About BSO History

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 through 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 directorship has ushered in a new era for the BSO and its audiences.

Year Established: 1916, as a branch of the Baltimore municipal government; reorganized as a private institution in 1942.

Mission: To make music of the highest quality and to enhance Baltimore and Maryland as a cultural center of interest, vitality and importance.

Music Director: Marin Alsop
Music Director Emeritus: Yuri Temirkanov
Principal Pops Conductor: Jack Everly
Concertmaster: Jonathan Carney
Chairman of the Board: Kenneth W. DeFontes, Jr.
President and CEO: Paul Meecham

Musicians: 80
Administrative Staff: 64 Full-Time and 25 Part-Time
Board Members: 43

Operating budget: $27 million

Annual attendance: 350,000+

BSO concerts in 2014-2015: 130+, including classical, Off the Cuff, SuperPops and Family Series concerts, as well as run-out performances and summer programming.

World premiere performances since founding: 89, including 42 commissioned works.

Recordings: The Grammy Award-winning BSO has achieved critical success for its prolific discography.  Since becoming Music Director, Marin Alsop has made a number of recordings with the BSO. In August 2009, Bernstein’s Mass under the direction of Maestra Alsop was released on the Naxos label. Nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Classical Album category, the critically-acclaimed album rose to number six on the Classical Billboard Charts. Between 2007 and 2009, Maestra Alsop and the BSO recorded a three-disc Dvořák cycle of Symphonies Nos. 6 through 9 on Naxos. In 2010, the BSO under Alsop was joined by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet for a Decca recording of works by Gershwin including Rhapsody in Blue and the Piano Concerto. In 2012, recordings of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra coupled with Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan,” were released on Naxos in May and September.

Education and Outreach: The BSO presents a Midweek Education Concert series, daytime educational concerts for area schoolchildren throughout Maryland. In addition to these programs and the BSO’s Family Concert series, BSO on the Go and OrchLab bring BSO musicians into Montgomery County elementary, middle and high schools for free, interactive music education workshops. The BSO also presents annual Side-by-Side concerts with local students from area public high schools, giving aspiring musicians an opportunity to perform and study with professional musicians. OrchKids™ is the BSO’s award-winning during- and after-school music education and life-enrichment initiative, designed to create social change within Baltimore City communities.

Volunteers: The 400+ members of the Baltimore Symphony Associates (BSA) use their time, energy and financial support to benefit the education programs of the BSO. Among the BSA’s fundraising activities are the Symphony Store, Symphony Homes for the Holidays and the Symphony Decorators’ Show House.

Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

Opening: September 16, 1982 ─ Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Sergiu Comissiona (conductor) and Leon Fleisher (piano)

Capacity: 2,443

The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall has been the home of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since its opening in 1982. Ground was broken for the hall in November 1978 in order to provide the BSO with a top-notch concert hall befitting of a world-class orchestra. The building was made possible through the financial and administrative support of the late Joseph Meyerhoff.

The Music Center at Strathmore

Opening: February 5, 2005 ─ Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Yuri Temirkanov (conductor), Yo-Yo Ma (cello) and Janice Chandler-Eteme (soprano)

Capacity: 1,976

With the opening of The Music Center at Strathmore in February 2005, the Baltimore Symphony became the nation’s first orchestra with year-round venues in two metropolitan areas.

Administrative Offices

Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall | 1212 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, Md. 21201

The Music Center at Strathmore | 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, Md. 20850

Phone: 410.783.8100 (Administrative Offices) | 410.783.8000 or 877.BSO.1444 (Ticket Office) 

BSO Music Directors

Gustav Strube
George Siemonn
Ernest Schelling
Werner Janssen
Howard Barlow
Reginald Stewart
Massimo Freccia
Peter Herman Adler
Sergiu Comissiona
David Zinman
Yuri Temirkanov
Marin Alsop