The Modesto Symphony Orchestra (MSO) was founded in 1931 by Frank Mancini, Malin Langstroth, and Leonard Fristrom, who worked with local leaders to establish a musical and cultural focal point. In its early years, the MSO featured its members as soloists and performed concerts in churches, high schools, and colleges. As the orchestra matured, professional soloists and community choruses performed with the MSO. The 1970’s through 1990’s were a period of transition as the MSO became a fully professional orchestra in 1977. New innovations developed, such as pops concerts, the formation of the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra in 1976, and the first Picnic at the Pops in 1994. The 21st century marked further growth with the formation of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Chorus in 2001, becoming a resident company of the Gallo Center for the Arts when their doors opened in 2007, and the creation of the Modesto Symphony Youth Chorus in 2017.
Each season, the MSO performs five classics concerts and three pops concerts at the Gallo Center for the Arts and produces two community favorites, Picnic at the Pops at the E. & J. Gallo Winery and the Holiday Candlelight Concert at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church. Through its education and outreach programs, the MSO is able to reach over 15,000 students each year by working closely with local schools and providing free or low-cost opportunities to experience classical music.
Today, the Modesto Symphony continues to strive to enrich and enhance the community by bringing music of the highest artistic caliber and fostering lifelong music education and appreciation. The 2021-22 season marks the Symphony’s 91st season and will showcase our Music Director candidates.