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Meet Dana Zimbric of Classics 4 Kids in Hillcrest

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dana Zimbric.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am celebrating my 15th season as Artistic Director and Conductor of Classics 4 Kids! After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, I moved to San Diego for a one-year position with the San Diego Youth Symphony. At the end of the year in San Diego I was expecting to head back to the Midwest but instead was offered a position with Classics 4 Kids. I was thrilled to have a chance to conduct a professional orchestra and to create engaging programming for kids in San Diego.

Over the years I have had the great benefit of working with many talented musicians, teachers, conductors, and mentors who have helped me deepen my understanding of music and of crafting developmentally appropriate concerts for young people.

Has it been a smooth road?
Ha! No, it has not been smooth. Struggles happen all the time!

I feel as if I am always struggling with something – sometimes organizationally (lack of funding, unexpected changes in leadership), sometimes programmatically (trying to continue to make Classics 4 Kids concerts and programs better), and sometimes personally (having young children is a constant, albeit wonderful, struggle).

But in my opinion, it is not supposed to be smooth. That would be boring! It would also mean that you are not growing. There’s something magical about the process of struggling and pushing through a challenge or a problem.

When Classics 4 Kids fills the concert hall at the Balboa Theatre with over 5,000 students in 2 days, and we get emails and comments from teachers and parents – that’s a big WIN and makes all the struggles totally worth it.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Classics 4 Kids story. Tell us more about the business.
Classics 4 Kids creates concert experiences for children, teachers, and families. We perform concerts with our professional orchestra and many wonderful guest artists from around the region. Each of our concerts has a unique theme that we tie into educational curriculum for schools. This academic year we anticipate reaching more than 30,000 students county-wide!

In addition to our school concerts, we also have occasional Family Concerts which are amazing opportunities for multiple generations to enjoy classical music. These Family Concerts happen in various venues around San Diego.

We have an amazing Family Concert coming up on Saturday, May 12 called Classical Connections, which will be held on the campus of Point Loma Nazarene University. We are partnering with Reach out and Read San Diego (a program of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Chapter 3) to promote early childhood literacy and music. More information is available on our website.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
For many years there has been a big fear that classical music and audiences are dying out. Classics 4 Kids has been working for nearly 25 years to make sure children, some as young as 4 years old, have the chance to enjoy and learn about classical music. We hope this love of music and the arts stay with children throughout their lives.

I love that there is a renewed energy in the industry to making sure classical music concerts are engaging and interesting. Many symphony orchestras are expanding how they think about and present traditional classical music. I hope the trend for the larger orchestras continues to grow for educational concerts as well.


  • Family Concert Tickets $12-$15

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Aili Kato

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