musicians, educators, and artistic administrators and draws on a diverse group of talented musicians to bring the beauty of classical music to communities throughout the Washington, DC region. 

DC Strings engages diverse audiences, supplies instruments and music education to deserving students, and exposes students and adults alike to music by underrepresented women and people of color. 

Partnerships throughout the region include those with the Anacostia Business Improvement District, DC Department of Parks and Recreation, DC Public Schools, The Kennedy Center and WPFW 89.3 FM, among many others. 

As DC Strings Workshop continues to bring the love of classical and other music forms to diverse communities and individuals throughout the DC region, we need your philanthropic support to help us to continue this important work.

Through our programs:

  • DCSW serves and reaches +200 young people annually and provide lessons, instruments, and instruction to youth throughout the city with a focus on youth East of the River;
  • Has presented over +50 concerts of the orchestra and various ensembles in neighborhood churches, schools, community centers, and public libraries reaching over 10,000 people annually;
  • Uses the power of our voice to speak up and speak out about the lack of quality music education programs in DC Public Schools  As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, your donation is fully tax-deductible. Thank you for your support and being a part of our community. 

DC Strings instrumental in music education through virtual Learn 24 summer camp

DC Strings Workshop (DCSW) is committed to bringing music education, outreach, and supporting stronger music programs in public and charter schools, especially in underserved areas of the District. 

Each summer, with generous support from the Deputy Mayor of Education through Learn24,  DC Strings facilitates three unique virtual music camps for children ages 5 to 16 throughout Washington, DC. 

Reaching approximately 50 students in each session, the summer camp offers an intensive six-week program with a broad curriculum that gives each child the chance to try a variety of instruments—piano, strings, and percussion—to determine which best suits them. 

Pre-pandemic, DC Strings led music programming with DC Parks and Recreation serving more than 200 students through four weeks of instruction. 

The music camps bring children together from communities all over the DC area to bond over the love of music and forge friendships that can last a lifetime. To confront any existing trauma, students also participate in group therapy focused on addressing the impact of adverse events and building resilience. 

This program seeks to use music as a bridge to equip students with new tools to process and safely heal from these experiences. 

Recognizing that most schools in the DC Public School System have not prioritized or cannot afford to have a dedicated teacher on staff, DC Strings Workshop also reaches youth and others through masterclasses, private lessons, workshops, presentations, and performances. 

DCSW reaches young audiences through – master classes, private lessons, workshops, presentations, and performances. To-date DC Strings Workshop has donated over 20 instruments to students in need and paid for over $10,000 of private lessons. 

DC Strings orchestrating diversity through classical music

DC Strings is one of the most diverse classical music organizations in the District of Columbia. As artists of color, the choice to pursue education and careers in classical music is rare. 

Additionally, opportunities to thrive in the classical music genre are even fewer and far between. Research indicates that 88.41% of artists in American orchestras are white, compared with only 1.83% of African Americans, 2.42% of Latinos, and 7.34% of Asians. 

According to the study, “Making the Case for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Orchestras,” conducted by the League of American Orchestras,  “Orchestras have a long history of discrimination, and data on their recent past reveals no change in the representation of Black musicians in orchestras for 25 years, hovering at 1.8 percent,”

The lack of artists of color in classical music advances the false narrative that these communities are disinterested or unable to perform this ‘complex musical form’ at a high level. Not surprisingly, this allows orchestras and classical music to appropriate cultural art and music forms without providing a true appreciation for their origins in spiritual or indigenous folk music. 

DC Strings mission is to change this statistic through representation, education and inspiration. 

The DC Strings Concert Series and East of the River School Initiative breaks down this barrier by training a new generation of artists and other youth of color who, while musically inclined, do not have access to affordable and quality music education programs. 

By selecting a wide range of musicians from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, DC Strings provides participants an opportunity to perform alongside up-and-coming artists. This side-by-side experience builds confidence and allows students to further hone their skills and techniques in playing an instrument. 

Through education on the significant contributions and achievements of communities of color in classical music, participants learn about new genres of music and instruments they might not access otherwise. 

DC Strings is proud to have engaged women conductors, as so often women have been left out of orchestra leadership, along with opportunities to perform and lead ensembles as conductors and solo artists. 

Leveraging diverse music instructors, teaching artists and instruments provides students with an expanded view of classical music and opportunities to learn and connect with musicians who better relate to and understand the communities in which participants live. 

Music is a universal feature of the human experience. The act of making music is an expression of our humanity, which is located more in our commonalities than our differences, according to ALO. 

