News & Blog

2015 Young People’s Concert: “Music in Motion”

Since 1993, the Orlando Philharmonic has presented the Young People’s Concerts (YPCs) to hundreds of thousands of students in Central Florida. In the fall of 2015, we were able to reach more than 60,000 elementary school students from Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Volusia, and Lake counties, a record-breaking year made possible by generous supporters!

The YPCs have been a crucial part of music education in Central Florida since the Orlando Philharmonic began.  This program reaches beyond the concert hall, as each teacher receives a comprehensive guidebook and interactive materials prior to the concert season.  This curriculum meets state and national standards, allowing the Young People’s Concerts to be seamlessly integrated into classroom curriculum.

This year’s theme, “Music in Motion,” brought together composers from six continents, spanning the breadth of classical music with works by Khachaturian, Johann Strauss II, Copland, Bernstein, and more! In addition to hearing a full orchestra, students experienced ballet presented by the Orlando Ballet and a performance of an opera aria sung in the original German.  The concert was co-led by a narrator and the conductor, with visuals presented throughout showcasing cultures associated with the musical works presented.

For the majority of these students, this was their first time experiencing live, orchestrated music and can mark the beginning of a lifelong love of music.

The Philharmonic would not be able to reach so many students if it was not for the help of our partners. Thank you to Orange County School District, School District of Osceola, United Arts of Central Florida, the Chesley M. Magruder Foundation, Publix Supermarket Charities, and Bloomingdale’s at the Mall at Millennia, and donors like you!


Orlando Philharmonic Announces Resignation of Executive Director David Schillhammer

(Orlando, FL – Nov 18, 2015) Today, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Executive Director David Schillhammer, effective February 28, 2016. Schillhammer is the orchestra’s first and only Executive Director, a position he has held for 15 years.

“I leave the organization in good standing,” said Schillhammer. “Artistically, under the helm of new Music Director Eric Jacobsen and the talented, hardworking and selfless musicians; financially, with 22 consecutive years of balanced budgets, and a capital campaign that has raised nearly $4 million since 2013 to initiate renovations to The Plaza Live, our first permanent home in the community. Over these many seasons, we have expanded our donor and patron base to an all-time high, with over 5,000 subscriptions sold last year.”

“Now that all the pieces are in place, it’s time for me to exit stage right, pursue new opportunities, and welcome in fresh, new leadership to usher in the next chapter for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.”

Board President Michael Elsberry thanked Schillhammer for his dedication.

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The Interns’ Perspective: 5 Reasons To Be an Intern at the Orlando Philharmonic

The 2015 Summer Intern team: Drew DeVito (Rollins), Ruby Castellanos (Full Sail), Savannah Boles (Florida Southern), Anmy Figuereo (UCF), Sarah Overton (Stetson)

A student’s first internship should be filled with new experiences that help them become a more competent young professional. As an intern, of course, you want to make sure your internship provider is going to task you with relevant work and not just photocopying, but there are other qualities to look for in an internship as well. The Orlando Philharmonic  Orchestra had a countless number of qualities that led me to choosing them for my 2015 summer  internship.

Here are five qualities that might persuade you to do the same:

 1.  The schedule 

The first qualification I searched for was a flexible schedule. Sometimes you get a first internship that isn’t so structured, and it teaches you how to be the master of your own destiny. Other times you have a strict schedule at which you learn the importance of being able to follow directions properly.

This summer I didn’t get either of those. I got the perfect balance between the two: an internship that worked with my schedule and was based on meeting a set number of hours for the entire duration, rather than weekly.

2.  A Self- Made Goals List

Here at OPO (officially an unofficial term we aren’t supposed to use, but let’s go with it) we believe in planning ahead. That’s why at the start of your internship you and your supervisor will create a goals list. This list will consist of three goals/projects you want to achieve throughout your time at OPO. It’s not a task list by any means; you have all the say in this, so speak up. I suggest taking the liberty of trying new things.

Take me for example–I had three big goals:  handle social media, write press releases, and create ablog post. My advisor stayed true to my goals and together we accomplished all three.

3.    R.E.A.L. teamwork

You will have the support of your internship team, your supervisor and the rest of the staff as well.  Interns are invited to meetings and encouraged to share ideas. The nonprofit world is different than an industry or corporate setting; you really are needed to reach an overall goal.  Drew, our operations intern said it best:  “Each Philharmonic staff member not only treated me with respect, but also had the inclination to make me feel like a fellow employee.”

