We seek to inspire, entertain, and educate the Central Indiana community through music—a universal language of the human experience.
Music Connects Us All
Founded in 1930 the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is one of the leading orchestras in the nation with its commitment to artistic excellence and its ambitious approaches to music education, performance, and collaboration.
The orchestra provides an extensive selection of musical programs inside and outside its historic Hilbert Circle Theatre home.History
Commitment to Community
The Learning Community delivers a spectrum of programs serving the community, reaching 80,000+ people per year.
- Teddy Bear Series introduces preschool and kindergarten students to the orchestra through story, movement, and live music, and has produced two picture books.
- Discovery Concerts are designed so children in grades 3–6 have the chance to hear a live orchestra.
- Classical Jam with the ISO allows adults the chance to play with the ISO on stage. A conductor leads a rehearsal with guests and ISO members playing side by side before a performance.
- Words on Music, before each Classical concert, provides behind-the-curtain perspective from musicians, conductors, guest artists, and community hosts.
Side-by-Side and the Michael Ben & Illene Komisarow Maurer Young Musicians Contest
More than 1,000 talented students have shared the Hilbert Circle Theatre stage with their professional counterparts since Side-by-Side began in 1991. Students are auditioned and coached by members of the ISO. The result is a concert featuring the 100+ piece orchestra of students and professionals. Likewise, the Michael Ben & Illene Komisarow Maurer Young Musicians Contest encourages accomplished young Indiana musicians (through grade 12) by providing an opportunity to perform in a competitive setting. The winner of the Young Musicians Contest performs their prizewinning concerto with the ISO during the Side-by-Side concert.
Metropolitan Youth Orchestra
MYO was founded in 1996 by Artistic Director Betty Perry and became a program of the ISO in 2008. Currently, under the direction of Krystle Ford, MYO serves more than 200 students and their families each year—developing musical and life skills. A parent/guardian learns a stringed instrument alongside their student for the first several years.
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra believes in inviting human connection through music.
To realize this vision, the ISO makes decisions with equity and belonging at the heart of our practice. In so doing, we build a stronger and more sustainable organization with the ability to create inclusiveness through music. In this practice, we use music to bridge gaps of understanding and connection in our society, holistically increase the diversity within our organization, and deepen our collective creative perspectives.
We endeavor to model practices of diversity, inclusion and equity in all that we do, including programming, people and culture, and community building. Through these practices, we will build a universal sense of belonging for all who connect with the ISO.
For the ISO, diversity refers to various aspects of identity, including but not limited to: race and ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, different abilities, religion/faith, and the many other aspects of personal and group identity that make us unique. We will make programming choices through a focused lens of acceptance and equity, using music to amplify underrepresented voices within our Central Indiana community. The ISO is committed to engaging with and putting these voices center stage, and recognizes this is the first of many steps in our process to become an inclusive organization.
People and Culture
The ISO commits to increasing the racial diversity of our musicians, volunteers, staff and board, and to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all. We recognize this will require us to examine and unlearn pre-existing methods and procedures that have been exclusionary. The ISO acknowledges the many and varied forms of historical and current discrimination present in our society. We will name the explicit role racism and other forms of oppression have played in the classical music industry in order to become an actively anti-racist institution.
The needs of our Central Indiana community inform everything we do. It is our role as a 21st-century orchestra to use music to examine and challenge inequities, and also to uplift our community and instill unity, across all backgrounds and identities. We are all enriched when we connect through music and learn from each other, and we commit to exploring all cultures, artists and works. By recognizing and appreciating varying cultures and musical traditions found in Central Indiana, we expand the ISO’s reach, relevance, and vitality.
Collectively, we are committed to making the necessary shifts in perspective that allow the ISO to learn, transform, and lead, while engaging and learning from our community. Orchestral music inspires and connects. The ISO will be with you when our community rejoices, when we lament, and when we heal.