OrchestrasThe Baylor Symphony is dedicated to the quality performance of the orchestral repertoire and to the professional and artistic growth of its’ members. Initiated in 1946, the Baylor Symphony has had only two permanent conductors, founding director Daniel Sternberg who passed the baton to Stephen Heyde in 1984. In a typical year, over 110 Baylor students, hailing from two dozen or more states and several foreign countries perform in the ensemble. The Baylor Symphony has an extensive performance schedule on and off campus, annually presenting four to six concerts of standard orchestral repertoire, a full opera production, and other events such as concerto accompaniments, new music readings and choral/orchestral collaborations. The orchestra also presents a series of children's concerts each year to an audience of over 6000 Waco area schoolchildren, an annual unbroken tradition of sixty-seven years.
In January of 2014, the Baylor Symphony was one of two collegiate orchestras selected through a blind audition process to perform at the National Conference of the College Orchestra Directors Association. The following month, marked the eighth time the Baylor Symphony has performed at the Texas Music Educators Clinic/Convention under the direction of Stephen Heyde. Other notable performances of the ensemble include a December 2003 PBS Special, “Christmas at Baylor” that was aired nationally in over 350 markets with an estimated audience in excess of six million viewers and performances at the prestigious Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina and at a national convention of the American String Teachers Association. The Baylor Symphony was honored to accompany the last public performance of revered violinist Joseph Gingold and has worked with a number of distinguished American performers including Van Cliburn, Robert Shaw, Corey Cerovsek, Jacob Druckman, Lorin Hollander and Peter Schickele among others. The Baylor Symphony has taken international tours of Costa Rica (2004) and the Flanders region of Belgium (2010) and in 2013 received a Special Judge’s Citation for Technical and Musical Excellence from The American Prize.
Former members of the Baylor Symphony have won positions in many professional orchestras around the country and world including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Honolulu, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Cincinnati, Fort Worth, Jacksonville, Joffrey Ballet, San Antonio, San Diego, North Carolina Symphony, Kansas City, Phoenix, Rhode Island, Hong Kong, National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, Guangzhou Symphony, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Russian National Symphony and the State of Mexico Orchestra in Toluca among many others. A partial list of orchestras and musicians can be found at http://baylorsymphony.tumblr.com. Numerous other former members play in the leading military bands of the armed service while many others hold distinguished teaching positions at the elementary, secondary and collegiate levels.