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National Symphony Orchestra American Residencies

What is an American Residency?
In 1992, the National Symphony Orchestra of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts began a project unique throughout the world: The American Residencies. On behalf of the Orchestra, the nation's center for the performing arts accepts one invitation each year, making a state or a region the focus of a host of activities.

Because of the generous support of many organizations—principally the Kennedy Center and the United States Department of Education—all proceeds from any ticket sales resulting from these events remain within the state to support local arts organizations.

Since its inception in 1992, a hallmark of the project has been its responsiveness to the artistic and educational wishes of each state. Each state prepares a list of requests, ranging from in-school appearances to workshops for teachers to full orchestral concerts, and prioritizes them for the National Symphony Orchestra, with the Orchestra then fulfilling as many of those requests as logistics, scheduling and budgetary limitations allow

American Residency Goals

  • To share all elements of classical instrumental music throughout a given region
  • To explore the diversity of musical influences within the state
  • To give the region a musical voice in the nation's center for the performing arts and through training programs, career development opportunities and commission

Typical Residencies Activities

  • Full orchestral concerts
  • Chamber music performances
  • In-school assemblies
  • Lectures
  • Workshops for teachers
  • Workshops for students with disabilities
  • Pre-concert discussions
  • Concerts for students
  • Coaching sessions
  • Master classes
  • Music appreciation classes
  • Suzuki method workshops
  • Artistic exchanges (Past artistic exchanges have included meetings between an NSO violinist and an Athabascan fiddler and a school program shared by a string quartet and the Two Eagle River High School Salish-Kootenai drummers and dancers.)

In addition, organizations are welcome to submit new ideas for activities. For example: composition teachers in Maine and Kansas requested an NSO ensemble to perform his students' compositions, critiquing them from the point of view of professional instrumentalists, explaining what worked and didn't work in terms of instrumental writing.

To date, more than 2000 educational, performance, and outreach events have taken place in more than a dozen states as part of the American Residencies. Approximately 385,000 people across the nation have attended American Residency events.