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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Symphony Orchestras

Mission: The mission of the Philharmonic Association is to provide an opportunity for young musicians to learn, understand, and perform great symphonic and jazz music, to provide professional training to promote the students' participation in and lifelong understanding and love of great symphonic and jazz music, and to increase family awareness and community interest in order to ensure continuing appreciation of, participation in, and financial support of these musical activities.

Results: We have served over 1900 young musicians, played over 500 of the world's greatest music compositions including 12 World Premiers.

Target demographics: Young musicians in the 4th through 12th grades who play orchestral instruments. High-school jazz instrumentalists.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 350 youth musicians

Geographic areas served: Triangle area of North Carolina

Programs: Triangle Youth Philharmonic Triangle Youth Symphony Triangle Youth Orchestra Triangle Youth String Orchestras Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

Community Stories

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first discovered the Philharmonic Association when I was searching for a musical enrichment experience above and beyond school band for my young oboist. We were thrilled with the experience she enjoyed in Triangle Symphony. That was 9 years ago. Since then, my other two have loved their experiences in TYO, TYS and now TYP. As a parent, it's been thrilling to see how much the musicians grow throughout the season under the expert guidance of the Philharmonic Association staff.

The musicans can participate in string orchestras, full symphony orchestras, smaller chamber groups, and jazz ensembles. The level of performance is really outstanding. I love watching all the groups perform - the programming of the artistic staff keeps my kids interested and challenged and wanting to return for more year after year.

It's been rewarding to volunteer and to serve on the board of this wonderful nonprofit





Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first became aware of the Philharmonic Association when I was searching for a beyond band experience for my young musician. We joined the PA 5 years ago, and I was very impressed with the experience my child was getting in the Triangle Youth Symphony. She moved up to the Triangle Youth Philharmonic as her abilities increased. My two younger children now play in the Triangle Youth Orchestra. I was very impressed with the organization, and since have held many various volunteer positions and now volunteer on the Board of Directors.

The experiences my children, and all our young musicians are getting through the mission of the Philharmonic Association are outstanding. They are exposed to great classical music, they have the challenge of learning their individual parts, they learn how to play as part of an ensemble, and they learn responsibility to be prepared for rehearsals, and to cooperate as part of a large group.

I am always amazed at how wonderful the children sound at their concerts. Sitting in the audience, watching my young performers on the big stage at Meymandi Concert Hall is a real thrill for me, and always sends shivers down my spine. The enjoyment my children get, the lessons they are learning, and the exposure to great works of classical music are invaluable.


Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of serving on the board of the Philharmonic Association (PA) for a number of years. The PA is an incredible organization that serves approximately 500 students who play musical instruments in eight orchestras and jazz ensembles as well as in a number of smaller ensembles. The organization fills a need that is often left unmet by the students' schools and provides professional instruction at the highest level. "The mission of the Philharmonic Association is to provide an opportunity for young musicians to learn, understand, and perform great symphonic and jazz music, to provide professional training to promote the students’ participation in and lifelong understanding and love of great symphonic and jazz music, and to increase family awareness and community interest to ensure continuing appreciation of, participation in, and financial support of these musical activities". The PA offers financial assistance to those who cannot afford to pay the participation fee and serves a very culturally and economically diverse student population.The PA operates on a shoestring budget with a limited staff, careful budgeting and planning and depends on donations and grants for funding in addition to concert revenue and participation fees. I know of no other organization that uses its resources more wisely and produces such a wonderful "product."

