The Phoenix Symphony (TPS) is Arizona’s only full-time, professional symphony orchestra and the state’s largest performing arts group. Founded in 1947 as a part-time orchestra in a city of fewer than 100,000 people, the Phoenix Symphony performed at Phoenix Union High School for the first 25 years of its existence. The Symphony came of age in 1972 when it moved into the newly built Symphony Hall and hired Mexico City native Eduardo Mata as conductor. In 1983, the orchestra achieved full-time status. Throughout the years, there have been many celebratory milestones. In 1989 when TPS named James Sedares as director, he became the youngest music director in any major symphony in America. In 1992, TPS, under his leadership recorded an album of the music of Aaron Copland and earned many accolades from the music industry, including an ECHO Award, continental Europe’s equivalent of the Grammy award.
In February 2014, the Symphony hired Tito Muñoz as its 11th music director and the orchestra continues to receive praise and opportunities through his leadership and vision. The Phoenix Symphony’s programs feature world-renowned conductors and guest artists performing classical, chamber and pops concerts, as well as performances for families and children. The national and international recognition the orchestra has achieved in recent years has helped attract many of the world’s top musicians to the Valley. Guest artists over the years have included Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Evelyn Glennie, Isaac Stern, Placido Domingo, Itzhak Perlman, and Anne-Sophie Mutter. Pop artists have included Marvin Hamlisch, Sandy Duncan, Bobby McFerrin, Andrea Marcovicci, Flash Cadillac, and Mark O’Connor.
The Symphony aspires to perform live symphonic music of excellence, beauty, and vitality at a consistently high level and to address the needs of communities throughout the Valley, meeting their needs through music-based programs. Concerts follow a selection of seasonal programs - Classics, Pops, and special presentations; designed to attract a diverse audience.
In addition to our mainstage concerts, The Phoenix Symphony Learning Institute operates a varied group of programs that reach over 125,000 students, adults, and families every year. Programs cover many other activities, including school-based concerts, a cross-cultural music residency with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and a professional development model to train teachers and Symphony musicians in how to teach and assess STEM concepts through music. Our B-Sharp Music Wellness Initiative provides live, interactive performances presented by Symphony musicians in healthcare settings and homeless outreach centers.
The orchestra participates in collaborative efforts with organizations such as Ballet Arizona, AZ Science Center, Arizona Theatre Company, Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Bach Choir and Boys Choir, and Arizona State University.
For more information call 602-495-1999.
Music Directors of The Phoenix Symphony:
John Barnett: 1947 - 1948
Robert Lawrence: 1949 - 1951
Leslie Hodge: 1952 - 1958
Guy Taylor: 1959 - 1968
Philip Spurgeon: 1969 - 1971
Eduardo Mata: 1972 - 1978
Theo Alcantara: 1978 - 1988
James Sedares: 1989 - 1995
Hermann Michael: 1997 - 2004
Michael Christie: 2005 - 2013