4.    Professional development courses

As part of this internship, you have the option of attending professional development courses offered by The Edyth Bush Institute at Rollins College. Usually these classes can be several hundred dollars, but for your benefit and education the orchestra will cover these. There are classes for a range of interests, from social media to fundraising.

5.  And if you love a little free music….

If a flexible schedule, being involved in tasks that match your interests, the support of the entire OPO staff, and paid-for courses at Rollins aren’t enough to get you interested, then the comp tickets just might.

If you’re not required to work an event (which is pretty awesome too) then you can definitely attend it. Just give the staff a heads ups, bring a friend, and enjoy the music.

Like Ruby, our education intern said, “My favorite part of the internship would be… all of it.”


Anmy Figuereo
Marketing and Communications Intern

Orlando Philharmonic Welcomes New Development Director

Maile Miller Director of DevelopmentDr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’ Maile Miller joins the orchestra as head of the development team

(June 25, 2015, Orlando, FL) – The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra announced today that Maile Miller, former Associate Director of Individual Philanthropy at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, will lead the orchestra’s fundraising team beginning in July.   

Miller’s 10-year fundraising track record includes raising six-and seven-figure gifts and managing a capital campaign portfolio of 200+ donors and prospects for the Center. She has closed more than $4.5 million in gifts since 2012. Prior to her time at Dr. Phillips Center, she worked on development teams at Orange County Regional History Center and Florida Hospital, one of the largest development operations in Central Florida.

“I am thrilled to join the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra at this incredible time of growth and expansion,” said Miller. “The opportunity to work closely with the board and staff, especially new music director Eric Jacobsen, to raise the funds necessary to complete the Plaza Live Project is exhilarating. Together we have a chance to elevate arts to a completely new level in Central Florida.”

Orlando Philharmonic Executive Director David Schillhammer said the choice was easy.

“Maile’s breadth and depth of knowledge of fundraising and of the Central Florida community will be invaluable to the orchestra as we move forward,” he said. “She fills a critical role, will be an important partner to the board, staff, Friends of the Philharmonic, and new music director Eric Jacobsen.  In addition to raising annual funds, I know she will help guide our Plaza Live capital campaign through to a successful conclusion.” 

Miller belongs to the Central Florida Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, where she served as a board member for four years.  A lover of the arts, she is a member of Council of 101, a volunteer fundraising association that supports the Orlando Museum of Art, and has sung with Bach Festival Society of Winter Park choir since 2009. Miller holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and a Master of Science in Management from the University of Florida.


Sonny’s Summer Character Camp gets a visit from the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra

This month, members of the  Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s  Education Department provided students of Sonny’s Summer Character Camp at Cheney Elementary School an introduction to the basics of music. The Philharmonic’s Director of Education, Dr. Leia Barrett, makes it her mission to engage the Orlando community through music and arts education. The education department of the Philharmonic hosts a range of interactive educational opportunities such as: supporting a variety of Youth Orchestras, organizing Young People’s Concerts, and hosting “Instrument Petting Zoos” that provide hands-on experience with musical instruments. This month, percussionist Mark Goldberg of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and members of the Development and Operations team, introduced students at Sonny’s Character Camp to the snare drum, clarinet, and violin.

To encourage community engagement and arts appreciation, Sonny’s arranged for campers to be visited by members of other community organizations such as the Orlando Magic and the Orlando Ballet. “Some of these kids would have never seen ballet otherwise,” said Dave Cain, Director of the camp’s marketing team. “It’s just so important for them to have these experiences.” Many of the campers taking part in the experience have seen the Philharmonic at other venues such as the Bob Carr Theater.

Sonny’s Summer Character Camp began 8 years ago in collaboration with the Boy Scouts of America. At the time the camp serviced the Parramore district with its value-driven mission to improve character and provide an exciting learning environment for Title I school students from kindergarten to 5th grade. This is the camp’s first year at Cheney Elementary, having been at Lowell Elementary for 7 years prior to that. The themes of the camp for this week are: “Caring,” “Self-Discipline,” “Citizenship,” “Being Trustworthy,” and “Positive Attitudes.” Montana Smith, Public Relations and Events Manager for Sonny’s BBQ, who  also serves as a camp counselor, stresses the importance of having this program in the community. “Each day [the kids] come and they’re excited for what they’re going to learn . It’s good for them to have positive role models to look up to.”

