Farewell and Thank You

Executive Director Elizabeth Schurgin announced this week that she will be leaving her role at the beginning of August after nine years with the organization. Below is the email she shared with the DCYOP community, followed by answers to questions you may have about what happens next.

Dear Friends:

I have some news to share with you: after nine years, this is my last season as Executive Director of DCYOP.

I love DCYOP, and it will always be a part of me. I am incredibly proud of the work that we have done. During this time, we have turned around a venerated but struggling program into a thriving organization, one that is increasingly recognized as a national leader in arts education. Our students have performed with Gustavo Dudamel, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, and for President and Mrs. Obama. They toured five countries, and performed at Chile’s Presidential Palace.

We welcomed new students through our expanded after-school programs and deepened our impact through our Talent Development Program. Recently, in collaboration with the Kennedy Center, Levine Music, and National Symphony Orchestra, we founded Washington Musical Pathways Initiative, which is committed to creating access to transformative musical experiences for student-musicians who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color.

DCYOP has grown substantially and is in a strong financial position, which has allowed us to successfully weather the COVID-19 pandemic. We are already nearing our pre-pandemic enrollment. You can remain confident that DCYOP and our partnerships and collaborations are in very good shape for the transition to come.

I fell in love with DCYOP because of its drive for excellence, its commitment to its students, its boldness to challenge systemic inequities, and its willingness to accomplish big and exciting things. But what I have loved most about this role is the community of people I have had the honor to work with.

Little will change for students and families. We have a truly dedicated team and an incomparable faculty. Evan Ross Solomon will continue in his role as Artistic Director, providing continuity for staff, faculty, students, and families.

I informed the Board of Directors in the spring of my plan to leave after this season and my last day will be August 5. The Board is in the process of hiring an Interim Executive Director and is preparing to conduct a national search for a permanent Executive Director. I will be available to the organization this fall to provide knowledge and support during the transition. I am mindful of the imperative that all of our initiatives, collaborations, and the strategic plan can be seamlessly picked up by the next Executive Director.

Thank you for being a part of DCYOP’s musical community.

With much gratitude,

Liz Schurgin


Questions About the Transition

What will happen next?

The Board is in the process of hiring an Interim Executive Director, who will likely join the team by the end of July, while the DCYOP Board of Directors conducts a national search for a permanent Executive Director. The Board will engage staff and parents in the process and take the time necessary to find the right person for the organization and our community.

How soon will the interim ED be in place?

Most likely by the end of July. 

How soon will a permanent ED be in the job?

A national search will take several months, at least.

When is Liz’s last day?

Liz’s last day as Executive Director will be Aug. 5. She’ll be available to staff and the Interim Executive Director for several weeks after that to help with the transition. 

What will change for parents, students, and faculty?

Nothing. Scheduling, programming, instruction is all led by Evan Ross Solomon, our Artistic Director, and the stellar program team. Most parents and students won’t notice any difference at all.

Where is Liz going next? 

Liz has been with DCYOP for nine years and informed the Board this spring that she felt the time was right for her to take a breather, and explore new opportunities.

How can I say goodbye to Liz?

Call or email the office. A community gathering is being planned, probably for September, and more information will be made available in August.

Will parents/staff/faculty/students/donors be involved in the national search process?

Yes. Working with a search firm, the Board will engage in an inclusive process.

I’d like to share some thoughts/ideas for the executive search and/or the future of DCYOP.

Great! Please email [email protected] and we’ll share with staff and the Board.

#DCYOIBERIA Day 7 & 8: The Grand Finale

 Riding the high of the previous night’s concert in Torremolinos, we enjoyed a leisurely morning in Granada – time to catch up on sleep, lounge by the pool, or get those last souvenirs and explore another of Spain’s historic Andalusian cities.

In the afternoon, we squeezed a quick visit to Alhambra, one of the most famous and well-preserved Islamic palaces in the world. Under the blazing sun, we strolled its peaceful gardens and marveled at the breathtakingly intricate carvings and mosaic tile work that seem to dominate every inch of the palaces that date back to the 13th century. There was not nearly enough time to explore the entire complex but it gave us all another taste of the rich and complex cultural and artistic history of the region.

Before we knew, it was time for our final concert of the tour, scheduled to take place at the CajaGRANADA Cultural Center. Feeling at their peak, the orchestra poured every last bit of energy they had into the final concert, bringing this tour to a triumphant close. It was wonderful to finish out the tour with both the assistance of our Lisbon Music Fest friends as well as the wonderfully welcoming Rotary Club of Granada, which presented the concert.

Our final day was largely spent making the long drive to Madrid, where we had a bit of time to see some of the sites and explore the area around Puerta del Sol and the Plaza Mayor before enjoying a farewell dinner at a nearby restaurant.

We also made time to gather together in the evening to celebrate the orchestra’s incredible accomplishments, both musically and personally, and to recognize the many individual and group efforts that made it such a successful and memorable experience

And that’s a wrap on #DCYOIBERIA 2022! While friends and family back home are celebrating Independence Day, we will be making our way back home, eager to share experiences and start planning for more exciting adventures ahead. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead as we continue to share more footage of our tour performances and experiences. Hasta la próxima!

#DCYOIBERIA Day 5 & 6: Hitting Our Stride in Malaga


Day 5 started off with another wonderful and intense morning of rehearsals with our new friends from Orquesta Promusica.

Feeling ready and even more excited for our concert than the day before, we took a much-needed lunch break in the charming city center of Málaga. Everyone had a chance to explore its winding marble streets in search of Andalusian cuisine, souvenirs, or just a few moments of peace and quiet in one of its cultural landmarks such as the Picasso Museum Málaga (Picasso was born in Málaga in 1881), which is housed in a historic 16th century palace.

Nothing could top our excitement, though, once we arrived at the site of the evening’s joint concert: the Castillo de Gibralfaro. Once one of the most imposing fortresses on the Iberian peninsula, the Castillo was first built in the 10th century by the first Umayyad Caliph of Córdoba on the ruins of a Phoenician lighthouse that dates back to the 7th century BCE. The fortress was later expanded in the 14th century by the sultan of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada.

We took a few moments to admire the beautiful cypress and fruit tree lined walkways of the grounds, as well as the incredible views overlooking the city from the fortress walls before our combined orchestra of over 100 musicians took to the outdoor stage. Well over 200 attendees filled the Patio de Armas, to enjoy works by Holst, Verdi, Offenbach, Turina, de Falla, and Emilio Lehmberg, a Malaga-born composer much beloved in Spain but virtually unknown in the United States. Maestro Solomon undertook the effort to create a new critical edition of his piece, Impresiones del atardecer, and presented the new score and parts as a gift to Maestro Javier Claudio, who is currently working on a film project about Lehmberg.


Day 6 gave us another opportunity to have lunch with our VIP tour in the Malaga city center before we headed to the nearby city of Torremolinos for our third concert at the Auditorio Municipal Principe de Asturias. The fantastic acoustics of the hall combined with absolutely stellar solos from our principals to make for what may have been the best performance of our tour program yet. We’ll know for sure tomorrow when we give our final concert of the tour in Granada…