Dana Zimbric has been benefitting children throughout San Diego County with music education since 2003. This classically-trained conductor is on a mission to make classical music relevant, engaging and accessible for today’s audiences. She holds a Bachelor’s of Music and a Master’s of Music in Orchestral Conducting. In a competitive field that severely lacks leadership positions for women, she is paving the way for female conductors. She has led the San Diego State University Symphony Orchestra and Honors Orchestras with the San Diego Unified School District as a guest conductor and has also served the San Diego Youth Symphony. She holds positions as the Artistic Director and Conductor of the California Chamber Orchestra in Temecula, as well as the Artistic Director and Conductor for Classics 4 Kids and the Classics Philharmonic Orchestra in San Diego. This fully professional adult ensemble performs over 30 concerts annually for nearly 30,000 schoolchildren throughout San Diego County. She is also a frequent coach, judge and guest conductor at festivals and schools throughout Southern California.

Zimbric contributes to her community through her work with Classics 4 Kids by providing critical music education through professional orchestra concerts, in-school workshops, online programs and community events designed for elementary students. She also provides programming through “Heartstrings” at Rady Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House. Her culturally diverse performances involve local guest artists, dance, visual arts and crow-curricular material including STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). She leads dozens of in-school assemblies and workshops throughout San Diego County annually.

When the COVID-19 Pandemic affected scheduled performances and school programs, Zimbric and her team at Classics 4 Kids quickly pivoted their focus and launched virtual programming within a matter of weeks. She designed the new Learn.Create.Connect. Program to support teachers and students in the virtual classroom by: (1) Providing vital music education via local TV; (2) Arranging Musician Meet & Greets with “Zoom classrooms”; and (3) Creating Professional Development series for educators. This virtual programming will benefit 3,500 distance learning students throughout San Diego County by the end of 2020.

Her efforts impact San Diego’s families by providing priority outreach to Title 1, low-income schools to further academic achievement, personal growth and creativity in under-resourced youth. Nearly 75% of her audience receive partially or fully subsidized ticketing and transportation through her efforts to remove low-income barriers to the arts and provide equal access to music education. Her music curriculum is thoughtfully designed to include Social-Emotional learning concepts, which impact her participants’ well-being. This is the process of developing and using social and emotional skills to cope with feelings, set goals, make decisions, and feel empathy for others. Zimbric believes music is the perfect tool to impart these critical life skills upon her audiences at any age, especially those from low-income schools facing daily challenges living at or below the poverty level.

As Zimbric conducts her 18th season with Classics 4 Kids, she continues to demonstrate her remarkable commitment to inspire San Diego’s youth through the power of music.