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Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Announces 2023 MAC Music Innovator 

American bassist Endea Owens received the residency which highlights music of Black leaders in classical music


Created in 2018, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s (CSO) MAC Music Innovator program is a year-long residency that supports emerging Black artists in classical music. As the 2023 recipient, Endea Owens will work with students and engage in community partnerships, chamber performance opportunities, and an orchestra performance with the CSO.  

An award-winning bassist, Owens is known for her various musical projects and collaborations. She is the bassist for singer Jon Batiste’s band “Stay Human,” house bassist for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and creator of The Community Cookout — an initiative bringing hot meals and free music to thousands of people and communities in need.

As a MAC Music Innovator, Owens will also work closely with the CSO’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Learning departments to shape a distinctive residency with programs surrounding education and community engagement.

Past MAC Music Innovators include Kelly Hall-Thompkins, Michelle Cann, Mark Lomax, William Menefield, and Antoine Clark. 

“We are excited to have Endea Owens as our 2023 MAC Music Innovator,” said CSO’s president and CEO, Jonathan Martin. “She is already a role model to young people who dream of carving a path for themselves in music, and we look forward to seeing the impact that Endea will bring to students in our schools and the greater community.”

“I am deeply honored...The CSO's dedication towards both music and community is nothing short of amazing, and being selected as a MAC Music Innovator is something that I hold very dear to my heart,” said Owens. “Growing up, I rarely had the opportunity to see live performances of any kind due to many variables. 

“Now with the help of the CSO, I can be a part of the change that I've always wanted to see,” she added. “I am excited to perform alongside so many incredible musicians and bring classical music, jazz, free meals, and joy to people from so many communities. The true spirit of music always begins with the people.”


Raised in Detroit, Owens is also a recording artist and composer, with her original works appearing on Jon Batiste’s GRAMMY Award-winning album “We Are,” the Oscar-nominated film Judas and the Black Messiah, and H.E.R’s acclaimed Super Bowl LV performance.

A graduate of The Juilliard School, Owens has since won an Emmy, GRAMMY Award, and a George Foster Peabody Award. Her mentors have included jazz icons such as Marcus Belgrave, Rodney Whitaker, and Ron Carter. Her collaborators include Wynton Marsalis, Jennifer Holliday, Diana Ross, Rhonda Ross, Solange, Jazzmeia Horn, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Steve Turre. Passionate about philanthropy and education, she has also taught students across the U.S., South America, and Europe. 

Her upcoming projects include premiering a newly commissioned work with the CSO, presenting original compositions and curating for the National Arts Club and National Jazz Museum for the 2022-2023 season, and producing her debut album “Feel Good Music,” set for release in early 2023.

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