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The SDSO works to accomplish its mission: “To celebrate the tradition of live orchestral music and enrich the lives of people throughout our region” through concert, touring, education, and community engagement programs. The SDSO is grounded in five core values: Community Engagement, Creating Partnerships, Lifelong Impact, Educational Opportunities, and Live Symphonic Music.
For 95 years, the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra (SDSO) has been a visionary arts leader in our community, state and region. The orchestra was formed in 1922 in conjunction with Augustana University. It was incorporated in November of 1965 as the Sioux Falls Symphony, and finally declared the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra in 1985 by proclamation of Governor William Janklow. In 1978, the Dakota String Quartet was formed as the first full-time, salaried musicians with the orchestra. The Dakota Wind Quintet was formed in 1982. Maestro Delta David Gier became the Music Director in 2004 and has taken the orchestra to unprecedented artistic levels.
The orchestra’s season includes four concert series – Classical, Pops, Matinee, and Chamber – for a total of 21 concerts. In addition to its main stage series, the SDSO’s touring program brings its 9 core musicians, chamber orchestra, and full orchestra to communities in South Dakota and the symphony’s extensive education program reaches over 15,000 preschool through high school children each season.
In 2014, the SDSO articulated a new five-year vision focused on service to its community. The organization lives its vision through education programs that serve students across the state each year and award-winning community engagement programs like the Lakota Music Project (LMP) and Music as Medicine (MaM). The LMP, the flagship of its community engagement work, allows the SDSO to live its vision of service to Sioux Falls and South Dakota. The program, recognized by the League of American Orchestras as a national model for community engagement, is one of the SDSO’s answers to the question of relevance to its unique demographics. New programs in 2015/16 include a High School Residency in 2014/15 and Music as Medicine “Memoirs.” In partnership with Carnegie Hall in New York, the SDSO will launch Link Up, a recorder based music curriculum, in the Sioux Falls Public Schools in 2016-17.