The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra promotes a lifelong appreciation of music through the performance of the orchestral repertoire and outreach to the community in Bloomington and south-central Indiana.
Board of Directors:
Audrey Jo Williams, President
Marianne Ritter, Vice President
Emma Gao, Treasurer
Lindsay Bobyak, Secretary
Carl Weinberg, Immediate Past President
Music Directors of the BSO:
1969-1972 Geoffrey Simon
1972-1975 E. Kent Hart
1975-1981 Keith Brown
1981-1987 Carl Fuerstner
1987-1995 David Pickett
1995-2000 Stephen Pratt
2000-2002 Ho-Man Choi
2002-2004 Leonardo Panigada
2005-2007 Christopher Ludwa
2007-2013 Charles Latshaw
2013-2014 Nicholas Hersh
2014 – 2016 Adam Bodony
2016 – Present Alejandro Gomez Guillen
The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra was founded during the winter of 1969-1970 by Geoffrey Simon, a graduate student from Melbourne, Australia, who came to study conducting at the Indiana University School of Music in the fall of 1969.
Concerned about the lack of performance opportunities for the people of Bloomington, Simon requested permission from the Dean of the IU School of Music, Wilfred Bain, to form a community symphony orchestra. Simon envisioned an orchestra open to all serious musicians regardless of their vocations, and it has remained thus.
Simon recruited players from Bloomington and surrounding areas, and today the 85 musicians comprising the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra come from Carmel, Martinsville, Nashville, Bedford, and Columbus as well as from the Bloomington area. Two musicians who answered the original call and played in the opening concert on May 7, 1970 have remained with the orchestra through the years: violist David McIntosh and bassist Edwin Greenebaum.
The first public concert was performed on May 7, 1970 at the Binford Junior High School with a complement of 56 musicians. The program consisted of Nikolai’s overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor, Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf (with narration by David McIntosh) and Saint-Saens’s Concerto in a Minor for Cello and Orchestra with soloist Christoph Henkel, a student of Janos Starker. The concert concluded with Haydn’s Symphony No. 101 in D.
On the occasion of the orchestra’s First Birthday concert on March 2, 1971, the Herald-Telephone reviewer Ron Reinoehl said, “In the year since Simon founded the orchestra by printing signs asking people to join, the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra has come a long way. It represents an important achievement for all concerned… through their efforts Bloomington’s cultural atmosphere has become more invigorating, with a healthy infusion from the community itself, rather than through something superimposed from the outside.” Reinoehl’s comments are still appropriate today.
The orchestra presented three concerts during its first season, one of which was a concert for children. The Children’s Concert, free and open to the public, has continued each season.
In the second season the programs were expanded to four concerts, and orchestra personnel grew to approximately 60 players. At the close of the 1971-72 season, Geoffrey Simon completed his studies at the IU School of Music and left for further conducting studies in Europe.
Today the BSO performs eight concerts per season and continues its great tradition of musical success.