(above): Maestro Ken-David Masur, Music Director and Polly and Bill Van Dyke Music Director Chair for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Credit: Adam DeTour
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Since its founding in 1959, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) has continued to be one of the country’s most artistically vibrant and innovative orchestras. This tradition has been enjoyed by millions nationwide since 1971 with the MSO’s radio series – the country’s longest-running national classical radio series. The MSO’s full-time, professional, virtuosic musicians excite listeners with over 140 live concerts across Wisconsin each season. A selection of these are featured on the orchestra’s broadcasts, which feature exclusive behind the scenes and backstage musician commentary.
Now a part of the WFMT Orchestra Series, the 2023 series of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra – On Stage begins with Music Director Ken-David Masur leading a program featuring Wynton Marsalis’s Herald, Holler and Hallelujah! and George Geshwin’s Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra with Aaron Diehl at the piano. The broadcast also includes Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie. Other highlights of the series include:
- Jonathon Heyward conducts a program opening with Jessie Montgomery‘s Records from a Vanishing City along with Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 2. James Ehnes joins the performance for Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 (23-02)
- Joyce Yang is the soloist in the Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor by Mozart. Witold Lutoslawski‘s Concerto for Orchestra and Dvořák’s In Nature’s Realm are also heard in this exciting broadcast. (23-10)
- Aaron Diehl is back for a second year as the orchestra’s artistic partner and is the soloist in the complete version of Mary Lou Williams‘s Zodiac Suite. William Grant Still‘s Symphony No. 2, Song of a New Race and The Planets by Holst are also featured in this performance. (23-11)
- Edo de Waart is the guest conductor at the podium as we hear works by Brahms and Mozart. Matthew Annin joins as the horn soloist in Strauss’s Concerto No.1 in E-flat major for Horn and Orchestra. (23-12)
- To finish up the season, The Milwaukee Symphony Chorus joins in an exciting performance of Mahler’s Symphony No.2 in C minor, Resurrection conducted by Music Director Ken-David Masur. (23-13)
- And many more fantastic performances! See the complete listings for all details.
The MSO is a pioneer among American orchestras. The orchestra has performed world and American premieres of works by John Adams, Roberto Sierra, Phillip Glass, Geoffrey Gordon, Marc Neikrug, and Matthias Pintscher. In 2005, the MSO gained national recognition as the first American orchestra to offer live recordings on iTunes, and continues to offer over forty albums available for download.
A cornerstone of Milwaukee’s art community, and as Wisconsin’s largest cultural organization, the MSO provides enrichment and education activities for audiences of every age, economic status, and background. The MSO’s education and outreach programs are among the most highly regarded of any American symphony and locally reach over 40,000 children and their families through initiatives such as Youth & Teen Concerts, Meet the Music pre-concert talks, Friday Evening Post-Concert Talkbacks, and MSO Stars of Tomorrow. The Orchestra’s signature, nationally-acclaimed Arts in Community Education (ACE) program is the most comprehensive education initiative ever undertaken by an American orchestra and for over a quarter of a century has been the model program for countless U.S. orchestras.
On November 12, 2018, Maestro Ken-David Masur was named the seventh Music Director and Polly and Bill Van Dyke Music Director Chair for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Congratulations to the MSO and to Maestro Masur on this exciting development! You can find more information, including a bio, press release, and critical praise, at this link.