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over 20 years old, will be superseded by a much more exhaustively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.
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
I have also included a couple of extended versions of feature
articles written for the Wisconsin State Journal,