The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association grew from a community effort led by the dream of Brooks Morris, the orchestra's founder and first conductor. Since its inception in 1925, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra has grown to become one of the most successful orchestras of its size in the United States, with an annual budget of $10.1 million. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra is under the artistic leadership of Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya.
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra remains an integral part of the local community, presenting a 52 week season, comprised of American Airlines Symphonic Series concerts, Star-Telegram Pops Series concerts, Concerts In The Garden Summer Music Festival, an annual Composer Festival, numerous orchestra special presentations, including the traditional New Year's Eve and Messiah concerts, as well as free community programs. In addition, the FWSO is the principal orchestra for the Fort Worth Opera, the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet and the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Oratorio Chorus.
The Orchestra also participates in many local activities which reach thousands of first-time listeners, including free performances at Mayfest each year. The Orchestra's youth education activities include interactive children's concerts and participation in Imagination Celebration, a national children's arts festival. During the season, the FWSO performs over 200 concerts for more than 285,000 people.
The symphony serves as the host orchestra for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition which receives worldwide attention via radio and television broadcasts of the competition's finals. In 1994, the symphony hosted the first preliminary round of the Tokyo International Conducting Competition ever to be held in the United States. The Symphony has received tremendous acclaim by performing with Van Cliburn in 1990 and 2000 and Luciano Pavarotti in 1992, as well as for its recording with Peter Nero. The Wrangler Award-winning Prairie Portrait CD, released in January 2000, features the FWSO with Don Edwards, Waddie Mitchell and Rich O'Brien and celebrates the sesquicentennial of Fort Worth.
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association and all orchestra activities are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, headed by Chairman William P. Hallman, Jr., Co-Chairman Mrs. Sid R. Bass, and President Mrs. Mark L. Hart, Jr., and a 35-member Executive Committee. Additional volunteer leadership comes from the 350-member Symphony League of Fort Worth, Inc., Dr. Audrey Remley, President. Administrative support is provided by a staff of 28 full-time employees, led by Executive Director Ann Koonsman. In Koonsman's 22-year tenure, the Orchestra has established an endowment of $23 million, with a goal of $30 million, and has successfully completed the transition into its new home, the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall, which opened in May 1998.
Biography of Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Music Director