The only symphony orchestra on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra (MSO), is celebrating 20 years of bringing enchantment to audiences from Ocean City, MD to Wye Mills, MD. This year, in celebration of its 20th year, the MSO will also host a special performance at the French Embassy in Washington, DC and at the Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, MD. In addition, the orchestra will perform across the Eastern Shore at the Historic Avalon Theatre, Christ Church and Church of God, all in Easton, MD; the Community Church in Ocean Pines, MD; the Mariner’s Bethel Church in Ocean View, DE; and the Ocean City Performing Arts Center within the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD.
According to Maestro Julien Benichou, “The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is on the move and we are proud of the program we have developed for our 20th Anniversary, ‘Reaching Ever Higher!’ season. Our fall program kicks off with ‘East and West of the Rhine’ concerts in late September and early October, featuring the music of Ernest Chausson, Camille Saint-Saéns, Maurice Ravel, and Johannes Brahms.”
Highlights throughout the year include an “Autumn Legends” concert in early November showcasing the works of Vivaldi, Haydn, and Alwyn. Audiences can ring in the holiday season with “Holiday Joy,” in early December celebrating the spirit of the holidays with traditional seasonal favorites. The orchestra’s “Toast to the New Year” will celebrate the New Year with revelry and music on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. For the first year, the MSO will present a February concert, “A Roaring Movies Valentine,” featuring music from the Roaring Twenties and silent pictures. In March, the orchestra will premiere a commission from composer Camila Agosto, a highly inspiring and creative young artist whose music blends acoustic and multimedia elements, in “In Their Twenties,” along with the music of Mozart and Bizet composed when they were also in their twenties. The season finale in April, “Heavenly Music: Mahler, Janice Chandler, and Leon Fleisher,” is a concert not to be missed, including a culminating performance featuring pianist Leon Fleisher.
Jeffrey Parker, President of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, comments, “Few communities our size can boast, or sustain, such a cultural undertaking, and although very challenging, we have managed throughout the years with the continuous support of our dedicated and growing audience.”
The MSO’s mission is “to enrich life in the Mid-Atlantic region through the power of live classical music.” The orchestra performed its first concert, under the direction of founder and Music Director Donald Buxton, at the Ocean City Convention Center on November 21, 1997. Maestro Buxton conducted the orchestra until June 2005. Under his tutelage, the MSO established itself as the provider of quality symphonic music throughout the multistate peninsula. In September 2005, Maestro Julien Benichou assumed the role of MSO Music Director. Benichou, a native of France, has been thrilling audiences with his innovative programming, graceful and expressive style of conducting, and spontaneous communications from the podium. As a testament to the caliber of the orchestra today, in June 2008, the MSO was invited to perform a pops concert sponsored by the Freeman Foundations. Since then, the MSO has opened the Freeman Stage’s performance season every year in June and performed the closing concert of the Freeman Stage season on Labor Day weekend.
The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Talbot County Arts Council, the Worcester County Arts Council, Sussex County, Delaware and the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Inc.