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Kids learn about the elements of music with the Hunt Quartet.
Greg Anderson Photo

The Madison Symphony Orchestra is dedicated to providing outstanding educational and community engagement opportunities throughout south-central Wisconsin. Reaching more than 25,000 children and adults each year, we engage music enthusiasts of all ages and abilities through our partnerships with schools, community centers and assisted living facilities. Join us as we continue our musical journey to enrich, engage and inspire!

Studies show that young people educated in music will hold a lifelong appreciation for the art. They are, after all, our next generation of musicians and audiences. We believe the MSO's commitment to enriching musical education plays a part in the future of the art form. Students interact directly with professional musicians in instruction that is tailored to fit their ages and interests. Best of all, they get to listen to music the way it was meant to be heard...live!

The Arts Education Initiative is a multi-year, interdisciplinary program, which builds students’ skills and knowledge in the visual and performing arts and teachers' skills on integrating arts within classroom curriculum. This project is a pilot program, the first such model implemented by Overture Center and Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) in partnership with with five of Madison's premier arts organizations: Children’s Theater of Madison, Madison Ballet, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison Opera, and Madison Symphony Orchestra. See the exciting video here!

Our nationally recognized Up Close & Musical® Program is provided free of charge to participating schools and assists teachers in meeting the Wisconsin State Model Academic Standards for Music. Our Guest Artist Outreach Program brings our world-class soloists into the schools and the UW for master classes. And Director of Education and Community Engagement Michelle Kaebisch visits schools to provide master classes, clinics and sectionals through our Educator on Call Program.

The internationally recognized HeartStrings Program takes the healing power of music to children and adults with special needs, while our Prelude Discussions and Free Open Dress Rehearsals bring the community into Overture Hall to experience the heart of the music. And our Meet the Musician series introduces the instruments of the Symphony to children and their parents at the Madison Children's Museum.

Classical music was meant to be heard live, and that's just what the students of south-central Wisconsin get to do with our Fall Youth Concerts for elementary school students, Spring Young People's Concert for middle and high school students, and Symphony Soup for K-3 graders.

The Fall Youth Concerto Competition is designed for students aged 8-14, helping young artists gain poise and confidence and the winners play before their peers at the Fall Youth Concerts.
The Bolz Young Artist Competition and Final Forte brings high school artists from across the state to Madison for a concerto competition that ends with Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte, a free concert in Overture Hall with John DeMain, the MSO and an audience of thousands through Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television broadcasts. The winners perform for their peers at the Spring Young People's Concert.

Here, you'll find the most recent editions of our Score Newsletter along with information about J. Michael Allsen's Program Notes, a musical terms glossary, and links to other musical resources on the web.