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Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Biography

Active: February 11, 1916 - ; Baltimore, MD
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra was established as a municipal ensemble with funding from local government agencies. The orchestra's first concert took place at the Lyric Theatre on February 11, 1916; its players were mostly local musicians joined by a few members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Gustav Strube was appointed the group's first musical director in 1917. During his 13-year tenure, the number of concerts gradually increased, children's Read more concerts were established in 1924, and several famous artists and guest conductors were attracted, including Siegfried Wagner, son of the composer. Strube's departure in 1930 resulted in a period of uncertainty for the orchestra, worsened by the national depression. His successor was George Siemonn, who worked vigorously for increased municipal funding and for the introduction of new compositions at concerts. He also conducted the orchestra's historic first radio broadcast concerts. Ernest Schelling was appointed music director in 1935 and became the first BSO conductor to lead a performance of Handel's Messiah during Christmas week. Following Schelling, Werner Janssen was appointed music director in 1937. He would become well-known for his film scores, which included Jean Renoir's 1945 The Southerner and the Marx Brothers' 1946 comedy A Night in Casablanca. He was succeeded by Harold Barlow in 1939, but neither of these two conductors could overcome the financial and morale problems plaguing the orchestra. In 1942, the director of Baltimore's Peabody Conservatory, Reginald Stewart, was appointed music director of the BSO. A talented pianist and conductor, the Scottish-born Stewart initiated many changes. By 1945, with the help of Eleanor Roosevelt and Met star Rosa Ponselle, the orchestra's size was increased to 90 members, its schedule of concerts expanded, and its repertory broadened. By the early 1950s, however, deficits and other problems precipitated Stewart's resignation and the departure of several orchestra members. Italian conductor Massimo Freccia took the reins in 1952 and immediately set diligently to work for solutions to the many difficulties facing the orchestra. He often presented concert versions of operas and conducted other large-scale works, drawing in sizable audiences. Peter Herman Adler succeeded Freccia in 1959. Under his directorship, regular subscription concerts and youth and children's concerts substantially increased and numerous new compositions were presented or premiered. In 1964, the orchestra began performing with the Baltimore Civic Opera Company. Romanian-born Sergiu Comissiona was appointed music director in 1968 by philanthropist Joseph Meyerhoff, who had become president of the symphony orchestra organization three years earlier. These two figures guided the orchestra to some of its greatest artistic triumphs, as well as to financial stability over the next decade and a half. Comissiona made numerous recordings with the orchestra and led many successful tours abroad. Meyerhoff donated $10.5 million toward the construction of a new hall, covering nearly half its final cost. The orchestra gave its first concert in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on September 16, 1982. American David Zinman, previously conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, was appointed music director in 1985 and maintained the high standards set during the Comissiona era. He also made numerous recordings, and the orchestra began regular radio broadcasts in 1986. Zinman and the BSO won several Grammy awards, the first in 1987 in a collaborative effort with Yo-Yo Ma featuring cello concertos by Britten and Barber. Russian conductor Yuri Temirkanov succeeded Zinman in 1999. Temirkanov and the orchestra are frequently heard on NPR's Performance Today and regularly make recordings. Read less
Dvorák: Symphony No 9, Symphonic Variations / Alsop, Baltimore SO
Release Date: 05/27/2008   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570714   Number of Discs: 1
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Dvorak: Symphony No 6, Nocturne, Scherzo Capriccioso / Alsop, Baltimore Symphony
Release Date: 11/16/2010   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570995   Number of Discs: 1
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Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra; Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta / Alsop, Baltimore
Release Date: 05/29/2012   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8572486   Number of Discs: 1
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Mahler: Symphony No 1 / Marin Alsop, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 09/25/2012   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8572207   Number of Discs: 1
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Dvorak: Symphonies No 7 & 8 / Alsop, Baltimore SO
Release Date: 05/25/2010   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8572112   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 87 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Complete Warner Classics Recordings
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 4622737 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Hélčne Grimaud
    Conductor:  David Zinman,  Kurt Sanderling,  Kurt Masur,  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin,  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $35.49
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  • 2.
    Tavener: The Protecting Veil, Wake Up...and Die / Yo-Yo Ma
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 56130 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Tavener
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra members
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 3.
    100 Great Symphonies
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002054602 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Giovanni Battista Sammartini,  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Johann Christian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Hanna Schwarz,  René Kollo,  Kurt Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Kevin Mallon,  Christopher Hogwood,  Thomas Füri,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aradia Ensemble,  Academy of Ancient Music,  Camerata Bern  ... 