“ Increasing the diversity of conductors and artists on stage brings a richness of perspectives, broader repertoire choices, and new ways to program, all of which will inspire a broader audience base and increase our relevance to communities.”

Healing Notes: DC Strings provides comfort during the pandemic

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and civil and social unrest, DC Strings served as a force for calm and support, operating from the belief that music is a unifying and positive outlet for the entire community. 

During this critical time, the musicians of DC Strings tuned and polished their instruments and continued to play in uncertain times.  

 The organization hosted more than seven concerts in-person and outdoors, as well as virtual performances, to help communities cope with stress, isolation, and anxiety. 

Additionally, DC Strings safely trained more than 150 youth through private lessons, masterclasses, and group therapy. 

DC Strings convened critical conversations with musicians, artists, educators, and social activists to discuss the future of music education, the orchestra as an institution, and how to create more inclusive environments.

For many of the musicians, it was also a healing source. 

“After almost 30 years of playing, I’m as grateful as ever for the gift of music!,” said violinist Mijin Paik. “During the pandemic, in particular, being able to play music safely was a real saving grace for me and my sanity.”

Founded in 2017, DC Strings Workshop brings the love of classical and other music to all parts of the Washington, DC region and to people of all ages. Highlighting the beauty and diversity that exists in classical music, DC Strings Workshop realizes its mission to share and present music to communities that often are overlooked through a mix of performances, education and dynamic masterclasses and workshops.

DC Strings Workshop Named ‘One of the Best’ Nonprofits by the Catalogue for Philanthropy

As it Celebrates its 18th Anniversary Working in the Greater Washington Region,

the Catalogue for Philanthropy is Proud to Honor DC Strings Workshop

WASHINGTON, D.C.—5.28.2021—After an intentional application and selection process, the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington has selected DC Strings Workshop to be part of the Class of 2021-22. DC Strings Workshop has undergone a rigorous review process conducted by a team of 170+ local community advocates, and has been found to be a critical local nonprofit. Potential donors can be confident that the nonprofits in the Catalogue are worthy of their support.  DC String’s Workshop’s mission is to bring music to all parts of the region!

This year, the Catalogue’s volunteer review team helped select 87 nonprofits to feature in the print edition, almost half of which are new to the Catalogue this year. Over 70% of the organizations are women-led, and over 40% are BIPOC-led. The network now includes 400+ vetted nonprofits working in the arts, education, environment, and human services sectors throughout Greater Washington.

“People want to get involved in their community—they want to make a difference, close to home. Based on our rigorous review process, we believe that DC Strings’ is a critical local nonprofit in our region,” says Matt Gayer, Co-Executive Director of the Catalogue for Philanthropy.

“We are thrilled to receive this importance distinction from The Catalogue and know that this confidence will continue to allow our organization to sustain our programs and ability to reach more students, present more concerts and continue to engage our community, said Andrew Lee, Artistic Executive Director of DC Strings Workshop.”

The Catalogue believes in the power of small nonprofits to spark big change. And they believe in DC Strings Workshop to continue to further that positive change, working each day to lift up, strengthen, and enrich our local community. 




For the nonprofit:

DC Strings Workshop MEDIA, c/o Andrew Lee


For the Catalogue for Philanthropy:

Matt Gayer

5th Annual Concerto Audition Winners Announced

Violinist Sumin Lee and Pianist Anne Valerie Ter  Concerto Winners of DC Strings Workshop’s 5th Annual Concerto Audition

Violinist Sumin Lee and Pianist Anne Valerie Ter
Concerto Winners of DC Strings Workshop’s 5th Annual Concerto Audition

The Jury of the 5th Annual Concerto Audition, has been presented annually since 2017 and was led this year by DC Strings Orchestra Music Director & Conductor Dr. Juan Gallastegui. The committee has deliberated and made several announcements regarding this year’s concerto audition.

This year’s Concerto Audition winners are violinist Sumin Lee and pianist Anne Valerie Ter. They will receive a scholarship prize and perform with the orchestra as part of the orchestra’s 6th Season beginning in September 2021.

Honorable mentions go to cellist Amelia Baisden and violinist Zoe Yang who will perform with the orchestra later in the 6th season.

Congratulations to all the winners and concerto audition participants!

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Mayor Bowser Awards $2.9 Million in Grants to Community Organizations Providing Summer Programming for District Youth


March 18, 2021

Funds Will Help 2,200 District Youth Access Summer Programming

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser awarded $2.92 million to 38 community-based organizations that will support more than 2,200 District youth with access to quality summer programming. The funding will be awarded from the Office of Out of School Time Grants and Youth Outcomes (OST Office). The grant funding will support summer programming in areas including academics, arts, athletics, dance, cooking, financial literacy, mentoring, music, social emotional support, STEM, and much more. Organizations will follow all safety and health protocols set by health officials and provide in-person programming at DC Public Schools and public charter school sites as well as at other locations throughout Washington, DC. 

