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About Us

The Dallas Symphony's mission is to entertain, inspire and change lives through musical excellence.

Our Core Values

Uncompromising excellence
Teamwork
Ensure that every concert is an event
A community of passionate music lovers making more music lovers
Risk-taking and innovative
Committed to fiscal responsibility
Integrity

History

Since 1900, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra has grown from a 40-person ensemble to a nationally-recognized orchestra performing in one of the world's finest concert halls.

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra's beginnings can be traced to May 22, 1900, when a 40-member ensemble performed under the direction of German-born conductor Hans Kreissig. Kreissig led the Orchestra for five seasons and helped to finance the organization.

In the ensuing years, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra began to grow into a major American orchestra under the leadership of such eminent conductors as Walter J. Fried, Carl Venth, Paul Van Katwiik and Jacques Singer. In 1945, the Dallas Symphony took great strides under the direction of Conductor Antal Dorati. Dorati transformed the ensemble into a fully professional, first-rate orchestra that won national attention through a series of RCA recordings, expanded repertoire, more concerts and several national network radio broadcasts. Dorati had a worthy and vigorous successor in American Walter Hendl, music director from 1949 to 1958. Hendl's successors included such major musical figures as Paul Kletzki, Sir Georg Solti, Donald Johanos, Anshel Brusilow, Max Rudolf and Louis Lane.

In 1977, Mexican-born Eduardo Mata was appointed music director and conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Under his guidance, the Orchestra enjoyed many successes, including recording contracts with RCA and Dorian, two Carnegie Hall performances, a performance at the Kennedy Center, a 15-concert European tour, three concerts in Mexico City and three concerts in Singapore. When Mata retired in June of 1993, he had the longest tenure as music director in the Orchestra's history and was named conductor emeritus of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

During Mata's tenure, in addition to excelling creatively, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra saw the dedication of its permanent home, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Read the full history of the Meyerson.

In December of 1992, the Dallas Symphony Association named a young American, Andrew Litton, to succeed Mata as music director and conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Litton embarked on an ambitious program to significantly raise the Orchestra's international standing. He launched the Dallas Symphony's first television venture, the Amazing Music family concert series, made numerous recordings with the DSO including Mahler's Symphony No. 5 and Gramophone magazine's Editor's Choice Award-winning Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos, had several performances at Carnegie Hall, three European tours and a summer residency at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.

Following Litton's departure, the DSO named Jaap van Zweden as its new music director in February 2007. The 2013-2014 season marks van Zweden's sixth with the orchestra. In addition to his position with the Dallas Symphony, van Zweden is in his second season as Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

Dallas Symphony performances conducted by Jaap van Zweden are regularly hailed by The Dallas Morning News as "exhilarating," "revelatory," "intensely dramatic," and "as electrifying as you'll hear anywhere." In March 2013, van Zweden conducted a heralded two-week European tour with the Dallas Symphony, which included performances of Mahler's Sixth Symphony, Richard Strauss's Suite from Der Rosenkavalier, Wagner's Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, Steven Stucky's Elegy and Korngold's Violin Concerto (with soloist Hilary Hahn) in Eindhoven, Amsterdam, Vienna, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Hannover. He also leads the Dallas Symphony at its summer residency at the Bravo! Vail festival in Colorado, and in special performances such as an appearance in the inaugural Spring for Music festival at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2011.

Van Zweden was named Musical America Conductor of the Year 2012 in recognition of his critically acclaimed work as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony and as a guest conductor with the most prestigious U.S. orchestras.

In addition to an extensive symphonic repertoire, opera plays an important part in Maestro van Zweden's career. With the Dallas Symphony he has presented concert performances of Beethoven's Fidelio and Act 1 of Wagner's Die Walküre.

For the Dallas Symphony's DSO Live record label, Maestro van Zweden has released the symphonies of Tchaikovsky (Nos. 4 and 5), Beethoven (Nos. 5 and 7) and Mahler (Symphony No. 6), and the world-premiere recording of Steven Stucky's concert drama August 4, 1964, for which Stucky was nominated for a Grammy® Award.


The Dallas Arts District

Visit the Dallas Symphony's arts district neighbors for more of the finest cultural entertainment, including classic and ground-breaking theater at the Dallas Theater Center at the Wyly Theatre; grand opera and cutting-edge chamber opera by the Dallas Opera at the Winspear Opera House; and a wide array of performances - concerts and lectures, ballet and dance, comedy and musical theater - throughout the AT&T Performing Arts Center.