About the Orchestra

Now in its 53rd season, the American Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski, with a mission of making orchestral music accessible and affordable for everyone. Music Director Leon Botstein expanded that mission when he joined the ASO in 1992, creating thematic concerts that explore music from the perspective of the visual arts, literature, religion, and history, and reviving rarely-performed works that audiences would otherwise never have a chance to hear performed live.

The orchestra’s Vanguard Series, which includes these themed programs as well as an opera-in-concert and a celebration of an American composer, consists of six concerts annually at Carnegie Hall. ASO goes in-depth with three familiar symphonies each season in the popular series Classics Declassified at Peter Norton Symphony Space, and has an upstate home at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, where it performs in an annual subscription series as well as Bard’s SummerScape Festival and the Bard Music Festival. The orchestra has made several tours of Asia and Europe, and has performed in countless benefits for organizations including the Jerusalem Foundation and PBS.

Many of the world’s most accomplished soloists have performed with the ASO, including Yo-Yo Ma, Deborah Voigt, and Sarah Chang. The orchestra has released several recordings on the Telarc, New World, Bridge, Koch, and Vanguard labels, and many live performances are also available for digital download. In many cases, these are the only existing recordings of some of the rare works that have been rediscovered in ASO performances.