The origins of MIT Symphony Orchestra (MITSO) date back as far as 1884 when the first MIT Tech Orchestra appeared on campus along with the Banjo and Glee Clubs. The orchestra disbanded and re-appeared several times over the years that followed until 1947, when Klaus Liepmann (1907-1990), MIT’s first full-time professor of music and founder of the music program, became director of the MIT Glee Club, the Symphony and the Choral Society.
The central mission of the MIT Symphony Orchestra is the cultural enhancement of education at MIT by promoting music performance at the highest level of artistic excellence among MIT students, by nurturing new works and young artists, by developing and sustaining the widest possible audience. The orchestra’s repertoire consists of works from the entire symphonic canon, spanning works of the early Baroque era to contemporary compositions, and including music for film and theatre.
Compositions by MIT faculty are also part of MITSO’s repertoire. The orchestra recently recorded Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique, and has participated in masterclasses with Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Roger Norrington, and Nicholas McGegan. Frequent collaborations with other ensembles such as the MIT Concert Choir, the theater program, with members of the faculty and performances by MITSOlite, a chamber orchestra comprised of MITSO members, are also part of MITSO’s activities.
The students in the MIT Symphony Orchestra come from a variety of fields including: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Biology, Mathematics, Brain & Cognitive Sciences, Nuclear Science and Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Management, Architecture, and Materials Science & Engineering.