MSO history page

Madison Symphony Orchestra Chronicle,  Repertoire, and Soloists (1926-2001
As part of my research four the 75th anniversary chapters presented elsewhere on these pages, I compiled a comprehensive database of over 700 performances by the orchestra and chorus from 1926-2001.  This drew upon a number of sources: programs, season brochures, and other materials preserved in the MSO archives, back issues of the Wisconsin State Journal and Capital Times, and for more recent (post-middle 1980s) programs, my own records. The MSO archives are currently often frustratingly incomplete.  Records of performances for the first several years are quite detailed and complete for the very early years, but there is a long stretch in the later 1930s and 1940s where the archival record is spotty.  Fortunately the local papers provided quite detailed coverage and reviews of Civic Music performances, and I have been able to reconstruct several programs here that are unremarked in the archives.

My original database was compiled in a wonderfully flexible, but now long-obsolete program, HyperCard. As part of the 2001 75th anniversary celebration, I used this to create a 200-page  book titled 75 Years of the Madison Symphony Orchestra 1926-2001: Chronicle, Repertoire, and Soloists.  The sections of that book are presented here as PDF documents. 

Where does this project stand now?  Before my mid-1990s iMac was retired to a shelf in my basement, I fired it up one last time and used HyperCard to dump all of the data contained into a format that could be converted to an Excel spreadsheet.  I am grateful that MSO staff have updated this faithfully, so a complete record of the orchestra's repertoire from 1926 to the present does exist - albeit not in a particularly user-friendly or publicly accessible format.  However, if you're interested in knowing whether we've performed a particular piece since 2001, that information is available by scanning through my complete list of program notes.   Bear in mind, however, that this only includes concerts for which I wrote notes: subscription programs and a few others.  This will not include operas, Concert on the Green, youth programs and all of the other sorts of concerts played by the orchestra and chorus.  Note that this listing also includes program notes I wrote for several other orchestras, ensembles, soloists, and festivals.

75 Years of the Madison Symphony Orchestra 1926-2001: Chronicle, Repertoire, and Soloists: