Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

cated at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

Mission Statement

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is internationally recognized as having achieved a preeminent place among the world's most important orchestras. Acclaimed for its enduring pursuit of artistic excellence, the BSO has attracted a devoted national and international following while maintaining deep bonds throughout Maryland with innovative education and community outreach initiatives.

The BSO made musical history in September 2007, when Maestra Marin Alsop led her inaugural concerts as the Orchestra's 12th music director, making her the first woman to head a major American orchestra. With her highly praised artistic vision, her dynamic musicianship and her commitment to accessibility in classical music, Maestra Alsop's leadership has ushered in a new era for the BSO and its audiences.

Since 2006, the BSO has flourished under the dedicated leadership of Board Chairman Michael Bronfein and President and CEO Paul Meecham. Joining Maestra Alsop on the BSO conductor roster are Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly, noted for his creative pops programming and BSO Music Director Emeritus Yuri Temirkanov, who led the BSO from 2000 to 2006 and is regarded on every continent as one of the most talented conductors of his generation.

A Long, Rich History
Founded in 1916, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is the only major American orchestra originally established as a branch of the municipal government. Reorganized as a private institution in 1942, it maintains close relationships with the governments and communities of the city and surrounding counties, as well as with the State of Maryland.

The BSO's modern history dates from 1965, when Baltimore arts patron Joseph Meyerhoff became president of the Orchestra, a position he held for 18 years. He appointed Romanian-born conductor Sergiu Comissiona as music director and together, the visionary philanthropist and the charismatic conductor ensured the development of an artistic institution, which has become the undisputed leader of the arts community throughout the State of Maryland.

Maryland's Musical Ambassador to the World
With the appointment of David Zinman as music director in 1985, the BSO's reputation for musical excellence and high artistic achievement spread far beyond the shores of the Chesapeake to a new and devoted international audience. In 1987, the Orchestra conducted a critically acclaimed concert tour of Europe and the Soviet Union. The BSO holds the distinction of being the first American orchestra in 11 years to tour the Soviet Union after cultural relations resumed at the end of the Afghanistan War.

The BSO's first visit to East Asia in 1994 was described as the hit of Tokyo's star-filled concert season. The newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun proclaimed the BSO as "the best of all the overseas orchestras" that performed in Japan during that year, in a field that included the Berlin, Vienna and New York philharmonics. An invitation to return to Japan was promptly extended, resulting in a second tour during the fall of 1997 with legendary violinist Isaac Stern as soloist. Yuri Temirkanov and the BSO embarked on a European Tour in 2001, accompanied by Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and a 20-member trade delegation to enhance exchange opportunities in the areas of business and economic development, higher education and trade. A third tour to Japan followed in 2002 and the BSO returned to Europe in 2005.

The BSO maintains a regular performance presence at Carnegie Hall. In October 2008, as part of Carnegie's year-long festival to celebrate the legacy of Leonard Bernstein, the BSO performed the late composer's large scale work, Mass: A Theatre Piece for Players, Singers and Dancers. In February 2008, the Orchestra performed a program at Carnegie that featured the New York premiere of Steve Mackey's Time Release with Scottish percussionist, Colin Currie.

Through year-round performances at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore and The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, the BSO serves as a cultural resource to the entire State of Maryland. The BSO regularly performs in Frederick, the BSO's longest continuing run-out concert series, as well as at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills. Through a number of partnerships and performances throughout the state, the BSO is extending its reach into new communities and remains a cultural resource for all Maryland residents.

Recording Acclaim
Under Music Director Marin Alsop's leadership, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has rapidly added several critically acclaimed albums to its already impressive discography. In August 2009, the BSO and Marin Alsop released Bernstein's Mass. Featuring baritone Jubilant Sykes, the Morgan State University Choir and the Peabody Children's Chorus, the album was recorded during three sold-out shows in Baltimore. London's Telegraph noted, "enthusiasts need look no further for a first-rate recording." The album rose to number six on the Classical Billboard Charts and received a 2009 Grammy nomination for Best Classical Album.

