A Tribute to Danielle Garrett

May 17, 2023

While Philadelphia Sinfonia seems to attract and retain especially loyal staff members, there is no-one who exceeds the definition of loyalty beyond Ms. Garrett, who has been present, as a student or on staff, in one capacity or another for all 26 of Sinfonia’s years!

Danielle Garrett began her journey with Sinfonia as a student violinist in our inaugural year of 1997–98. She became Sinfonia’s Concertmaster the year before she graduated, when she went on to study music education, violin performance, string pedagogy, and ultimately conducting. But along the way she returned to Philadelphia Sinfonia first as an intern, then was hired as Orchestra Manager, adding in Orchestra Librarian over time, and eventually stood in for Maestro White when he was occasionally absent.

She became the full-time Conductor of PSP in 2016 and in the past year took on the new position of Program Manager, all while working full-time as Temple’s Music Librarian. Over the last six years, Ms. Garrett has also been a mentor to our student PMAY artists. How and why does she do it? She truly loves Sinfonia, and her sense of loyalty is finely tuned!

Truly grateful for her invaluable support, expertise, her loyalty and long service, the Board and Staff planned a surprise tribute to Maestra Garrett at the end of her PSP Festival Concert on May 14, 2023.

Maestro White stepped to the front of the room when the concert’s final applause had died down to pay tribute and present Ms. Garrett with a framed antique postcard of mixed-race British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, whose work she brought to Gary White’s attention a few years ago.

On the back was inscribed the following citation: “With much gratitude and appreciation for your leadership and guidance in PSP, PSCO, PS, and PSS, and for all you provide our entire program. We are inspired by your musical leadership and dedication.”

It was an emotional moment for the two conductors who have worked closely together since Gary White became Sinfonia’s Music Director 24 years ago — a moment that was shared and appreciated by the audience who gave Maestra Garrett a well-deserved, standing ovation.