Founded in 2011, Street Symphony has presented over 700 free, powerful musical events and workshops to Los Angeles communities disenfranchised by homelessness, poverty, and incarceration. Street Symphony presents regular events at Skid Row clinics and homeless shelters, permanent supportive housing agencies, and LA County Jails. Performance occurs on a monthly basis at 5 partner venues: The Midnight Mission, Downtown Women’s Center, The Weingart Center in Skid Row, PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) Community facilities, and education-based incarceration programs at 4 Los Angeles County Jail facilities. Street Symphony presents over 90 world-class events per year, reaching up to 10,000 people who would not have access to concert halls or public venues. The Street Symphony model of community engagement has been lauded as a new, radical model of how artistic institutions can authentically and equitably engage communities around them.
- 2015 was the first annual “Messiah Project”, a singalong performance of Handel’s oratorio at The Midnight Mission in Skid Row.
- 2016, the organization launched a Fellows program, providing 2 years of intensive musical instruction to formerly or currently homeless or formerly incarcerated artists to participate and convene Street Symphony programs. Eventually resulting in the hire of Benjamin Shirley, a former resident of The Midnight Mission, as the organization’s Composer in Residence and later becoming the first full-time Director of Community Engagement.
- 2019, Street Symphony presented its first annual “Block Party,” an open-air music festival presented in partnership with The Midnight Mission, which brought live music and meal services outside to over 2000 individuals.
- 2021, Street Symphony celebrates a decade of shared stories, shared experiences, and amazing relationships.
Over the years, Street Symphony programs have moved from ‘outreach’ to authentic, mutual engagement, creating spaces of cultural exchange and vitality with communities too-often relegated to the margins of society. Street Symphony programs are designed to create authentic connections, and a restorative lifeline, through the power of music.