Project 440 started out as Savannah Chamber Players in 2007. Three musicians who had played in the Savannah Symphony Orchestra before it folded felt compelled to go into their community, instruments in hand, to not only play for but to interact with their audiences in a new way that would truly engage them. In 2010, two of those musicians, Joseph Conyers and Blake Espy, moved to Philadelphia and shifted the focus of the organization from doing the interactive performances to teaching young musicians the skills and techniques they need to engage their communities with interactive performance, and to be prepared for careers in the 21st Century. That is when Project 440 was born.
Since 2010, Project 440 has grown from an all-volunteer organization with a small board to a professional organization with paid staff, a dynamic and hands-on board, and a growing national reputation for providing innovative enrichment programming to talented young musicians.
In 2015, co-founder Joe Conyers, assistant principal bass in The Philadelphia Orchestra and executive director of Project 440, was named the new music director for the School District of Philadelphia's All City music program. Because of Joe's new role, a partnership grew between the School District and Project 440, which has become the Lead Program Enrichment Partner for All City. To be clear, Project 440 is unique - we are not an artistic institution per se. Joe's many artistic roles in the city of Philadelphia can be confusing, but his vision for Project 440 is clear: we engage student musicians in educational enrichment programs that teach them to use music as a tool to create opportunities for themselves and to give back to their communities.