Youthful Discovery Ensemble Disbands, Citing A Saturated Performing Arts Scene

Courtney Lewis leading the Discovery Ensemble. (Eric Antoniou)
Courtney Lewis leading the Discovery Ensemble. (Eric Antoniou)

The Discovery Ensemble — a young adult orchestra lead by 30 year-old Courtney Lewis — is disbanding. The passionate, Irish-born conductor founded the novel performance group in 2008. The orchestra was populated by top-notch 20 and 30something musicians who embraced Lewis’s mission, which was to expose Boston-area school children to old and new classical music in casual, fun, sometimes unexpected ways.

According to the announcement, the nonprofit’s board of directors of Discovery Ensemble voted to cancel the 2014-'15 season and shutter the operation. The reasons? An inability to expand the donor base and grow the board in “Boston’s saturated performing arts scene.”

It was a painful decision, the release also stated, adding, “This decision is in no way a reflection on the superb artistry and creativity of Music Director Courtney Lewis and the many brilliant musicians of the orchestra.  One of the considerations behind the decision to close at this point was to allow the talented and dedicated musicians to pursue other opportunities.”

Lewis added his thoughts. “I think the Board made a difficult but responsible decision to cease operations of Discovery Ensemble. I would like to thank the Board for their work. The members and musicians of Discovery Ensemble know what a special orchestra this is, and I will treasure the memory of our concerts together as being among the most exhilarating experiences of my life.  I am very proud of the work we have done over the last six years introducing many school children to the power of classical music. Thank you to our loyal audience and our many generous donors.”   Subscribers to the 2014/15 season can expect a full refund.

Lewis is also music director of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic.


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Andrea Shea Correspondent, Arts & Culture
Andrea Shea is a correspondent for WBUR's arts & culture reporter.



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