Baltimore Symphony celebrates 100 years

Posted on: February 10, 2016

In Saturday’s (2/6) Baltimore Sun, Tim Smith takes an in-depth look at the history of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, which marks its 100th anniversary on Thursday with a concert at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, featuring Music Director Marin Alsop leading Ravel’s Bolero, Bernstein’s West Side Story Suite for violin and orchestra with Joshua Bell, Mason Bates’s Mothership, and the premiere of Kristin Kuster’s MOXIE, a BSO Centennial Commission. Smith writes that the BSO “debuted on Feb. 11, 1916, at the Lyric Opera House…. The conductor a century ago was Gustav Strube, head of the harmony department at Peabody. The orchestra, with [Frederick] Huber as manager, sported 54 musicians… Prices for the first concert ranged from 15 cents to $1….  With soloist Mabel Garrison, a Baltimore-born soprano from the Metropolitan Opera, the BSO served up a colorful repertoire for that inaugural audience: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8, a Mozart aria, a tone poem by Saint-Saens, an aria by Delibes and, to close, the overture from Wagner’s Tannhauser. … The first year’s budget for the orchestra was $6,000. (Today’s BSO has an annual operating budget of about $27.5 million.)”

Posted February 10, 2016

In photo: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with its first music director, Gustav Strube, at the Lyric Opera House, circa 1928. (Baltimore Sun)