Mission Statement

"To Inspire & Change Lives Through Musical Excellence"


About the Dallas Symphony Orchestra:

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is the largest performing arts organization in the Southwest United States and committed to inspiring the broadest possible audience with distinctive classical programs, inventive pops concerts and innovative multi-media presentations.

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra traces its origins back to a concert given by a group of forty musicians in 1900 with conductor Hans Kreissig. German born Kreissig studied composition and conducting with Arthur Sullivan in London and was accompanist to the English cornet player Jules Levy. He left for the States in 1883, as part of a touring opera company and settled in Dallas one year later, where he made a living teaching piano and organ as well as directing church choirs. This was a period of huge growth in the city which profited from being a railroad hub for transportation from East to West. From a small agricultural community, the city grew in numbers and financial standing, bringing with it a more affluent population and an interest in the arts.

The orchestra, like the city, evolved in both size and stature until it was in a position to appoint the eminent Hungarian conductor and composer Antal Doráti as its Music Director in 1945.  Doráti transformed the ensemble into a fully professional orchestra that won national attention through a series of RCA recordings, expanded repertoire, more concerts and several national network radio broadcasts. It was also under Doráti that the Dallas Symphony Orchestra recorded Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Arthur Rubinstein and Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with Yehudi Menuhin (both on RCA) and gave the North American premiere of Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle in concert in 1949.

Subsequent Music Directors have included Walter Hendl (1949-1958), Sir Georg Solti (1961-1962), Anshel Brusilow (1970-1973), Max Rudolf (1973-1974), Eduardo Mata (1977-1993) and Andrew Litton (1994-2006).

When Mexican-born Eduardo Mata was appointed Music Director in 1977, the orchestra enjoyed its second major period of growth and success. Under Mata’s guidance the ensemble benefited from recording contracts with both RCA and Dorian, prominent national engagements in New York and Washington, as well as touring in Europe and South America. During his tenure the Dallas Symphony Orchestra also saw the opening in 1989 of its permanent home, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center which has since become an iconic architectural and acoustical landmark in the United States, designed by the award-winning team of I.M. Pei, Russell Johnson and Artec.

The orchestra continued to flourish under the dynamic leadership of Jaap van Zweden who took the helm as Music Director in 2008. Van Zweden led internationally acclaimed performances and championed the music of composers John Luther Adams, Philip Glass, Jennifer Higdon, Poul Rouders and Conrad Tao, amongst others. He conducted the world premiere performance and recording of Steven Stucky's concert drama August 4, 1964, for which Stucky was nominated for a GRAMMY® Award. Jaap van Zweden was named Musical America Conductor of the Year 2012 in recognition of his work as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and as guest conductor with the most prestigious U.S. orchestras.  For the Dallas Symphony's DSO Live record label he has recorded the symphonies of Tchaikovsky (Nos. 4 and 5), Beethoven (Nos. 5 and 7) Mahler (Nos. 3 & 6) and Dvořák (Symphony No. 9). He completed his ten-year tenure at the DSO in May 2018, and the 2018/19 season marks his first as the 26th Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. 

On June 4, 2018, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra named Fabio Luisi as its next Music Director.