About the VSO | History, Mission, and Vision Statement


In the fall of 1934, a visionary Alan Carter gathered Vermont’s scattered musical forces to form the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.  He remained music director for 40 years.  

Historic_rehearsal.pngFrom the start, the VSO was extraordinary.  While most orchestras originate in a single city, the VSO dedicated itself to traveling to any gymnasium, armory, or hillside where an audience could be found.  The musicians, whose numbers included barbers, mail carriers, doctors, teachers and farmers, came from all across the state to rehearse and perform.  In 1939 the VSO became the nation’s first state-supported orchestra when the legislature provided funds for a performance at the New York World’s Fair.

The reins of music director have changed hands only four times.  Alan Carter, Efrain Guigui and Kate Tamarkin each played a major role in advancing the orchestra’s performance and recognition.  But no one has provided greater VSO public and critical acclaim than world renowned violinist Jaime Laredo.

When Laredo made his orchestral debut with the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Examiner wrote “In the 1920’s it was Yehudi Menuhin; in the ‘30’s it was Isaac Stern; and last night it was Jaime Laredo.”

Historic_Brass.pngJaime Laredo stunned the music world in 2000 when he accepted responsibility to serve as music director of the VSO.  Under his gentle but firm hand a good orchestra has become great.  Laredo loves Vermont and is a full-time resident. He has attracted leading musicians for guest performances, including Midori, Jennifer Koh, Leila Josefowicz, Pierre Amoyal, Soovin Kim, Michael Tree, Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang, Peter Serkin, Jonathan Biss, André Watts, Leon Fleisher, and Raymond Leppard.  


The Vermont Symphony Orchestra Association, Inc., a state-supported non-profit institution founded in 1935, exists for the purpose of fostering and encouraging the appreciation of music in all its various forms, with emphasis on orchestral, choral and chamber music. It seeks to raise the common standard of musical education and enjoyment, and to provide, at moderate cost, quality performances for a broad and diverse public throughout the State of Vermont.

Vision Narrative

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra will enrich community life by providing exceptional musical programs that educate, entertain and enhance lives in Vermont.  The orchestra will reach people from every Vermont town through programs in beautiful natural settings, historic and artistic community buildings, and schools statewide.  Lasting friendships will be formed and renewed during each season’s programs on the common ground discovered through dedication to the goals and purposes of the VSO.  The artistic leadership, musicians, regional and governing board members, and staff will work with integrity to care for and nurture creativity, collegiality and excellence through high quality music and educational performances.