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. Under the baton of its sixth music director, the internationally-acclaimed Edo de Waart, 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.
When not home in Wisconsin, Edo de Waart also serves the chief conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and the conductor Laureate of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to his current positions, de Waart has held posts with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Additionally he has regular relationships with the Chicago, NHK and New Zealand Symphony orchestras and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.
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, and 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.