Inspiring Young People in Creative Learning Activities

Inspiring Young People in Creative Learning Activities

Fairfax Symphony named a Dominion ArtStar

Students in Fairfax Symphony Orchestra “Link Up” 2019 music program.

Students in Fairfax Symphony Orchestra “Link Up” 2019 music program. Photo courtesy of Fairfax Symphony Orchestra


Fairfax Symphony Orchestra Bassist Aaron Clay.

With more than five decades as an honored symphony, Fairfax Symphony Orchestra (FSO) adds 2021 Dominion Energy ArtStar to its accolades. FSO received the ArtStar award for its innovative music-learning program, “Link Up,” in partnership with Carnegie Hall. The award was received at the Virginia Commission for the Arts ”Art Works for VA” virtual conference.

FSO was one of five organizations from Virginia that received the ArtStars award for inspiring people in creative endeavors. The organizations represent Virginia organizations with annual operating budgets under $1 million. Each received a $10,000 grant to support their winning arts or cultural education program.

“These organizations show ways the creative spirit continues to thrive – whether through outdoor, virtual or digital programming,” said Hunter A. Applewhite, president of the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. “Virginia is very fortunate to have these talented organizations.”

“The Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) congratulates all the ArtStars Award recipients, including the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra,” said Janet Starke, Executive Director, VCA. “This award affirms the good work being done by the FSO, and their peers from across the state.”

Developed by the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall, FSO’s “Link Up” program provides a unique opportunity for students in Grades 3-5 to come together for a shared cultural experience.

“We are thrilled and honored to be a Dominion ArtStar in recognition of our work to serve teachers and students by implementing our much-needed “Link Up” education program virtually this year,” said Jonathan Kerr, Executive Director, FSO. “Our commitment to our community is stronger than ever, only strengthened by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. By sharing our concerts and education programs virtually, we are filling a critical need for quality arts programs to entertain, educate, inspire, sustain, and unite the communities we serve. This prestigious award furthers our work to provide unique, innovative, and uplifting arts experiences for thousands in Fairfax County and across our region.”

For Aaron Clay, "as a bassist, who performs both classical music and jazz, I'm particularly excited to be part of the FSO “Link Up” program. It's wonderful to see students exploring what happens when jazz and classical music come together. Studying composers including Florence Price, Duke Ellington, Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, and Courtney Bryan, students are learning concepts of rhythm, form, improvisation, and communication and how they contribute to that magical moment in the orchestra when jazz and classical music comes together to really "swing!"

Where and When

To learn more about the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra partnership with the Carnegie Hall “Link Up” program and other Fairfax Symphony education programs, visit Additional support for the Fairfax Symphony “Link Up” program provided by ArtsFairfax, The Rea Charitable Trust, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.