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The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is a major American symphony orchestra based in Baltimore, Maryland. History Founded in 1916, the Baltimore Symphony was initially a branch of the municipal government. In 1942 the Orchestra became a private institution. That reorganization was the first of several upgrades in budget and the more intangible concept of "status." Joseph Meyerhoff, who became the President of the Board in 1965, inaugurated the most significant of those expansions, taking the organization from being an ill-organized and woefully underfunded part-time group of regional players to a 52-week nationally-ranked ensemble. His partner in that process was Music Director Sergiu Comissiona, who combined noticeably higher standards of music-making from what had gone before with palpable celebrity appeal. The next Music Director, David Zinman, supported by then-Executive Director John Gidwitz, solidified and expanded the gains that the orchestra had made in the prior two decades. This included making several international tours, developing an acclaimed radio broadcast series, and issuing a large number of recordings on major labels, including several recordings of music by contemporary Americans composers on the Argo label. The orchestra did much to put Michael Torke ("Color Music") before the public. The Baltimore Symphony became the first American orchestra to tour behind the Iron Curtain since the 1970s (notably bringing audiences to their feet with encores of Twist and Shout). Zinman in particular pursued many innovative programming concepts, and helped introduce new music to audiences by interviewing composers on stage. Comissiona, Zinman, and his successor Yuri Temirkanov all contributed to the orchestra's significant growth and international reputation. Maestra Marin Alsop is the current Music Director of the BSO. In 2005, she was named Temirkanov's successor, thus becoming the first woman in history to lead a major American orchestra. (Joann Falletta, music director, of the Buffalo Philharmonic, was actually the first woman to lead a major American orchestra.) Alsop became BSO's Music Director Designate in the 2006-2007 concert season, and she assumed the post beginning with the 2007–2008 season. At first, her appointment created controversy between the board of directors and the orchestra players, the latter feeling their concerns were not addressed in the process of hiring a new music director. The Baltimore Symphony primarily performs in the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Its secondary venue is at the Music Centre at Strathmore, 50 miles away in Montgomery County, Maryland. Gidwitz's last initiative was the construction of Strathmore Hall. Accomplished with funding from the State of Maryland, Montgomery County, and major corporations based in that county, in addition to the Orchestra’s Board of Trustees, it makes the Baltimore Symphony increasingly accessible to the important Washington, D.C. suburbs, which had been the National Symphony Orchestra's traditional base. Music Directors * 1917-1930 Gustav Strube * 1930-1935 George Siemonn * 1935-1937 Ernest Schelling * 1937-1939 Werner Janssen * 1939-1942 Howard Barlow * 1942-1952 Reginald Stewart * 1952-1959 Massimo Freccia * 1959-1968 Peter Herman Adler * 1969-1984 Sergiu Comissiona * 1985-1998 David Zinman * 1999-2006 Yuri Temirkanov * 2007-Present Marin Alsop Read more on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.