Dallas Symphony Orchestra Announces Jeanne R. Johnson Education Center

Produced in cooperation with the MIT Media Lab

New center at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center to provide hands-on music education using cutting-edge technology

Dallas, Texas (June 29, 2023) – The Dallas Symphony Orchestra today announced plans for the Jeanne R. Johnson Education Center located in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. The Johnson Education Center is scheduled to open in Fall 2024 and will serve students from first grade through high school.

The Dallas Symphony will design an approximately 3,500 square feet space in the Meyerson Symphony Center for the Jeanne R. Johnson Education Center to provide music education to students across North Texas. This innovative new center, produced in cooperation with the Opera of the Future group en el MIT Media Lab, will welcome thousands of children from first through twelfth grade for field trips each year. Students will engage in STEAM-based learning activities that focus on dynamic music education, utilizing cutting-edge technology. These learning programs include orchestra conducting using virtual reality, visual and dynamic AI components of sound waves, the science behind acoustics and more. The programming is geared toward specific age levels with on-site facilitators, the tickets to visit will be complimentary for students and families and will have complementary curriculum that will increase the students’ level of music appreciation.

“The Johnson Education Center represents a bold vision for the next era of music education in Dallas and delivers on our ongoing commitment to make meaningful impact on children across Dallas in music education,” said Cece Smith, Chair of the DSO Board of Governors.

“Currently, the DSO is limited by the fact that field trips are primarily offered during the two Youth Concert weeks. The Johnson Education Center will enable us to expand the number of students we serve by nearly 50,000 each year. It was also crucial that the center is located here at the Meyerson Symphony Center. We want the students be in a space of music cultivation and learning to truly express themselves,” stated Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony.

“The earlier students experience the joy of music, the better! Partnering with the DSO to create this Center continues to fulfill Jeanne’s lifelong passion of inspiring the next generation through music,” said Ken Holden, board member of the Jeanne R. Johnson Foundation.  “We are delighted to be involved in a remarkable endeavor that will foster music education and appreciation for students across Dallas and North Texas.”

The space will be outfitted to also offer interactive opportunities with live musicians alongside innovative technology, games and more, all designed to create an educational and entertaining experience.. Depending on the age-level and prior musical knowledge of each group, the Johnson Education Center will also be utilized to host master classes, workshops and hands-on experiences that are tailored to each class’ needs. The flexibility of the Johnson Education Center will ensure that students are more deeply engaged with music and the science/math behind it.

“We are thrilled to work with the DSO on the new Johnson Education Center,” says Tod Machover, Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media at the MIT Media Lab where he directs the Opera of the Future group. “Through the DSO’s gift to the Opera of the Future group at the MIT Media Lab, we have a wonderful opportunity to enhance music listening and understanding for everyone with the help of cutting edge technologies, while opening doors to the creative uses of AI and the potential of music to enhance physical and mental wellbeing.”

Additionally, the DSO will offer all attendees a continuum of DSO experiences to follow their visit—including access to the Student Card program that offers free rush tickets and opportunities to engage with the DSO’s instrument training programs. As part of each student’s experience in the Johnson Education Center, they will also be invited on a backstage tour of the Meyerson Symphony Center that includes rarely seen spaces such as the organ loft and reverberation chambers. Each space of the tour will connect back to what the child learned during their visit to the center.

“The Dallas Symphony recognizes the lasting impact that music education has on children and is committed to providing the in-depth engagement that the Center will offer to the thousands of children who will visit annually, including the more than 1,000 students in Southern Dallas who take part in the DSO’s free instrument training programs,” said Noltemy. “The Jeanne R. Johnson Education Center has the opportunity to elevate the Meyerson Symphony Center to more than a cultural landmark, but rather a space that the next generation of the Dallasites can call their own.”

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, under the leadership of Music Director Fabio Luisi, presents more than 150 orchestra concerts at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, one of the world’s top-rated concert halls. As the largest performing arts organization in the Southwest, the DSO is committed to inspiring the broadest possible audience with distinctive classical programs, inventive pops concerts and innovative multimedia presentations. As part of its commitment to the community, the orchestra reaches hundreds of thousands of adults and children annually through performances, educational programs and community outreach initiatives. The orchestra offers more than 200 outdoor chamber concerts in neighborhoods throughout Dallas each year, as well as continuing music lessons to more than 700 students as part of its Young Strings and Young Musicians programs.

The Dallas Symphony has used digital and broadcast media to share music beyond its geographic boundaries and has become a leader among American orchestras in digital distribution. The DSO also captures and streams concert performances for distribution online through its Next Stage Digital Concert Series, Presented by PNC Bank.

The DSO was founded in 1900 and is a cornerstone of the unique, 118-acre Arts District in Downtown Dallas that is home to multiple performing arts venues, museums and parks – the largest district of its kind in the nation. The DSO is supported, in part, by funds from the Office of Arts & Culture, City of Dallas.

Contacto con los medios de comunicación:

Denise McGovern | Vice President of Communications & Media
214.718.7094 | d.mcgovern@dalsym.com