“After a challenging year, it’s more important than ever that this summer we offer our youth a chance to learn new skills, explore opportunities, and have fun with their peers in safe and healthy environments,” said Mayor Bowser. “These community-based organizations have strong partnerships with our families and youth and build on the critical work being done during the school year. With their partnership, we will continue to provide young Washingtonians with access to programs that not only get them ready for their future academic endeavors, but also equip them for life beyond the classroom.”  

Since October 2017, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME) and the OST Office have worked to improve the quality of out-of-school time (OST) programs by administering workshops that improve the skills of youth development professionals, supporting capacity building within organizations, and working to enhance program and implementation to youth serving organizations in the District. The OST Office leads the Learn24 network, which consists of OST programs, government agencies, the Commission on Out of School Time Grants and Youth Outcomes, the Institute for Youth Development, and other key stakeholders that are committed to ensuring all District youth have access to a quality OST program. 

 The following organizations will receive funding during Summer 2021: 

  1. Amala Lives

  2. Arts for Our Children, Inc

  3. Beta Omega Social Services Inc

  4. Capital City Public Charter School

  5. Children’s Defense Fund

  6. City Gate Inc*

  7. Dance Institute of Washington (The)

  8. Dance Makers, Inc

  9. DC Strings Workshop

  10. Do The Write Thing Foundation of DC

  11. EnventU

  12. Exodus Treatment Center

  13. Faith for the City, Inc*

  14. For Love of Children


  16. Friendship Public Charter School

  17. George Washington University*

  18. Healthy Living Inc

  19. Horizons Greater Washington

  20. Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute

  21. International Association of Human Values*

  22. Life Pieces To Masterpieces*

  23. Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region*

  24. Mentors of Minorities in Education, Inc

  25. Multicultural Career Intern Program

  26. National Center for Children and Families

  27. Neighborhood Associates Corporation*

  28. One Common Unity

  29. Progressive Life Center*

  30. Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation*

  31. Swaliga Foundation

  32. Tech Turn Up

  33. Thurgood Marshall Academy

  34. Tumaini DC, Inc *

  35. Tutoring Cafe

  36. Two Rivers Public Charter School

  37. Words Beats and Life, Inc

  38. Young Men’s Christian Association of Metropolitan Washington

*new grantee 

DC residents can support afterschool and summer programs this tax season by making a Contribution to Taxpayer Support for Afterschool Programs for At-Risk Students on their individual income tax form under the contributions section on Schedule U part II, line 2. These funds will support grants to help bring safe and meaningful opportunities to District youth beyond the normal school day. 


District residents can locate OST programs and resources for youth and youth-serving organizations throughout the District at Learn24.dc.gov




Social Media: 

Mayor Bowser Twitter: @MayorBowser 

Mayor Bowser Instagram: @Mayor_Bowser 

Mayor Bowser Facebook: facebook.com/MayorMurielBowser 

Mayor Bowser Website: mayor.dc.gov 

Mayor Bowser YouTube: https://www.bit.ly/eomvideos  

(WTOP): DC Strings Workshop honors Black History Month, COVID-19 victims


By: Jason Fraley | @JFrayWTOP

It was founded five years ago as a nonprofit to highlight diversity in classical music.

On Saturday, D.C. Strings Workshop marks Black History Month in a virtual concert.

“The theme of the concert is Black History Month and also commemorating the loss [from COVID-19],” Founder and Artistic Director Andrew Lee told WTOP. “February is a month of love for a lot of people, but this has been a really challenging year.”

That includes Black Lives Matter protests last summer to the U.S. Capitol riot.

“It’s a real reckoning,” Lee said. “We’re seeing it everywhere, from corporate America to artistic institutions. We have to decide what kind of country we’re going to be. Are we a country where privilege and race is going to continue to divide us? … Or are we going to create new pathways of opportunities? Are we going to reckon with our past?”

Saturday’s show will feature “Across the Calm Waters” by Ahmed Alabaca.

“It’s a very cerebral piece to commemorate people who have passed,” Lee said. “COVID-19 has ravaged our lives. We see it in our programs with the number of kids talking about losing a loved one. There is a very palatable sense of the trauma we’re all collectively experiencing. This piece perfectly encapsulates that but with hope.”

The program also features “Adoration” by Black composer Florence Price.