Board Member

Rating: 5

My relationship with this outstanding organization goes back almost to it's beginning even 'tho I've never had a child involved. The magnitude of the benefits to our youth who are involved with the PA cannot be summarized in a brief paragraph but know that these kids are learning so much about life, music, social interaction among many cultures, as well as personal discipline and growth and that is creating a solid foundation as they go "out into the world". With so many of the arts being cut from public school funding, it is vital that our youth have outlets for their time, talents and creativity and the PA provides exactly that for hundreds and hundreds of students. Their experiences will last a lifetime as well as careers for those who choose a music-related path.
Kay Struffolino

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Philharmonic Association provides a phenomenal opportunity for young musicians to experience, learn and grow in the world of music. It provides professional leadership and conductors as well as personal coaching to help the kids become more comfortable with their talent and abilities while growing as musicians. The PA also provides opportunities for these musicians to experience small ensemble and large orchestra performing and, when the time comes, access to scholarships as many of them continue their music studies in college or in careers in music as performers or teachers. The PA serves over 400 of our youth each year and along with all things musical, also teaches them in many other behavioral and social areas helping to create a well-rounded student. I've watched the Artistic Director and the Executive Director work tirelessly with these young people to encourage them to be the best they can be and grow this organization as much as possible. While our schools are needing to drop so many programs in the arts.......it is filling a huge need while providing a fabulous cultural resource to the community.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I recently joined the Board of Trustees of the Philharmonic Association after volunteering in various capacities during my son's participation in three of the Association's progressive orchestras during his development as a cellist.

The PA is the primary vehicle through which developing musicians in the Research Triangle area experience orchestral training at a high level, comparable to that of youth orchestras in larger metropolitan areas of the country. The Association is exceedingly well run by Hugh and Margaret Partridge. No young person who meets the audition standards is turned away for inability to pay the tuition (which is modest for all). Standards are high, as appropriate to the skill level of the orchestra, for every sponsored group. A number of the alumni of the PA have gone on to conservatory training, and are now playing professionally in major orchestras.

It is fitting that an area as culturally and educationally rich as the Research Triangle should have an association of youth orchestras of the caliber of the PA. Having served on nearly two dozen nonprofit boards (and having acted as legal counsel to many of them), including the board of the North Carolina Symphony, I can say without reservation that I am privileged to serve the PA as a board member.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Philharmonic Association is a true gift to the young musicians in our community. It offers so many different groups to participate in with fantastic, caring conductors. It truly raises the bar for musicianship for the participating musicians, and inspires and encourages them to do and be so much more than merely participating in a school music program. As the parent of several musicians, I know that most kids want to be able to perform, and the Philharmonic gives this opportunity to all its musicians.

Board Member

Rating: 5

When I was in high school, the opportunity to be a member of an excellent youth orchestra came my way, and the experience has stayed with me all my life. So I happily accepted a Board nomination with the Philharmonic Association 3 years ago. The PA does so much MORE for young musicians than the organization I was a part of back in high school. They always seek to expand programs or create new ones to fill needs - needs which are many because our local school system cannot provide this kind of orchestral experience for young musicians. Currently, the PA sponsors 4 levels of orchestras and a jazz ensemble. I attended the top group's spring concert a few weeks ago and was amazed at the quality - if I closed my eyes I thought I was listening to a professional orchestra. And yet, the mission of the PA is not at all to exclusively train future professional musicians. The PA is more about creating the next audience for classical music, the next Board members, the next donors - in general, the next generation of those who appreciate classical music

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I had been aware of the work the Philharmonic Association (PA) for years because of my own membership during my high school years in a youth orchestra. Only in the last few years, when I joined their Board of Directors, did I really come to understand the need this organization fills. Today schools are pushed to emphasize academic subject more and more. So often the arts are either minimized by only being offered as extracurricular activities or not offered at all. In our area, this is especially true for school orchestras. String programs have suffered cuts, and many school don't offer an orchestra experience at all.

The PA fills this void with not one, but four youth orchestras, geared to student ability, where young musicians learn and perform great orchestral works of the past and present. In addition, they sponsor a jazz ensemble that similarly allows exploration of the big band repertoire.

