Hopkins Symphony Orchestra Turns 30

Composed of Hopkins undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members, the HSO is celebrating its 30th year.

By A&S Magazine

Photography by Will Kirk

The lights dim, the murmuring of the audience fades to quiet, and, after a few silent anticipatory seconds, the wind, string, and brass instruments strike the first festive notes of Petrouchka. This is the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra beginning its Annual Concert for Children and Families, a free performance that draws hundreds. Composed of Hopkins undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members, the HSO is celebrating its 30th year. Musicians performing in HSO concerts each year are chosen by competitive audition. This year, almost 130 musicians are on the roster, and about 50 of them are Hopkins undergraduate students. Music director Jed Gaylin says the orchestra is dedicated to performing and promoting orchestral and chamber music from the standard and contemporary repertoires at a high artistic level.

Image Gallery


Listen to HSO perform Scene 1 of Stravinsky’s Petrouchka

  • Jerry Chariton

    In my freshman year at JHU (1959-60), there also was a Hopkins Symphony Orchestra which I joined (comprised of undergraduates, graduates and faculty). I did not join my second year because I was too busy trying to graduate in three years. The quality of musicians was high. I had been a member of PA’s All State Orchestra in high school and thought that I was a fair violin player. But, I deservedly was placed way back in the section (I can’t remember whether it was the first or second section of violins).

    So if I was in the Orchestra in 1959-60, approximately 52 years ago, the orchestra had to disband at some point prior to 1982 if the current orchestra only traces its roots back 30 years.

    • Ian Mathias

      Hi Jerry,
      You’re right — different incarnations of an orchestra on campus occurred prior to 1980, including the Hopkins Orchestra and the Goucher-Hopkins Orchestra. After the disbanding of the Goucher-Hopkins Orchestra in 1978, Hopkins Symphony Orchestra relaunched in 1981 with consistent administrative and school support, resulting in the orchestra we have now. Thanks for pointing out that orchestral music has been a part of the Homewood experience for much longer!