For the last thirty-seven years, the Missouri Symphony Society (MOSS) has dedicated itself to providing musical performances of the highest caliber and to educating central Missouri youth in the area of music.
Since its founding in 1970 by Hugo and Lucy Vianello, the not-for-profit Society has evolved from its sponsorship of such ensembles as the Missouri Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Missouri Youth Band, and the Missouri Youth Chorus to sponsorship of mid-Missouri’s only professional resident symphony orchestra, the Missouri Symphony Orchestra. This ensemble is comprised of professional musicians from throughout the United States and around the world, and provides a popular eight-week summer music festival during the months of June and July.
The Missouri Symphony Orchestra has established a reputation for musical excellence and has continued to expand its audience through chamber music outreach programs, youth programs, and tours around the state and beyond. Many distinguished artists have performed with the Missouri Symphony Orchestra, including Andre Watts, Andreas Klein, Nelson Padgett, and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg.
In 1993, MOSS produced its first compact disc featuring the works of Mozart performed by the Missouri Symphony Orchestra in the Missouri Theatre under the direction of Conductor Laureate Hugo Vianello. Its second CD featured the works of Haydn and was produced in 1998, also under the direction of Maestro Vianello. The recording of both CDs was made possible through the generosity of Dr. Harry H. and Lina M. Berrier.
Most recently, the Missouri Symphony Society, in partnership with the Boone Hospital Foundation and under the direction of Maestro Kirk Trevor with the Missouri Symphony Orchestra, produced two more compact discs entitled Soothing Sounds of the Classics and Sounds of the Classics in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
MOSS purchased the 1209-seat Missouri Theatre in 1987 to serve as the home venue for the orchestra. (It currently seats 1,187.) Built in 1928, the theatre is central Missouri’s only pre-Depression era movie palace/vaudeville stage and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It continues to serve not only as the home of the Missouri Symphony Society, but also as a performing arts venue for other arts groups, hosting events like the annual Mozart-Higday Music Trust series, the Columbia Civic Orchestra, the “We Always Swing” Jazz Series, the Boone Heritage Foundation Ragtime Festival, and First Night Columbia. As steward of this historic landmark, the Missouri Symphony Society has made the preservation and restoration of this magnificent building part of its mission.
The Missouri Theatre has welcomed many world-class artists to its stage, including the following:
- Frederica Von Stade
- Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
- Leontyne Price
- Christopher Parkening
- The King’s Singers
- Alicia de Larrocha
- Franco Gulli
- Beaux Arts Trio
- Samuel Ramey
- Ruth Slenczynska
- Shura Cherkassky
- Elmar Oliveira
- Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg
- Chick Corea
- Branford Marsalis
- Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg
- Thomas Hampson
After much success in the last several years, the Missouri Symphony Society continues to produce special events and bring movies to the Missouri Theatre big screen year-round at the historic downtown theater. During June and July, the Missouri Symphony Society presents its Hot Summer Nights Music Festival featuring the professional musicians of the Missouri Symphony Orchestra. MOSS continues the tradition of presenting the best in classical music with the very popular Classical & Pops Series concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings, the Family Concert Series which is perfect for all members of the family, and the widely acclaimed Chamber Recital Series.