Helena Symphony Orchestra

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Helena Symphony Orchestra (HSO)
official logo
Founded 1955
Location Helena, Montana
Concert hall Helena Civic Center
Principal conductor Allan R. Scott
Website www.helenasymphony.org

The Helena Symphony Orchestra (HSO) is an American orchestra based in Helena, Montana. The mission of the Helena Symphony and Chorale is to provide classical music of the highest quality in live performances for the greater Helena community. They strive to create community through music; to expand symphonic musical experiences in public and private education; and to provide professional management and fiscal stability.[1] Founded in 1955,[2] the Helena Symphony plays the majority of its concerts at the grand Helena Civic Center and in the summer performs at Carroll College presenting their annual free Summer Symphony to thousands of listeners. The music director is Allan R. Scott.

The population of Helena is 30,000; it would appear that about half that number were in attendance. This orchestra, which is led by Allan Scott, has an annual budget of just over $600,000, but they don't lack for adventure; they recently played Nielsen's Inextinguishable, and they are completing a Mahler cycle with the Symphony of a Thousand, Mahler's Symphony No. 8 being performed in May of 2012.


Concert Season[edit]

Regular Season[edit]

The Helena Symphony and Chorale performs ten concerts on average in a season that lasts from September to May. Three of those concerts include Christmas specials with a Cathedral of St. Helena performance and two performances of the Nutcracker with the Queen City Ballet in the Helena Civic Center. The symphony and chorale also performs a summer special that draws nearly 15,000 people to the Carroll College lawn for a free pops sort of concert. Exciting, challenging, and invigorating music is always a guarantee at their concerts.

Symphony Under the Stars[edit]

2008 Symphony under the Stars

The Symphony Under the Stars is a continuation of the Montana Summer Symphony, in which musicians from all the state's orchestras collaborated. The free concert now consists of Helena Symphony Orchestra and Chorale members. The concert is grabbing national attention as it is given a finale with fireworks for the entire Helena valley and city to enjoy. The fireworks display is one of the largest in the state. Past shows have included "Best of Bernstein," kicked off with a riveting performance of Rhapsody in Blue and a fireworks display to 1812 Overture. In 2006 was a performance of famous movie themes, and in 2008 was the playing of Gustav Holst's The Planets narrated by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and ending with a fireworks finale to "Star Wars Theme". The 2011 concert will present music from the Harlem Renaissance including Duke Ellington and more.


Allan R. Scott, Music Director[edit]

Maestro Allan R. Scott is one of North America’s most dynamic young figures in symphonic music and opera. He is widely recognized for his innovative approach to programming, dynamic vision, and ability to elicit top-notch performances from his players. As the subject of SYMPHONY Magazine’s article “Big Sounds, Big Dreams,” Maestro Scott was acknowledged for his “large orchestra view” noting, “under Scott’s leadership the quality of the orchestra’s playing has skyrocketed.”

Last season, Maestro Scott garnered significant critical and popular praise while making a sensational international debut with the Christchurch Symphony of New Zealand. With performances of Dvořák’s New World Symphony and Copland’s Appalachian Spring, the New Zealand National Radio offered effusive praise of the American conductor declaring, “Maestro Scott is as intoxicating as you could wish” and highlighted his “all-too-rare feeling of risk-taking spontaneity.”

Since 2003, Maestro Scott has served as Music Director of the Helena Symphony, an 80-member orchestra and 100-voice symphonic chorus. With the Helena Symphony, Maestro Scott has increased audiences over 400% and more than tripled the annual budget while developing a fine regional professional orchestra. Each summer with the Helena Symphony, Maestro Scott leads one of the nation’s largest summer performances with Symphony Under the Stars, attracting an audience of more than 15,000.

Dividing his time between residences in Helena and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia native begins his ninth season as Music Director of Pennsylvania’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony. A regional professional orchestra located in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony serves audiences in the Greater Philadelphia area and is now recognized among the finest regional professional orchestras in the Philadelphia area.

Acknowledged by the Main Line Times for “splendidly realizing the awesome spiritual power of the score,” Maestro Scott has become most closely associated with the works of Gustav Mahler. Completing a cycle of the composer’s symphonic works with the Helena Symphony, Maestro Scott’s critically praised performances culminate with Mahler’s colossal Eighth Symphony as the final installment in 2012. Maestro Scott is an exponent of diverse and creative programming, leading dozens of premiere performances, including the recent premiere of Robert Kapilow’s Summer Sun, Winter Moon, composed and performed as part of the national commemoration of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial, featured subject of a 2009 PBS documentary.

Guest appearances for the Maestro Scott include assignments with orchestras and opera companies world-wide, including the Christchurch Symphony of New Zealand, Ogontz Music Festival Orchestra, Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, Pottstown Symphony Orchestra, Firelands Symphony Orchestra, Wilmington Ballet, Manhattan School of Music Orchestra, and the Pacific Institute Symphony & Chorus.

In previous seasons he also served as Music Director of Philadelphia’s Main Line Philomusica Orchestra & Chorus, Music Director of the Rocky Mountain Youth Orchestra and Artistic Director of Colorado’s New Artists Philharmonic, where he was awarded the lifetime post of Conductor Laureate.

Maestro Scott developed his artistry under the guidance of some of the most prolific conductors of our time including Seiji Ozawa and Charles Dutoit. He further refined his craft with Luis Biava, Zdenék Macal, Sir David Willcocks, and Jorge Mester at renowned institutions, among them the Tanglewood Music Center, California Conducting Institute, The Keene Music Festival, Ogontz Music Festival, and the Conducting Institute of South Carolina.

As the Independent Record attested, “Maestro Scott is on a mission to bring music to the people, and if his music is as infectious as he is, then it’s only a matter of time.”

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Maestro Allan R. Scott (2009-08-02). "About Us". Time. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  2. ^ Wikipedia Authors (2009-08-02). "Music of Montana". Time. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  3. ^ Alex Ross (2008-03-18). "Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise". Time. Retrieved 2009-04-17.