“She came up in the 1930s and ’40s,” Lee said. “For many African Americans at the time, it was very hard having their work performed by white orchestras for white audiences, but she’s heralded as driving the conversation and interweaving various melodies that everyone has now come to appreciate.”

Music Director Dr. Juan Gallastegui leads a group of talented location musicians.

“A lot of our musicians are retired Army or Air Force band folks,” Lee said. “We have a number of educators in public, charter and private schools. Then we have some amateurs who love music, maybe they were music majors in college and they have other careers now, but they still perform music at a high level.”

What started in churches and schools on Capitol Hill soon expanded to Anacostia.

“Since COVID, we’ve had a lot of virtual programming,” Lee said. “We’ve found a way to practice, rehearse and perform outside safely. We’ve had a number of concerts outside in amphitheaters, on the water in Alexandria with a mix of music, whether it’s classical, jazz, even go-go concerts. We believe in an eclectic palette of music.”

It’s all part of a “mighty mission” to diversify music opportunities in the nation’s capital.

“We’re an orchestra of musicians that believes in bringing music to all parts of our city, particularly underserved areas through our various ensemble, orchestra and music education programs,” Lee said. “Many kids in D.C. do not have the opportunity to study an instrument or they’re not able to afford private lessons or the cost of an instrument, so we really stand in the gap for those kids.”

Free tickets are available, but the suggested donation price is $20.

Learn more about the concert on the D.C. Strings website.

WTOP Interview

DC Strings Orchestra Announces Fall Concert at Leonadus K. Plenty Amphitheater in Alexandria, VA

Features Small Ensembles and Soloists from the Orchestra

Washington, DC, (October 19, 2020)— DC Strings Orchestra a program of DC Strings Workshop hosts a concert Saturday, October 24th. The program features both popular and lesser known classical works, including Ravel’s beloved Pavane and Mozart’s Musical Joke featuring. Music Director & Conductor Dr. Juan A. Gallastegui leads an afternoon of light music in the enchanted Lee District Park. 

The program will be 75 minutes in length and will not have an intermission. Total ticket sales will be limited for the performance and audiences will be seated in a socially distanced setup. Households will be allowed to sit together, and must adhere to Amphitheater event attendance guidelines, including the following: 

  • Facial coverings are required to be worn by all patrons in order to enter the venue and are required to be worn while moving throughout the venue in a socially distanced manner.   

  • Physical distancing of at least six feet is required between disassociated groups from the time of arrival until departure. 

  • If you are feeling sick or unwell, do not attend the concert. 

  • Ticket purchase information may be used for contact tracing in the event it is needed for your safety. 

  • Performance details and guidelines may be subject to change.  

  • For guidance on masks and facial coverings per Virginia state guidelines, please click here.

This outdoor performance is the 2nd concert in DC Strings Orchestra 5th Season. The season opened with a September 2020 in Southwest DC. This concert could likely be the final installment of in-person concerts until next year for the full orchestra. 


What: A Charming Afternoon Outdoors – Mozart’s Musical Joke

Where: Leonadus K. Plenty Amphitheater at Lee District Park – 6601 Telegraph Road, Alexandria, VA 22310


Doors: 3:00 p.m.

Show: 3:30 p.m.

Tickets: On Sale Now!


DC Strings Workshop (DC Strings) hosts a dynamic and versatile orchestra, “DC Strings” consisting of musicians committed to bringing music to all areas of the DMV, particularly underserved communities. With a mission to celebrate and recognize the contributions of musicians, conductors, composers, women and people of color to the genre of classical music, the orchestra and various ensembles have presented over 50 concerts since the organization’s founding in 2016. Partnerships include collaborations with area music schools and other civic organizations to attract thousands of patrons in every quadrant of the city.

The orchestra made it’s debut at The Kennedy Center as part of the opening of THE REACH in September 2019, under the baton of Maesta Jeri Lynn Johnson. This past year DC Strings celebrated an annual tradition of presenting +7 of Handel’s beloved Messiah program throughout the city. Performances included in Anacostia, Capitol Hill, Tenleytown and numerous other civic venues in the region.

A DC based community non-profit organization, DC Strings takes pride in presenting meaningful and challenging orchestra works that rival the programming of large, fully professional orchestras. DC Strings Workshop offers a number of programs for youth, providing instruments, lessons and masterclasses for young people who want to learn how to master an instrument. 

In 2020, DC Strings Orchestra announced the appointment of its new Music Director & Conductor, Dr. Juan A. Gallastegui. Our members have performed at official National Park Service events, museums, churches, schools and corporate/civic events. Visit www.dcstrings.org for more information or send us an email: info@dcstrings.org 

www.dcstrings.org – promotional images available upon request