VSO - Vermont Symphony OrchestraVSO: The Pride of Vermont

The VSO Brings Classical Music To Vermonters

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra (VSO) holds a special place in the hearts of Vermonters and music enthusiasts alike. Founded with the mission to bring high-quality music to every corner of the state, the VSO has grown to become a cultural beacon. This article delves into the rich history of the VSO, explores the experience of hearing the orchestra perform, outlines the pathway for musicians aspiring to join, details its various programs, explains how to support the orchestra, and provides an overview of its concert schedule.

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Vermont Symphony Orchestra

History of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Vermont Symphony Orchestra

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1934, during the Great Depression, a time when the arts provided much-needed solace and inspiration. The idea was conceived by Alan Carter, a visionary who saw the potential for a professional orchestra in Vermont. Despite the economic hardships, Carter’s determination and the community’s support led to the formation of the VSO, with the first concert held in the Montpelier City Hall in November 1934.

Over the decades, the VSO has evolved and expanded its reach. Under the leadership of several distinguished music directors, including Efrain Guigui, Kate Tamarkin, and Jaime Laredo, the orchestra has flourished. Each director brought unique talents and perspectives, enriching the orchestra’s repertoire and elevating its performance standards. Today, the VSO is celebrated for its artistic excellence and its commitment to engaging and inspiring audiences across Vermont.

The VSO In Concert

Attending a VSO performance is an unforgettable experience. The orchestra performs in various venues across the state, from grand concert halls to intimate outdoor settings, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy their music. The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, the Barre Opera House, and the Paramount Theatre in Rutland are among the regular venues that host the VSO.

The repertoire of the VSO is diverse, ranging from classical masterpieces by Beethoven and Mozart to contemporary works by living composers. The orchestra also collaborates with renowned soloists and guest conductors, enhancing the concert experience. Seasonal events such as the Holiday Pops concerts and the summer Music in the Mountains series attract large audiences, offering a delightful blend of popular and classical music in picturesque settings.

How Musicians May Perform With the VSO

Joining the Vermont Symphony Orchestra is a dream for many musicians. The process is competitive and requires exceptional talent, dedication, and professionalism. Here’s a step-by-step guide for aspiring members:

  • Auditions: The VSO holds auditions as needed to fill vacancies. These auditions are announced on the VSO’s official website and other music industry platforms. Musicians are required to prepare specified excerpts from the orchestral repertoire and perform them before a panel of judges.
  • Preparation: To succeed in the auditions, musicians must demonstrate technical proficiency, musicality, and an understanding of the orchestral style. Regular practice, private lessons, and participation in other orchestras or ensembles can provide valuable experience and preparation.
  • Application: Interested candidates must submit an application, which includes a resume detailing their musical education and experience. Some positions may also require a video submission or other preliminary materials.
  • Callback: Successful candidates from the initial audition may be invited for a callback, where they perform additional excerpts and possibly play with the orchestra in a rehearsal setting.
  • Selection: The final selection is made based on the candidates’ performance during the auditions and callbacks. Those who are chosen will receive an offer to join the VSO, contingent on their acceptance and availability.

VSO Music & Cultural Programs

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra offers a variety of programs designed to engage different segments of the community and foster a love for music. These programs include:

  • Education and Outreach: The VSO is committed to music education and outreach. Programs such as the SymphonyKids bring music to schools, offering interactive performances and workshops that inspire young students. The Green Room series provides opportunities for high school students to attend rehearsals and concerts, gaining insight into the workings of a professional orchestra.
  • Community Engagement: The VSO actively engages with the community through initiatives like the Made in Vermont Statewide Tour, which brings concerts to towns and rural areas that might not have easy access to live orchestral music. These concerts are often held in unconventional venues, creating unique and memorable experiences.
  • Chamber Music: In addition to full orchestra performances, the VSO’s chamber music series showcases smaller ensembles performing a wide range of repertoire. These concerts offer a more intimate listening experience and highlight the versatility and skill of VSO musicians.
  • New Music: The VSO is dedicated to promoting contemporary music and often features works by living composers. The Made in Vermont series, for instance, includes commissions of new pieces that reflect Vermont’s culture and landscape, ensuring that the orchestra remains relevant and innovative.

How Can You Donate to the VSO?

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra relies on the generosity of donors to sustain its operations and continue its mission of bringing music to all Vermonters. There are several ways to support the VSO:

  • Individual Donations: Contributions from individuals are a vital source of funding. Donations can be made online through the VSO’s website, by mail, or by phone. Donors can choose to make one-time gifts or set up recurring donations to provide ongoing support.
  • Corporate Sponsorships: Businesses can support the VSO through sponsorships, which offer marketing and branding opportunities in return. Corporate sponsors are recognized in concert programs, on the VSO website, and at events, helping to enhance their public image while supporting the arts.
  • Planned Giving: Donors can include the VSO in their estate plans, ensuring that their legacy supports the orchestra for future generations. Planned giving options include bequests, charitable remainder trusts, and other financial instruments.
  • Volunteering: In addition to financial contributions, volunteering is another valuable way to support the VSO. Volunteers assist with concert logistics, outreach programs, and administrative tasks, making a significant impact through their time and effort.
  • Fundraising Events: The VSO hosts various fundraising events throughout the year, including gala dinners, silent auctions, and benefit concerts. Attending these events is a great way to support the orchestra while enjoying an evening of entertainment and socializing with fellow music lovers.

VSO Concert Schedule

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s concert schedule is packed with exciting performances throughout the year. The schedule typically includes:

  • Seasonal Concerts: The VSO’s main season runs from fall to spring, featuring a series of classical concerts that showcase the orchestra’s full range of talent. These concerts are held in various venues across the state and often include pre-concert talks or post-concert receptions.
  • Holiday Pops: The Holiday Pops concerts are a beloved tradition, offering festive music and a chance to celebrate the season with family and friends. These concerts feature a mix of holiday classics, sing-alongs, and special guest artists.
  • Music in the Mountains: During the summer, the VSO takes to the outdoors with the Music in the Mountains series. These concerts are held in scenic locations and provide a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere. Audiences can enjoy a picnic while listening to a delightful mix of classical and popular music.
  • Made in Vermont Statewide Tour: This tour brings the VSO to communities throughout Vermont, offering accessible and affordable concerts. The program often includes a mix of classical and contemporary works, showcasing the orchestra’s versatility.
  • Chamber Music Series: The VSO’s chamber music concerts provide an intimate setting for audiences to enjoy performances by smaller ensembles. These concerts are held in venues such as churches, galleries, and private homes, creating a unique and personal experience.
  • Special Events: Throughout the year, the VSO presents special events, including collaborations with other arts organizations, themed concerts, and multimedia performances. These events often feature innovative programming and offer a fresh perspective on orchestral music.

To view the current Vermont Symphony Orchestra performances and purchase tickets visit https://www.vso.org/events/.

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is a cornerstone of Vermont’s cultural landscape, enriching the lives of its residents through outstanding musical performances, educational programs, and community engagement. Whether you’re a lifelong fan or new to orchestral music, the VSO offers something for everyone. By attending concerts, supporting their initiatives, and spreading the word, you can help ensure that the VSO continues to thrive and inspire future generations. For more information about the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and to stay updated on their activities, visit their official website – https://vso.org.


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