The BSO and Maestra Alsop have partnered with the Naxos label to record a three-disc Dvork symphony cycle. The first disc, which includes Symphony No. 9, "From the New World" and Symphonic Variations, was released in February 2008. BBC Music Magazine nominated the album as the best new classical CD of the year, praising, "...there's no sentimentalizing or excessive deference to the lyrical moments to rob the work of its essential freshness... It is rare to be able to say that a performance forces one to listen to a work anew, but this is exactly what Alsop's reading achieves. Excellently recorded." The second disc in this cycle features Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8, releasing in June 2010.

In June 2006, the BSO collaborated with then-Music Director Designate Marin Alsop and legendary violinist Joshua Bell to record John Corigliano's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, "The Red Violin." Based on the Academy Award-winning score for the film The Red Violin, the concerto is the completion of a dramatic piece requiring technical virtuosity and deep expressiveness. Since its world premiere with the Orchestra in September 2003, this BSO co-commission has earned the distinction of being the most performed concerto composed in the last quarter century. It was the BSO's first major label recording project in eight years and was released on the Sony/BMG Classical label in September 2007.

The BSO made its foray into online distribution in April 2007 with the release of a live-concert recording of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring on iTunes. Maestra Alsop led the January 2007 concerts, which featured members of the Peabody Symphony Orchestra performing alongside the BSO. Hailed by The Washington Post as a "thunderous, full-throttle, rip-roaring performance," the BSO recording quickly became the number one classical music download on iTunes.

The Orchestra and David Zinman won their first Grammy Award in 1990 for a Sony Classical recording of cello concertos by Barber and Britten with soloist Yo-Yo Ma. The BSO's stature as one of America's most admired orchestras was further enhanced in 1994 when The New York Album, recorded under the direction of David Zinman and again featuring Yo-Yo Ma, won two Grammy Awards. The BSO has continued to add to its extensive discography, adding three new recordings in 1997: a London recording featuring symphonic dance works of Leonard Bernstein; an Erato Disques recording of the piano concertos of George Gershwin and Maurice Ravel, featuring pianist Hlne Grimaud; and a Grammy-nominated London recording of violin concertos by Samuel Barber and William Walton with violinist Joshua Bell. In 2000, the Orchestra was again nominated for a Grammy for its recording of Bernstein's Serenade and Beethoven's Violin Concerto with Baltimore-born violin phenomenon Hilary Hahn as soloist.

Early in 2000, the Orchestra released I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes, a commemorative recording to honor the tenth anniversary of its community outreach initiatives. The CD includes the works of the prominent African-American composer Adolphus Hailstork and was featured in a special National Public Radio "Performance Today" national broadcast during Black History Month in 2000.

Giving Back: Education, Outreach and Partnerships
For more than 80 years, the BSO has maintained a vibrant educational presence throughout the State of Maryland, supporting the local community not only through concerts and recordings, but also through its commitment to actively giving back with its education, outreach and mentorship programs.

The BSO performs approximately 30 education concerts and open rehearsals each year for more than 60,000 area students in pre-school through 12th grade. Cornerstone initiatives include BSO on the Go, a program that brings small groups of BSO musicians into schools for interactive music education workshops at no cost to the schools, and Side-by-Side concerts, which allow student musicians to rehearse and perform a full-length concert alongside BSO musicians.

The 2010-2011 season marks the third year of OrchKids. Under Music Director Marin Alsop's artistic leadership and direction, this year-round after-school program is designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City's neighborhoods. Modeled after Venezuela's El Sistema, the music program that in 30 years has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children, OrchKids provides music education, instruments and tutoring to Baltimore's neediest youngsters at no cost. Since its start in 2007, the program has grown from 30 to 155 student participants.

The BSO is committed to the development of talent within the classical music field. To this end, since Fall 2007, the BSO has partnered with the renowned Peabody Institute to sponsor the BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellowship, a two-year, master's-level program which affords an aspiring young conductor the opportunity to study intensively at Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and with Marin Alsop and the BSO. Ilyich Rivas, a talented, young Venezuelan-born conductor is the program's second recipient and will begin his second year in the program in the 2010-2011 season as the BSO-Peabody Bruno Walter Assistant Conductor. In addition, the BSO also regularly hosts fellows from the League of American Orchestras' prestigious Management Fellowship Program.

