|Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
Web site: http://www.BSOmusic.org
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he Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is internationally recognized as having achieved a preeminent place among the world's most important orchestras. Acclaimed for its uncompromising pursuit of artistic excellence, the Baltimore Symphony has attracted a devoted national and international following while maintaining deep bonds throughout the Maryland community through innovative education and community outreach initiatives.
The BSO made musical history on July 20, 2005 when it officially announced the appointment of Marin Alsop as its next Music Director, making her the first female conductor of a major American orchestra. Alsop will become Music Director Designate in the 2006-07 concert season and will assume the directorship beginning in 2007-08. In addition to her post with the BSO, Alsop will continue to serve as the Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony in England, a position she has held since 2002.
In October 1997, Yuri Temirkanov accepted the position as the Orchestra's eleventh Music Director. Regarded on every continent as among the most talented conductors of his generation, Maestro Temirkanov will become the Music Director Emeritus at the start of the 2006-07 season.
A LONG, RICH HISTORY
Organized 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 symphony orchestra, a position he held for 18 years. Meyerhoff appointed Romanian-born conductor Sergiu Comissiona as music director; together, the visionary philanthropist and the charismatic conductor ensured the creation 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 having been the first American orchestras in eleven years to tour the Soviet Union after cultural relations were resumed at the end of the Afghanistan war.
The Baltimore Symphony'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" which 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. A 20-member trade delegation led by Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend accompanied the Orchestra to enhance exchange opportunities in the areas of business and economic development, higher education and trade. Again, the Orchestra's performances were embraced as among the most critically successful of the season.
The BSO has achieved critical success for its prolific discography on such major labels as Argo/London, Telarc and Sony Classical. The Orchestra and David Zinman won their first Grammy Award in 1987 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 Baltimore Symphony 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 Hélène Grimaud; and a Grammy-nominated London recording of violin concertos by Samuel Barber and William Walton with violinist Joshua Bell. In 1999, 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 is comprised entirely of the works of the prominent African American composer Adolphus Hailstork and was the subject of a special NPR Performance Today national broadcast during Black History Month, 2000.
In June 2006, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra collaborated with 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 socre 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 is the BSO's first major label recording project in eight years and is scheduled to release on the Sony/BMG Classical label in the summer of 2007.
The Baltimore Symphony has attracted a devoted following nationwide as a result of its prominent radio presence, begun in 1986. The Orchestra's highly successful 13-season Casual Concerts broadcast series was heard on more than 150 radio stations across the country and was acclaimed for its innovative and insightful presentation of orchestral performances. More recently, the Baltimore Symphony concert programs have been heard on National Public Radio's highly regarded music program Performance Today in more than 200 cities throughout the United States. Locally, the BSO is featured on the NPR news station (WYPR, 88.1 FM) on two weekly programs: "Backstage at the BSO," lively discussion show of the music and guests soloists/conductors performing each week with the Orchestra; and "Onstage With the BSO," a 2-hour program featuring archival recordings of live performances, recorded at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra supports the local community not only through its concerts, recordings and nationally-acclaimed radio programs, but also through its community connections with youth and families along with ambitious partnerships with educational interests throughout the State of Maryland. Additionally, the BSO performs over 30 Education Concerts annually for 60,000 area students from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
THE MUSIC CENTER AT STRATHMORE
The 2006-07 season marks the second 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 Strathmore in February 2005, the Baltimore Symphony became the nation’s first major orchestra with year-round venues in two metropolitan areas. As a founding partner, the BSO at Strathmore presents more performances than any other partner on campus. In its first two seasons, the stunning concert hall has received critical acclaim by patrons and critics alike for its exceptional acoustics, architectural beauty and convenient location.
The Music Center Strathmore is the result of a precedent-setting partnership between the BSO, Strathmore and the residents of Montgomery County and the State of Maryland. It was created to rival the acoustics of America’s greatest concert halls, and at the same time, to uniquely house professional musical performances and arts education under one roof. The BSO presents nearly 40 concerts at Strathmore throughout the season across a diverse range of series including Classical Thursdays, Classical Saturdays, Explorer, Symphony with a Twist, Soulful Symphony, Pops Rocks and eight mid-week education concerts serving public, private schools and home-school students in Montgomery, Prince George’s and Howard counties. For additional information about the BSO at Strathmore visit www.bsoatstrathmore.com or www.strathmore.org