Established by the Circle of Friends

The Memphis Symphony Orchestra will confer the inaugural EDDY AWARD to a community member who has made a transformative contribution to the enhancement of cultural awareness through the performing arts by using the power of music to foster intentional inclusion and community engagement for all people.
The presentation will at the Masterworks concert scheduled on March 18, 2023 at the Scheidt Family Music Center at the University of Memphis.

The award’s meaning is based on the metaphoric language used in the Circle of Friends’ 10th Anniversary teaching tale entitled –

THE EDDY - The Current That Changed the Course of the River

To further clarify, an “eddy” is a circular current at variance with the main water flow that changes the course or trajectory of the river. Since the movement is often caused by a fallen rock such as referenced in the teaching tale, its meaning is fitting for this unique recognition of an individual who facilitated change through the power of music.
For over a decade, over 200 women (45% minority) from diverse backgrounds and life experiences have moved through the Circle of Friends and figuratively “jumped into the river” to manifest their shared vision to be instruments of intentional inclusion through the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Their unwavering commitment has been the catalyst that helped to change the organization’s core values to reflect more diversity, equity and inclusion in its audience, patrons, staff and ultimately the orchestra itself. Their mission is formidable, ever flowing, and never-ending, like an eddy changing the course of a river.

In 2020 the Circle of Friends established The Musician Fellowship Program to address the demographics of the orchestra itself. It is designed to attract the best and the brightest students of color who have completed a music degree from a higher education institution or conservatory. First preference is given to African Americans. Fellows are seated as a paid professional in the string section while having the option to work on an advance degree in music through a full scholarship from the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music due to the MSO’s partnership with the University of Memphis.

Thank you to THE EDDY AWARD sponsors and their support of this important program.

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