One World Symphony continues to remind us of why it’s highly likely it will be around for decades to come. — Olivia Giovetti, TimeOut New York
In 2001, Sung Jin Hong (composer and conductor), Adrienne Metzinger (graphic designer and mezzo-soprano), and a dozen other musicians created One World Symphony with a specific vision: to integrate with the larger community through musical excellence. In the decade since, the symphony has served the community through more than 100 concerts. The symphony’s first season began as a benefit concert after September 11, 2001 — from which 100% of its concert proceeds were donated to 9/11 charities. Every season, One World Symphony has dedicated itself to serving the local and global communities through benefit concerts. For instance in 2010, One World Symphony performed Janácek’s rarely-seen The Cunning Little Vixen, which benefited The Humane Society of New York.
One World Symphony holds residencies at historic New York City venues Ansche Chesed Synagogue on the Upper West Side, St. Ann and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn Heights, Church of the Holy Apostles in Chelsea, and The Town Hall in midtown Manhattan. In addition, One World Symphony has collaborated with other esteemed artists, including Paul Taylor, Take, and Misnomer Dance Companies, and the vocal rock band The Fault Line and continues to be invited to perform as a guest ensemble in other venues, such as concert series at Bard College and Great Music for a Great City at the CUNY Grad Center. In September 2010, One World Symphony was invited by The September Concert Foundation to participate in The September Concert 2010 — a world-wide, three-day-long concert series aimed to promote peace and global unity through music.
One World Symphony is committed to interactive music education. During Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances From West Side Story, Conductor Sung Jin Hong invited a sold-out Town Hall audience to sing the choruses. A capacity crowd stood to join the One World Symphony Chorus in singing “Ode to Joy” as the finale to a full performance of Beethoven’s Ninth. Thirty elementary violin students from The Promise Academy in Harlem’s Children’s Zone performed in Holst’s The Planets. During the 2007–2008 season, One World premiered a symphonic arrangement of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody with audience members. TimeOut New York wrote of the audience interaction experience in The Cunning Little Vixen, “The five-minute dissection of the love duet could easily be turned into a 30-minute preconcert talk by Hong. While he is incredibly knowledgeable, he is also passionate, which makes the experience all the more illuminating.”
One World Symphony presents thematically inspired programs that fire the imagination by relating different forms of music to performing, visual, literal, and philosophical arts. The themed programs range from presentations of chamber music and art song, to symphonic works, to semi-staged operas backed by a full orchestra, enabling a rich artistic experience for the performers and the audience alike. And true to its mission to support contemporary classical music, One World has performed and commissioned premieres by numerous living composers.
One World Symphony is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that engages in active partnerships with New York City schools and organizations such as Harlem’s Children’s Zone, Harlem School for the Arts, Chinatown YMCA, Heritage School, Casita Maria, Big Brothesr Big Sisters, Third Street Music School Settlement, LEAP, Singer’s Forum, The Lighthouse, and KIPP Schools. One World Symphony’s Community Music program allows under-served school children and their families to attend live performances during the One World Symphony season thanks to generous donations from the audience and community and aims to enrich the lives of children through an active participation in the music process. The symphony extends its activism to financial contributions, and has proudly raised more than $10,000 for the following:
2001: The Uniformed Firefighter’s Association Widows’ and Children’s Fund
2002 and 2003: United Spinal Association
2005: American Red Cross Tsunami Victims Fund
2005: American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Victims Relief Fund
2007: The Coalition for the Homeless
2008, 2009, 2010: St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Roof Restoration Fund
2010: The Humane Society of New York
2010: The Make-A-Wish® Foundation of Metro New York
2010: American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund
2011: American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund
2011, 2012: Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen
2012: The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®
2013, 2014: Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen
One World Symphony also fulfills its Vision by integrating itself into the heart of the local community through collaborative events that serve to heal, uplift, and empower:
2005: James Coleman Memorial
2006: James Coleman Young People's Concert, collaboration with the Harlem Children's Zone
2007: James Coleman Young People's Concert
2008: Collaboration with the Harlem Children's Zone with The Rite of Spring
2010: Collaboration with The September Concert Foundation
2012: Collaboration with the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York
2012, 2013, 2014: Love Brunch for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen
2015: Collaboration with New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell with the Operasode Hannibal
2016: Lloyd Arriola Memorial and Fellowship
2017: Defiant: "Shaken me to my core" – Collaboration with SAVI (Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program)
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz recognized One World Symphony’s
local and global humanitarian efforts:
Whereas, it is a Brooklyn tradition to celebrate the spirit of generosity and concern for one's fellow human beings in their time of need, it is only fitting that this office should recognize and honor One World Symphony working to support humanitarian relief efforts around the world. I salute and commend Conductor Sung Jin Hong and all the talented musicians of the One World Symphony for their generously donating their musical skill to help those in such great need, and for sharing their beautiful music with us tonight.