Spreading the joy of symphonic music to young audiences around the world
The Symphonina Foundation is a non-profit created in 2020 by
Dr. David Fogel and Gary Gray.
David and Gary are lifelong musicians who want to ensure that symphonic music is appreciated by younger audiences, and that our great composers around the world have the opportunity to create great new symphonic music, now and forever. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in San Diego, California.
Dr. David Fogel
Dr. Fogel is an award-winning composer with a lifelong love of symphony music. Based in San Diego, California, Dr. Fogel has performed professionally since 1994. In 2018, he created a new genre of music -- the symphonina -- as a means for introducing symphonic music to young audiences internationally. Dr. Fogel has received Telly and Davey awards for his compositions, including the soundtrack to Path of Totality: Eclipse 2017, which played in 40 planetariums around the world. Dr. Fogel is a member of BMI, inc. In addition, he is an award-winning scientist and artificial intelligence pioneer, holding a Ph.D. from UC San Diego and was named in 2009 as one of the top-100 most-influential alumni in the then 50-year history of the university.
Gary Gray is a Voting Member of the Grammy® Recording Academy and an award-winning composer, producer, and engineer. He has produced multiple projects for 20th Century Fox, Disney, Hollywood Records, A&E, EMI, CBS, and many others. Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, Gary was a prodigy drummer and was raised on symphonic classical music, R&B, Rock & Roll, and Big Band jazz. He started teaching music at the age of 16 and studied music at Northwestern University, Baldwin-Wallace College, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Cleveland State University. He continues today actively working in the industry as a sought-after musician, arranger, producer and engineer; as well as a mentor for composers, songwriters, musicians, producers, vocalists, and engineers.
Board of Advisors
Globe-trotting flutist and composer Wouter Kellerman received a 2014 GRAMMY® Award for his album Winds of Samsara. Winds Of Samsara reached #1 on the US Billboard Chart. He followed that up with another GRAMMY® Award in 2023 for Bayethe in the category of Best Global Music Performance
James McElwaine has been a featured performer, writer, arranger, synthesist, orchestrator, conductor, composer, and producer in New York and Los Angeles in a career spanning more than 40 years.
Wilhelm von Dungen
Wilhelm von Dungen is a composer for media and concert hall performances. He began his musical career as a professional accordionist and played in various organizations.
What is a Symphonina?
In 2018, U.S. composer Dr. David Fogel created a new genre of classical music – the Symphonina – after noticing that he was often among the youngest members of the symphony-going public, despite being in his 50s. His goal was to create a format for symphonic music of all styles that will be compelling for young people to both stream online and listen to in a live performance.
Symphoninas, in essence, tie the past to the future, completing a fascinating cycle of musical history. Early classical symphonies evolved from the three-movement Italian overture (or sinfonia) which had a basic fast-slow-fast layout. The last movement was often in 3/8 time. In the 1760s and 1770s, in Mozart’s and Haydn’s time, an extra movement was added in between the second and last movements, which was usually a minuet. The last movement of the symphony no longer had to be in 3/8 time.
The overall length of a typical symphony in the 1760s was usually between 10 and 20 minutes. After the 1760s, as the years went by, symphonies gradually got longer. By the late romantic era, with composers such as Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, symphonies were between 35 and 50 minutes in length. Some, such as those by Mahler and Bruckner, often went for an hour or more.
With an understanding that most music is now streamed online and that younger audiences are accustomed to shorter pop/rock tunes, David set out to create a format – the Symphonina – that revisits the magical time-period of the classical 1760s, while being open to all romantic and modern styles, bringing a full symphonic performance to audiences young and old in about 10 minutes or less.
“Kids, young adults, all of us really, enjoy symphony music, but younger people don’t get to hear much of it outside of the movies. Most people now listen to music on their phone, and I understand the average length of a tune that is streamed online is now about 3 minutes,” David relates. “It seems that our attention spans keep getting shorter in a world full of distractions. Rather than fight that trend and try to entice younger audiences to stream the traditional – albeit wonderful – symphonies that last 45 minutes or more, my goal was to create something new – a full symphonic experience where each movement is between about 2 minutes and 30 seconds to 4 minutes. That way, everyone can appreciate symphonic music within the time it takes to listen to a few pop tunes – and my hope is not only will people enjoy this new format but it will get them more eager to explore the classics, and even create new symphonic music for the world to enjoy.”
David wrote the first symphonina in 2018 and has followed with nine additional symphoninas since.
Listening to a Symphonina
Dr. Fogel has composed 10 symphoninas to date, and all are available via online streaming services, such as Spotify, YouTube, and AppleMusic. Preparations are being made to have live symphony performances and other musical events. As other composers create symphoninas, we will seek to feature the best of their work.
Are You a Composer Who Wants to Create a Symphonina?
The full composition should generally be less than 10 minutes, and never longer than 12 minutes. It should be tonal rather than atonal.
The composition should have three or four movements. Ideally, the format for each movement should be in a different tempo, such as allegro, adagio, allegro.
The composition should feature all elements of a typical orchestra: strings, woodwinds, and brass. It may also include percussion and featured instrumental performances, as found in concertos.
Keep in mind how your composition will sound and appear when performed live. For example, if your composition requires 48 violins, it will be unlikely to be performed live.
If you would like to have the Symphonina Foundation endorse your composition, please contact us for details on how to send it to us for consideration.
The Symphonina Foundation Announces 2023 Best Symphonina of the Year Award Competition
The Symphonina Foundation is pleased to announce the 2023 Best Symphonina of the Year Award Competition. Composers from around the world are invited to submit their best original (unpublished) Symphonina for consideration in this annual contest. The first place award will receive a $2000 prize and the second place award will…Read More
The Symphonina Foundation Publishes Winning Symphoninas from Its Inaugural Contest
San Diego, Calif. – March 13, 2023 — The Symphonina Foundation is pleased to publish the winning Symphoninas from its first annual Best Symphonina of the Year competition for 2022. The compositions by first-prize winner Christopher Reed (USA) and runner-up Steve Locks (UK) are now available on the Symphonina Foundation’s…Read More
The Symphonina Foundation Announces Winners of Its Inaugural Best Symphonina of the Year Competition for 2022
SAN DIEGO (PRWEB) JANUARY 25, 2023 Today The Symphonina Foundation is pleased to officially announce the winner of the first annual Best Symphonina of the Year competition for 2022. First prize winner, Chris Reed (USA), was awarded the $2000 grand prize. Steve Locks (UK) was selected as runner-up and earns the $1000 runner-up…Read More
Symphonina Foundation CEO Interviews Percussionist Lindsay Sackin
October 11, 2022 San Diego, California The Symphonina Foundation is pleased to announce the release of a new video posted to its YouTube channel. The video presents a conversation between foundation co-founder and CEO Dr. David Fogel and percussionist Lindsay Sackin. Lindsay performed all of the percussion parts for Fogel’s…Read More
Do you have a passion for symphonic music? Would you like to
volunteer to help the Symphonina Foundation? Please contact us with an indication of how you'd like to help.