About Us

MISSION STATEMENT: A professional orchestra serving northern Michigan bringing unprecedented excellence in symphonic and other musical experiences.

VISION STATEMENT: To be a cultural model for the region, exciting a diverse and growing audience through artistic excellence, strong leadership and sustainable operations.

The Traverse Symphony Orchestra is northern Michigan’s leading regional performing arts ensemble. It is a professional, part-time orchestra with a core base of quality musicians from throughout the area. Many hold music-related positions as faculty and staff members of nearby Interlochen Center for the Arts and regional school districts. An increasing number of musicians travel from as far as Lansing, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor to perform with the orchestra.

Music Director Kevin Rhodes has led the orchestra to critical acclaim during his nearly 20 year tenure. Under his leadership, the orchestra has created an innovative season of concerts featuring leading guest artists from the national and international circuit. Here’s a link to his website.

The orchestra’s 2019-2020 subscription season runs from fall to spring and consists of six concert cycles. The Symphony presents its concerts at Interlochen’s Corson Auditorium. Please note this season the annual festive Christmas program will again be held at Lars Hockstad Auditorium, located within Central Grade School.

Original Traverse Symphony OrchestraPictured above: 1952; the original Traverse Symphony Orchestra. Elnora Milliken was the Concertmistress.

The Symphony is comprised of a full-time professional staff of three, a part-time staff of one, a music director and 60-plus contracted core musicians. A 15-member Board of Directors and a committed group of volunteers provide ongoing support for the organization. The Symphony is a non-profit corporation supported through ticket sales, donations, corporate sponsorships and grants.

The orchestra was founded in 1952 by Traverse City violinist Elnora Milliken as a community amateur ensemble. It evolved into a professional regional symphony under the direction of Maestro Kevin Rhodes.

Educational Programs
The Traverse Symphony Orchestra is more than an orchestra. We offer three educational programs that afford enriching musical experiences to 4,000 children and students annually.

  • The Civic Program offers students of all ages opportunities to work with professional musicians in string ensembles tailored to skill and experience levels.
  • Several Family Concerts are presented free each season. They delight children and their families by making classical music and musicians readily accessible with a lively, fun and interactive experience.
  • The TSO in the Schools program offers day-long instrument workshops focusing on woodwind, brass, string and percussion instruments. Workshop clinicians are musicians from the professional Traverse Symphony Orchestra as well as guest artists from throughout the state of Michigan.

GuideStar 2020 Silver Seal of Transparency

Traverse Symphony Orchestra GuideStar Profile

For assistance, please contact Executive Director Kedrik Merwin at 231-947-7120 or kmerwin@traversesymphony.org.



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