In addition to its comprehensive youth outreach initiatives, the BSO serves adult music lovers through audience education programs such as pre-concert lectures and post-concert discussions, as well as adult-performance opportunities with members of the BSO. In February 2010, the BSO invited more than 400 amateur musicians onstage to perform alongside members of the BSO in a two-night "Rusty Musician" event that captured international attention. In June 2010, the BSO will hold it's first-ever BSO Academy, an intensive, weeklong program of master classes, lectures and public performances with BSO members led by Music Director Marin Alsop.

National and Local Broadcast Series
Throughout its history, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has attracted a devoted nationwide following as a result of its prominent radio presence. An avid proponent of using new technology to reach new audiences, Marin Alsop has recently partnered with iTunes to produce and host a series of free podcasts directed towards classical music newcomers.

In the 2007-2008 season, the Orchestra embarked on a partnership with XM Satellite Radio, the nation's leading satellite radio provider with more than eight million subscribers. Each program featured a full-length BSO concert conducted by Marin Alsop, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with Maestra Alsop and guest artists.

Currently, Maestra Alsop may also be heard nationally on National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition" with Scott Simon, where she is a frequent guest with her segment "Marin Alsop on Music." In recent years, BSO concert programs have been heard on NPR's highly regarded music program "Performance Today" and on American Public Media's "SymphonyCast," both broadcasted in more than 200 cities across the United States. From 1986 to 1999, the Orchestra's highly successful 13-season Casual Concerts broadcast series, featuring former music director David Zinman, was heard on more than 150 radio stations across the country and was acclaimed for its innovative and insightful presentation of orchestral performances.

The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall has been the home of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since its opening on September 16, 1982. Among the most recognizable structures in Baltimore, the unique, circular building instantly became the artistic and cultural hub of Baltimore, serving as a world-class performance space for the BSO. Named for the late Baltimore philanthropist and former BSO president, Joseph Meyerhoff, the 2,443-seat hall has been hailed for its pristine acoustics and versatility. As one of the city's premier cultural venues, the Meyerhoff has played host to international classical stars such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Emanuel Ax, and popular performers including singer-songwriter of Harry Connick, Jr., bluegrass singer Alison Krauss and comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

The Music Center at Strathmore
The 2010-2011 season marks the sixth full season of the Orchestra's second home, the 1,976-seat Music Center at Strathmore, located in North Bethesda, Maryland. With the opening of the Music Center at Strathmore in February 2005, the BSO became the nation's first orchestra with year-round venues in two metropolitan areas. As the founding partner and resident orchestra of the Music Center, the BSO presents approximately 30 performances in the concert hall annually.

The BSO is actively involved in giving back to Montgomery County and the Greater Washington, D.C. area, building upon the Orchestra's tradition of high-quality education programs for audiences of all ages. The BSO collaborates with the Levine School of Music and Maryland Classical Youth Orchestra to present lecture series and master classes for area youth. The BSO also offers the education initiative, BSO on the Go, which brings small groups of BSO musicians into local schools for free to present interactive music education workshops, reaching approximately 2,000 students annually.

he Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is internationally recognized as having achieved a preeminent place among the world's most important orchestras. Acclaimed for its enduring pursuit of artistic excellence, the BSO has attracted a devoted national and international following while maintaining deep bonds throughout Maryland with innovative education and community outreach initiatives.

The BSO made musical history in September 2007, when Maestra Marin Alsop led her inaugural concerts as the Orchestra's 12th music director, making her the first woman to head a major American orchestra. With her highly praised artistic vision, her dynamic musicianship and her commitment to accessibility in classical music, Maestra Alsop's leadership has ushered in a new era for the BSO and its audiences.

Since 2006, the BSO has flourished under the dedicated leadership of Board Chairman Michael Bronfein and President and CEO Paul Meecham. Joining Maestra Alsop on the BSO conductor roster are Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly, noted for his creative pops programming and BSO Music Director Emeritus Yuri Temirkanov, who led the BSO from 2000 to 2006 and is regarded on every continent as one of the most talented conductors of his generation.



The Details

(39.2946,-76.6235)
 
  • Address
    Joseph Myerhoff Symphony Hall1212 CATHEDRAL STREETBALTIMORE, MD 21201
  • Contact
    • WOW Baltimore
  • Phone
    • 410-783-8000
  • Website
  • Interest Area
    • Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Community, Media & Broadcasting, Women

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