The Mobile Symphony Orchestra enhances lives by achieving the highest standards in live symphonic music and music education.
- We create an environment that allows for the presentation of the finest quality music.
- We attract and hire exemplary musicians and high quality teachers.
- We develop and maintain a staff and board who are competent and passionate about the Mobile Symphony Orchestra.
- We expand music education and performance opportunities for all students.
- We are an indispensable resource to the entire community.
- We achieve and maintain a firm financial base.
Mobile Symphony History
Mobile Symphony was established in 1970 as Symphony Concerts of Mobile. Its mission was to present excellent touring orchestras for six evening concerts. Orchestras included Alabama Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and more. In 1996, the board of Mobile Symphony decided that to truly serve the educational, quality of life, and economic development needs of the community, it must create a local Mobile Symphony Orchestra, utilizing and developing local professional musicians. Thus, the planning and development of the local orchestra began. The official name was changed to Mobile Symphony, Inc. in 1997.
Jerome Shannon served as Principal Guest Conductor for the Mobile Symphony during 1998-2000 while the board conducted the search for its first music director. During these years, new education programs for young people were developed and expanded, and free outdoor concerts were added to the regular concert season. In addition, Mobile Symphony officially became the orchestra for Mobile Opera productions.
The 2000-2001 season marked the beginning of a new era for the Mobile community with the selection of Scott Speck as Mobile Symphony’s first music director. Speck’s talent, enthusiasm and love of music have elevated the orchestra to new levels and created a new standard of excitement for the entire community.
Also, during this time the Mobile Symphony Youth Orchestra completed its first year under the auspices of the symphony. Mobile Symphony’s music education program, Preludes, was launched with a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. Professional musicians began teaching violin lessons to 90 third graders and offering music classes to more than 1,500 students in nine area elementary schools. MSO KIDS programs are now offered at 16 schools in Mobile and Baldwin counties.
In 2001-2002, a new acoustical shell transformed the entire concert experience for orchestra and audience alike. The education program encompassed eleven area elementary schools. Bay Area Strings, a community string ensemble, moved into Mobile Symphony’s education program as an opportunity for both adults and youth. The Chamber Music Series was extended to the Eastern Shore at the University of South Alabama’s Fairhope campus. Mobile Symphony and Mobile Opera purchased a building at 257 Dauphin Street , and renovations were completed in September 2002. The building includes a rehearsal hall, teaching studios and administrative office space.
As a cultural leader on the Gulf Coast, the Mobile Symphony Orchestra contributes significantly to the quality of life in the Mobile Bay community. By providing outstanding symphonic music and award-winning music education programs, MSO assists the region in attracting international companies and creative workers to the area. In just two decades, MSO has become Mobile’s flagship arts organization, with a budget and audience exceeding all other local performing arts organizations combined. The MSO is a significant small business on the Gulf Coast, with a payroll of almost $430,000 and an overall budget of almost $1.8 million.