A unique aspect of the PA that is especially important to me is their emphasis on education. Many youth orchestras operate as pre-professional orchestras, with a primary mission of preparing their members for orchestral careers. The PA takes a broader view. Yes, a percentage of PA members do go on to become college music majors with plans for careers in music. But equally, if not more, important is their mission to create a lifelong love of and participation in music by the students. The PA creates career musicians, but also future parents who will foster a love of music in their children, future audience members, future community arts volunteers, future Board members, and future donors.

I'm very proud to be associated with them.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My family has been with Philharmonic Association for the past seven years. Our teenage daughter recently remarked to us "Thank you for making me stick with violin all these years; it now defines who I am and I am glad to be a musician." Clearly, the PA played a great part in helping her grow, by challenging her and giving her an opportunity to be part of something big. What used to be a reason to get together with other children is now an opportunity to play great classical music and to feel good about her abilities. The musical skills that she has acquired with PA, and the ability to collaborate in making music, will stay with her for the rest of her life -- a true gift for any child.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Philharmonic Association for 7 years, with my daughter auditioning and joining as soon as we moved to the Raleigh area. As a parent, the Philharmonic Association has provided two of my children with musical education, guidance, and a wonderful peer group that helped them grow through those very tumultuous teen years. Being involved with the PA helped to keep them focused on music, provided weekly activity, introduced them to like-minded friends, exposed them to full orchestral music they otherwise would never have had the opportunity to play, and gave them an appreciation for working hard, teamwork, and classical music in general.

As a very involved volunteer and now board member, I appreciate seeing first-hand the difference the PA makes in young people's lives and in this community. Especially with the decrease in music education being offered in our public schools, the PA offers playing opportunities and performance opportunities this community would not have otherwise. Being involved for so many years now, I have literally seen children grow up from awkward young musicians terrified at their first performance to confident young men and women who astound the audience with their abilities. I sincerely cannot imagine this community without this organization.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My move to North Carolina from California came along with a professional change from the public to the private sector. I've seen, first hand, the challenges to Arts Education during tough economic times while watching California schools respond to the economic fallout of the dot.com crash at the turn of the century.

Here in North Carolina I became a supporter of the Philharmonic Association because of it's history supporting and strengthening the quality of arts education here in the Triangle. In addition to creating appreciation for the Arts, Music and The Arts education fosters a culture of creativity and innovation that will help the US compete more effectively in the competitive global economy.

Two of the current focus areas of the PA are 1) to respond to recent budget cuts to Strings programs in the Wake County Schools, and 2) to identify permanent performing and rehearsal space for the youth orchestras.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My daughter, who is now graduating from a competitive program with a major in violin & viola performance, was a member of the Triangle Youth Philharmonic throughout high school, having previously participated in two other youth orchestras both here and in our previous state. All three were good learning experiences, but that offered by the Philharmonic Association is at a whole different level.

The Philharmonic Association provided an important compliment to her high school experience, and one from which she learned in multiple ways. It provided an opportunity to play more demanding music with a more accomplished and committed set of peers, served as a vital continuity element when her high school program experience a leadership change, gave her the opportunity to perform in a professional setting, built her confidence, reinforced her dedication, and helped open doors to related opportunities and experiences. She was already a committed musician, but her particiapation in this organization helped prepare her to be successful at the next level.

It was very heartening to see numerous other students -- with a range of strengths, challenges, and ambitions -- benefitting in similar ways. The professional music staff is clearly committed to preparing and presenting strong performances, but it seems to me that the top priorities are always the education and development of the individual student members. This is a value proposition that I admire and support.

Years of involvement with successful YMCA programs, the Boy Scouts, and Junior Achievement provide a benchmark for me. I have not had a child in the Philharmonic Association for a few years, but I am so convinced of the value this organization provides both its student members and the community that I now make the PA my main community committment. I feel my time and efforts here are productive for young people who want to play good music, whether they want to be professionals or not, whether they are affluent or poor. I believe things such as the joy of music, being responsible to yourself and to others, a work ethic, and continuing achievement help hundreds of children move toward being the kinds of adults who are vital to our community. That's what I see with the PA.