Madison Symphony Orchestra Historical Pages

A History of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, 1926-2001
In early 2000, as it looked towards the 75th anniversary season in 2000-2001, the MSO commissioned me to do a series of four historical articles to detail the orchestra's history.  These articles, essentially a short four-chapter history of the MSO from 1926-2001, were published in abridged format in the orchestra's programs during the 2000-2001 season.  I have published the "unabridged" versions of these chapters here.  

Please note that these chapters, now over 20 years old, will be superseded by a much more exhaustively researched book on the orchestra's history.  I began work on this project after retiring in 2018, with an eye towards completion before the orchestra's 100th anniversary in 2026.

The Madison Symphony Orchestra: An Organizational Timeline

In August 2022, I assembled a concise two-page timeline of the orchestra's history for the MSO Board. You can download that here.

A Video Lecture on Sigfrid Prager
In October 2020, I put together a lecture on Prager's work in Madison, based upon the chapter on him in the forthcoming book.  It is titled "Madison's First Maestro: Dr. Sigfrid Prager."

Madison Symphony Orchestra: Chronicle 1926-2001
As an outgrowth of my research for the 2001 history, I complied a comprehensive database listing nearly every performance by the orchestra and chorus in the first 75 seasons.  The results, 75 Years of the Madison Symphony Orchestra 1926-2001: Chronicle, Repertoire, and Soloists, is available here. While this listing is almost complete, there are a few programs of the 1930s-1970s that were missing. These have since been reconstructed from contemporaneous news reports, or were discovered in Orchestra Librarian Kathy Taylor's thorough 2021 reorganization of the orchestra's program collection. A copy of an annotated version of the chronicle, including these missing programs is held in the MSO Archives.  If you are interested in knowing whether a given piece has been played by the MSO since 2001, nearly all of the repertoire we've played on subscription programs is noted on my complete list of program notes. Be aware, however, that this does not include operas, nor does it list repertoire for MSO programs for which I did not write notes (youth concerts, pops programs, outdoor concerts, etc.).  It also lists repertoire for other orchestras for whom I've written notes.  MSO repertoire is listed by season, without the prefixes I've used to designate non-MSO repertoire.  Note that the comprehensive and complete list of repertoire, from 1926 to the present, is currently maintained as an Excel spreadsheet by the MSO administration.  However this listing is not generally available to the public.

Early Madison Civic Music Recordings
I have provided streaming versions of several early (1941-1955) recordings of the orchestra and chorus here.

Feature Articles for the
Wisconsin State Journal
I have also included a couple of extended versions of feature articles written for the Wisconsin State Journal,

last update: 8/15/2022