Michigan’s Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra is marking its 100th birthday with a year of events, beginning in 2021 and continuing through the end of the current season. The orchestra was founded in 1921 by Leta Snow, who believed the Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan community would benefit from an orchestra that could bring musical experiences into their lives. Snow—who’s been described as Kalamazoo’s “patron saint of fine music”—would later convene a meeting in Chicago of representatives from 40 U.S. orchestras that would lead to the founding of the League of American Orchestras in 1942. In marking 100 years, the Kalamazoo Symphony is looking past—and forward. This season, the KSO performed the North American premiere of Chilean composer Enrique’s Soro’s 1921 Sinfonia Romántica, in a new critical edition by Music Director Julian Kuerti. Other highlights include the June 4 world premiere of André Previn’s Concerto for Orchestra, which was commissioned to mark the orchestra’s 100th year and will be recorded on the Naxos label. Celebrations conclude on June 18 with an evening of stories and symphonic highlights from the orchestra’s first century.
Caption: The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra has come a long way since its founding in 1921. Above, the orchestra in 1924.