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Everything You Need to Know About the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Seeing a BSO performance is a must for anyone visiting Baltimore. Here is your quick guide to the world-famous orchestra.

To say you’re in for a world-class experience when you go see the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is not hyperbole, it’s the truth. With numerous awards, including two Grammys, the BSO is known around the globe for its dedication to honoring the hallmarks of classical music while pushing its boundaries to be more relevant and inclusive.

About the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

For over a century, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has been recognized as one of America’s leading orchestras. It’s internationally renowned and locally admired for its innovation, performances, recordings, and educational outreach initiatives including OrchKids.

The BSO made musical history in September 2007, when Maestra Marin Alsop led her inaugural concerts as the Orchestra’s 12th music director, making her the first woman to head a major American orchestra. With her highly praised artistic vision, her dynamic musicianship and her commitment to accessibility in classical music, Maestra Alsop’s directorship ushered in a new era for the BSO and its audiences. Alsop stepped down in 2021 and Jonathon Heyward has been selected to take over as the orchestra’s 13th musical director in 2023.

Where to See the BSO Perform

Since 1982, the home base of the BSO has been the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, a 2,443-seat marvel of a venue which sits on a red brick section of Cathedral Street in historic Mount Vernon. To expand the orchestra’s reach statewide, the BSO began also performing regularly at the 1,976-seat Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda in 2005.

Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall building

Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall has housed the BSO since 1928.

Performances and Special Events

A typical season for the BSO is 52 weeks of awe-inspiring concerts featuring both brand new and timeless pieces performed by the orchestra’s resident brass, strings and percussion musicians. There’s something for everyone throughout the season as the BSO’s offerings include programs such as:

  • Movies with Orchestra: Enjoy a film, such as the fan-favorite Harry Potter series, as the orchestra plays the movie’s score live.
  • SuperPops: Contemporary meets classical as the Principal Pops Conductor welcomes soul, blues and jazz musicians to join the orchestra for a very special evening of collaboration.
  • Off The Cuff: Explore a piece of music through background and historical information, followed by a Q&A and concert.
  • Holiday Specials: Reach new heights of enchantment with this assortment of holiday concerts ranging from traditional performances like The Nutcracker to soaring gospel with CeCe Winans.
  • Family Series: Expose children to the wonders of classical music early with these kid-friendly concerts inspired by classic children’s films and tales.

The BSO also offers a host of free concerts around the city through its community enrichment and outreach initiatives. One such initiative, Symphony in the City, aims to introduce the orchestra to new audiences by taking the BSO out of the concert hall and into community spaces such as schools, libraries, churches and parks for performances.

Tickets and Subscriptions

Single tickets to a performance can be purchased in person at the Meyerhoff and Strathmore box offices or online.

Empty seats and balconies in the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

There are 2,443 seats in the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

If you plan to see more than one show per season, consider a subscription which allows you to create a package that suit your tastes, are on your preferred day of the week and are at your preferred venue. For more information or to purchase your subscription, visit the BSO subscription portal.

While You’re Here…

Before or after your experience with the BSO in Baltimore, take some time to enjoy Mount Vernon. It is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city, with top-rated boutique hotels, art galleries, restaurants and shops to explore.

Top things to do in Mount Vernon:

  1. Washington Monument
  2. Walters Art Museum
  3. Peabody Library
  4. Enoch Pratt Free Library
  5. Maryland Center for History and Culture
Park in Mount Vernon with fountain and Washington Monument

Mount Vernon is great to explore any time of year.

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