The Orlando Philharmonic provides instrument petting zoos and other education opportunities throughout the year in the Orlando community. If you would like to place a request for an educational event, please e-mail Director of Education Dr. Leia Barrett at

Sarah Overton, Orlando Philharmonic Development Intern

Our Maestro in Motion: Eric Jacobsen takes The Knights of NYC abroad

Our Maestro in Motion: Eric Jacobsen takes The Knights of NYC abroad

Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s new Music Director, Eric Jacobsen, is not one to neglect his New York roots. NY-based orchestral collective The Knights— of which Jacobsen is a founder and Artistic Director— is an ensemble that embodies many flavors of the Big Apple. Whether The Knights are performing in Carnegie Hall, in Central Park, or on public television, New York music lovers can rely on them to provide entertainment and fresh insight into the world of music.

In the upcoming months, The Knights will perform with household names such as Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, and provide musical improvisation to the spoken poetry of 20th century literary genius Pablo Neruda. The Knights just returned from a tour of Austria and Germany with their eclectic blend of contemporary works, original compositions from group members, and time-honored classics. In Germany, the musicians gave performances in Darmstadt’s Darmstadtium; performing a range of compositional styles that varied from Franz Joseph Haydn to John Adams. The Knights then traveled to Vienna, Austria to perform a concert in the city’s musical center – the historic Wiener Musikverein (the historic home of composer/conductors Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler). “The acoustics in that hall transformed the orchestra,” acclaimed Maestro Jacobsen, so impressed with the enhancement of sound that the architecture of the Musikverein provides. He elaborates further by saying that he would love to try to duplicate the sound in Orlando, and hopes to be closely involved with the development of “Stage 2” at the Plaza Live Theatre.

Maestro Jacobsen will return to the city beautiful next week, energized by The Knights’ European tour as he helps finalize the myriad of details that comprise the Orlando Philharmonic’s 2015-16 season. Such details include rehearsal schedules, production particulars, and casting for next season’s opera: Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The new Maestro is sure to bring the creative zeal of The Knights to the stage with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in its upcoming season.

Sarah Overton, Orlando Philharmonic Development Intern

Party at The Plaza 2015

June 22, 2015

The Plaza Live Theatre came alive last Saturday night with the sights and sounds of the Orlando Philharmonic’s 2nd annual Party at the Plaza. The event included eight live musical performances and eight food stations, and brought in more than 400 guests.

Entertainment for the night was headlined by the Orlando Transit Authority, performing the top hits of the iconic band Chicago, accompanied by members of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. The party continued off stage with music ranging from the salsa sounds of Latin Wave Band to the Hamrick jazz duo, with the talents of Duo Sole and many other artists performing for the crowd in the Plaza Live lobby.

During the event, the Plaza Live Theatre Lobby was transformed into a showcase for Orlando’s local charm. The party’s prize drawings featured local distilleries such as Winter Park Brewery. Tickets and passes to local theatres like the Enzian, Mad Cow, and Winter Park Playhouse were among the most coveted prizes, as were memberships to the Orlando Museum of Art, Mennello Museum of Art, and many more. Local donations accounted for roughly 86% of all prizes.

Throughout the evening, Orlando restaurants provided a spectrum of flavors for  partygoers’ palates. The spread included the city’s own Arthur’s Catering, Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar-B-Q, Cuisiniers, Downtown Credo, Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, and Wondermade. Houlihan’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman Marcus were among national brands to donate toward the event.

Though renovations were well underway in much of the building, the Plaza Live Theatre was full of music, dancing, food and fun for guests at the second annual Party at The Plaza. With the administrative offices and rehearsal hall renovations expected to be complete by 2016, the third annual event is sure to be an even bigger production.

Sarah Overton, Orlando Philharmonic Development Intern

Students at Shingle Creek & Azalea Park Elementary Experience “Notes In Your Neighborhood”

This spring, the Orlando Philharmonic brought its Notes in Your Neighborhood program to Shingle Creek Elementary and Azalea Park Elementary, thanks to support from the City of Orlando Mayor’s Matching Grant program. Over five sessions, 100 students learned about orchestral instruments and families through hands-on activities led by orchestra musicians, staff and volunteers. During the final Notes in Your Neighborhood session, students experience a performance by a 16-piece orchestra, featuring each instrument family. 

Notes in Your Neighborhood (NIYN) is presented to students in grades 3-5,  before they reach the age when many  choose an instrument and sign up for school orchestra programs. During NIYN, students learn about a new instrument family each week, and often develop affinities for certain instruments, which gives them a head start in these programs.

Notes in Your Neighborhood was established in 2010 and has reached hundreds of Title 1 students. For more information about Notes in Your Neighborhood, contact Orlando Philharmonic Education Director of Education, Dr. Leia Barrett, at