“To present the highest-quality performances of great music, bringing national and international distinction to the orchestra and its community; To delight and educate audiences of all ages and backgrounds, and enhance the cultural vitality and quality of life in these islands; and to operate in a financially sound manner.”
HSO’s mission is only the foundation for what the Orchestra strives to be. They are the orchestra of Hawaii, a public service provider, a pillar for the arts, and a home for an all-inclusive community. With a passion for classical music that has always inspired to act, to do more, and to bring beautiful music to everyone in this culturally rich state, not just to our beloved attendees who are familiar with the arts. HSO want to offer incredible music to everyone in easier and more accessible ways, by exploring and innovating new ways to move forward with technology and music. With the creativity and the resources available to the HSO, they will bring amazing experiences to you.
In the spirit of aloha and ‘ohana, HSO are proud to be your Hawaii Symphony Orchestra.
When you think of the HSO, you probably think of Beethoven, Brahms, or perhaps Mahler, you know all those old, dead men of the western cannon, men that have defined classical music for the better part of three centuries. Instead, the HSO wants to become a medium for change, think of the sonic power of 84 unique individuals, all coming together, without necessarily saying a word to communicate. Aspiring to the day when the symphony again collaborates with local talent, like Raiatea, and work with up-and-coming artists such as Ron Artis II, Mike Love, Kimie Miner, Josh Totofi, and the list goes on.
The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra concert season is orchestrated by the artistic team to program nearly 50 performances each year.
From the annual Sheraton Starlight Series, a magical night under the stars, featuring eight weeks of outdoor performances at the Waikiki Shell, embracing the sense of place this iconic venue provides to our community. Audiences will experience seven works throughout the summer often composed by local Hawaiians and the season ends with a concert by the winners of the Nā Hōkū ‘Ōpio “Young Stars” Program.
Nā Hōkū ‘Ōpio “Young Stars” is an annual competition program for local youth musicians to play solo repertoire with the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra in conjunction with the annual Starlight Series. High school students in their senior year who are full-time residents of Hawaii are eligible to submit their audition recordings.
The Halekulani Masterworks Season highlights include a total of 5 concerts from old masters including but not limited to Stravinsky, Milhaud, Handel, Brahms, Mozart, and Beethoven. Think classic, classical music, conducted by Grammy Award winning conductor JoAnn Falletta.
The annual Broadway to Blockbuster, where HSO and Waikiki Shell present a free to all concert featuring music from all the favourite Broadway productions and Blockbuster films.
HSO will also perform several individual concerts with guest musicians as well as concerts with various tribute bands like Queen and Led Zeppelin over the course of the year, all under the stars at the Waikiki Shell. HSO will continue their celebrated film series with performances like, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and more. these concerts always prove wildly popular and booking far in advance is recommended.
The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, formerly known as Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, was founded in 1900 and like most starting orchestras of the time was a community of amateur musicians coming together to play music. The Symphony’s first concerts at the Shell began in 1956 and were hugely successful over the years. From 1996 to 2004, the orchestra was under the direction of conductor Samuel Wong. In August 2007, Andreas Delfs, current music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, officially became principal conductor of the orchestra. He led seven concerts per season in the orchestra’s Halekulani Masterworks series.
In late 2009, the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra announced the cancellation of concerts for the remainder of the 2009–2010 season, as the organization was $1 million in debt and did not have enough money to support operations into the future, the symphony was effectively dead. But all was not lost, in early 2011, under the new name, Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, was re-born, by a group of Honolulu businessmen called the Symphony Exploratory Committee. JoAnn Falletta was appointed artistic director, and Steven Monder, former director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, was appointed president.
Grammy Award winning conductor JoAnn Falletta has served as the artistic advisor of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra since 2010. She also serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director Laureate of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center, and Artistic Adviser of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra. Hailed for having ‘Toscanini’s tight control over ensemble, Walter’s affectionate balancing of inner voices, Stokowski’s gutsy showmanship, and a controlled frenzy worthy of Bernstein,’ she is a leading force for the music of our time.
JoAnn Falletta “One of the brightest stars of symphonic music in America.”
— Los Angeles Times