Message from the CEO

Dr. David Fogel

The Symphonina Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the USA with a mission of spreading the joy of symphonic music to young audiences around the world. This is a critical mission as technology, short attention spans, and publishing music direct-to-consumer rather than primarily through major record labels has had a significant negative impact on classical music around the world.

  • Most people listen to music on their phones now, which is very convenient. But the average length of a tune has gone from over 4 minutes to about 3 minutes. While popular music has adapted to streaming formats, symphony music has not.
  • Classical music now has a 1% market share in the USA. That’s dead last among 12 categories. It’s not much better in the rest of the world. In Germany, the birth place of Beethoven, it’s 2.2%. In China, 10 categories of music are ranked and classical ranks sixth.
  • The audiences for classical music now are not the major source of revenues for symphonies. In fact, in America, most symphonies bring in more from donations than from earned income. They are effectively charities.

One day, 5 years ago, I went to the San Diego Symphony on a Sunday afternoon. I looked around and saw I was one of the youngest people in the audience, despite being in my 50s. It was clear, sadly, that many of the people enjoying symphony music with me were not likely to be there 20 years in the future. It was also clear that we need a new way of creating symphony music for younger audiences to enjoy.

My inspiration was to create a “Symphonina” – a small complete symphony that plays in about 10 minutes with 3 or 4 movements, each the length of a typical streaming pop tune. This serves multiple purposes:

  • Everyone on the planet can enjoy symphony music whenever they want without a huge time commitment.
  • This new genre of music can be marketed directly to both young and more experienced audiences. For young people, it will help introduce them to classical music and serve as foundation for them to appreciate it, listen to it, and support their local symphony.
  • There is now an opportunity to create new classical music for audiences to listen to for the next 200 years. What is played at symphonies around the world currently is mainly a “greatest hits” from the past 200-300 years. To be clear, it’s great music, but it will become even greater when it is not overplayed.

To facilitate this new idea, I composed 10 Symphoninas, which are available on streaming platforms, and created The Symphonina Foundation. The Foundation has taken important steps in furtherance of the goal of spreading the joy of symphonic music around the world.

  • Two original Symphoninas have been recorded by the world-renowned Budapest Scoring Orchestra, as well as by former touring concert pianist Chetan Tierra.
  • We have formed the International Symphonina Orchestra, a remote/virtual orchestra in which young and experienced players perform on the same recording and have an album published each year and submitted for Grammy consideration. Young terrific players with great talent may have no realistic means for getting noticed if they are in more remote places in the world. The Foundation will seek to ensure a more diverse and inclusive opportunity for these great new talents.
  • We started an annual contest for composers of new Symphoninas. This will ensure the continuous creation of new classical music for audiences to enjoy. The first contest is complete, prizes have been awarded to the composers, and their award-winning compositions are now available for the public to enjoy on our website, Spotify, YouTube, as well as other streaming services. You can search for our award-winning album “Introducing the Symphonina."

But we need your help. Specifically, we have budgeted $15,000 to be used in support of recording, post-production, and marketing of our second album, to be released later this year. Each aspect is critical to success as we must produce music at the highest industry standards and then ensure that the world knows about it..

We greatly appreciate your help in assisting us achieve these worthy goals and would be pleased to prominently identify you as a supporter of The Symphonina Foundation in our media publications and published works. You can make a donation to the foundation here. 

Thanks very much for your consideration!


David Fogel, Ph.D.