Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra – Biography

Season Listing | Program | Program Notes | Biography

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, under the dynamic leadership of Music Director Edo de Waart, has embarked upon a new era of artistic excellence and critical acclaim. In his fourth year with the MSO, Maestro de Waart has led sold-out concerts, elicited rave reviews and conducted a performance at Carnegie Hall on May 11, 2012, in the Spring for Music festival.

Since its inception in 1959, the MSO has become one of the finest orchestras in the nation. The MSO’s 83 full-time professional musicians perform 140 classics, pops, family and education concerts each season in venues throughout the state. A cornerstone of Milwaukee’s arts community, the MSO provides enrichment and education activities for audiences of every age, economic status and background.

The MSO is recognized as a pioneer among American orchestras. The orchestra has performed world and American premieres of works by composers including John Adams, Roberto Sierra, Phillip Glass, Geoffrey Gordon, Marc Niekrug and Matthias Pintscher. For 42 years, the symphony’s nationally-syndicated radio broadcasts have ranked among the nation’s largest collections and are heard on nearly 150 stations throughout the United States. The MSO was the first American orchestra to offer its live recordings for download directly through online music stores, including iTunes. In addition, the MSO has created an e-label specifically for digital distribution of its recordings.

The MSO’s standard of excellence extends beyond the concert hall and into the community, reaching more than 40,000 children and their families through its Arts in Community Education (ACE) program, Youth and Teen concerts, Kinderkonzerts, Music for Me concerts, Behind the Notes pre-concert talks and Friday Evening Post-Concert Talkbacks. In its 22nd year, the nationally-recognized ACE program integrates arts education into state-required curricula, providing arts opportunities for students when budget cuts may eliminate music and arts programming. The program provides lesson plans and supporting materials as well as classroom visits from ensembles of MSO musicians and artists from local organizations. In addition, ACE students attend MSO concerts tailored to each grade level. This season, more than 7,200 students and 1,200 teachers and faculty in 20 Southeastern Wisconsin schools will participate in ACE.