The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is as relevant today as it was when its earliest predecessor began in 1880 in the newly formed Province of Manitoba. Then, as today, audiences demanded high quality musical experiences to enliven their lives. Orchestras have always mattered to Manitobans to provide artistic excellence and musical expression.
Today, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is known for its world-class performances, cutting edge productions, innovative live concerts and impactful educational offerings. Tomorrow’s Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra promises to reach the next audience through its critical community engagement and educational outreach programs, and through its continued drive to attract and retain the best musical talent to share its stage.
Not only does the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra matter because of its significant artistic and educational work. It also contributes to community health by fueling local economies, attracting business development, and, through the power of music, uniting individuals and cultures. The WSO expands access to music for people of all ages who might not have a natural comfort with cultural institutions. And the WSO is in demand as part of the solution to the decline in arts education in schools.
The WSO makes a difference in other ways too. It presents time-honored masterworks and new music. The new work reflects our time and can be a catalyst for meaningful conversations. Through programs tied to specific cultures, the WSO connects diverse groups to an art form that resonates with people of all backgrounds. The WSO’s collaborations with community service, educational and artistic organizations create relationships with youth, seniors, and underserved populations. Musicians, staff and volunteers contribute creative capital to the community.
Orchestras are a proven magnet for business, investment and tourism. They infuse love for music in children and studies show that creating, performing, and responding to music improves students’ success. They also foster discipline, teamwork, joy and individual expression in amateur musicians from preschoolers to seniors.
In myriad ways, the WSO matters to the community of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba. For over 130 years the people of this prairie province have demanded and supported orchestral music. With a solid financial and administrative foundation and vibrant artistic direction, the WSO is in a thriving position to continue its mission to provide exceptional musical experiences for Manitobans for generations to come.
*Excerpts from Effective Orchestra Governance: A Guide for Boards. Symphony Magazine, Spring 2016.