    On sale! $259.98
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  • 4.
    Erato - 50 CD Collection
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 46441 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Giuseppe Torelli  ... 
    Performer:  Maurice André,  Pierre Pierlot,  Paul Hongne,  Jacques Chambon  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jean-François Paillard,  Frigyes Sándor,  Kent Nagano  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.,  Paillard Chamber Orchestra,  Vienna Soloists  ... 
    On sale! $299.98
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  • 5.
    Walker: Mass; Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 / Walker, Comissiona, Hanson
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1447 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Walker,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Norma Hirsch,  Abraham Lind-oquendo,  Claudia Lindsay,  William Brown  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Comissiona,  Dr. Nathan Carter,  Howard Hanson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  Morgan State College Choir,  Eastman Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Barber: Cello Concerto; Britten: Symphony for Cello & Orchestra / Yo-Yo Ma
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 55630 Release Date: 10/15/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
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  • 7.
    Kevin Puts: Symphony No 4 / Marin Alsop, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 907580 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kevin Puts
    Conductor:  Craig Hella Johnson,  Marin Alsop
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Conspirare,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 8.
    Copland:  Billy The Kid  / Zinman, Knussen, Baltimore, London Sinfonietta So
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001888802 Release Date: 08/20/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  David Zinman,  Oliver Knussen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  London Sinfonietta
    CD: $13.99
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  • 9.
    Torke: Color Music
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001752802 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Torke
    Conductor:  David Zinman,  Kent Nagano,  Yoel Levi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  London Sinfonietta,  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $13.99
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  • 10.
    Mahler: Symphony No 1 / Marin Alsop, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572207 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Conductor:  Marin Alsop
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra; Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta / Alsop, Baltimore
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572486 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Conductor:  Marin Alsop
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
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  • 12.
    Hilary Hahn Spectacular
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 795069 Release Date: 02/21/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Hilary Hahn
    Conductor:  Marek Janowski,  Hugh Wolff,  David Zinman,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 13.
    The Decca Sound - Highlights [5-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001620002 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Béla Bartók,  Benjamin Britten,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Renata Tebaldi  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Franco Capuana,  István Kertész,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir  ... 
    On sale! $77.99
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  • 14.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 15.
    Dvorak: Symphonies No 6 & 9 / Alsop, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 14 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Conductor:  Marin Alsop
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
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  • 16.
    Dvorak: Symphonies No 7 & 8 / Alsop, Baltimore Symphony [Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 10 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Conductor:  Marin Alsop
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $19.99
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  • 17.
    Dvorak: Symphony No 6, Nocturne, Scherzo Capriccioso / Alsop, Baltimore Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570995 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Conductor:  Marin Alsop
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Dvorak: Symphonies No 7 & 8 / Alsop, Baltimore SO
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572112 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Conductor:  Marin Alsop
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue, Piano Concerto / Thibaudet, Alsop, Baltimore SO
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001409102 Release Date: 04/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin
    Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet
    Conductor:  Marin Alsop
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 20.
    Yo-Yo Ma - 30 Years Outside the Box
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 752307 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 90
    Composer:  Sandeep Das,  Traditional,  Kayhan Kalhor,  Zhou Long  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Gramley,  Kim Dong-Won,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Mark Suter  ... 
    Conductor:  Miguel Harth-Bedoya,  John T. Williams,  Ennio Morricone,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silk Road Ensemble,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Qi Lin  ... 
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  • 21.
    Bernstein: Mass / Sykes, Alsop, Baltimore SO
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559622-23 Release Date: 08/25/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein
    Performer:  Jubilant Sykes
    Conductor:  Marin Alsop
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Classical Prep School - Essential Music
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80749 Release Date: 08/11/2009   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Richard Wagner,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  John O'Conor,  James Van Demark,  Rudolf Serkin,  Michael Chertock  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Bishop,  Yoel Levi,  Erich Kunzel,  Lorin Maazel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,  Cincinnati Pops,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 23.
    Ultimate Classical Dreams - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001280302 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Samuel Barber,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Marisa Robles,  Jack Brymer,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  David Zinman,  Frederick Fennell,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    O'Connor: Americana Symphony, Violin Concerto No 6 / O'Connor, Alsop
    Label: Omac   Catalog: 12 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mark O'Connor
    Performer:  Mark O'Connor
    Conductor:  Marin Alsop,  Joel Smirnoff
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Dvorák: Symphony No 9, Symphonic Variations / Alsop, Baltimore SO
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570714 Release Date: 05/27/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Conductor:  Marin Alsop
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
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