National Symphony Orchestra (Mexico)
The National Symphony Orchestra (Mexico) (OSN) (Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional) is the most important classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 and symphonic ensemble
Musical ensemble
A musical ensemble is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles...

 in Mexico. With its origins traced back as 1881, it is the second oldest symphony orchestra in the American
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 continent along with the Boston Symphony Orchestra
Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Boston Symphony Orchestra is an orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1881, the BSO plays most of its concerts at Boston's Symphony Hall and in the summer performs at the Tanglewood Music Center...

. It performs regularly in the Grand Hall of the Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes
Palacio de Bellas Artes
The Palacio de Bellas Artes is the most important cultural center in Mexico City as well as the rest of the country of Mexico...

) in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...


Not to be confused with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México
Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México
The Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México is the Symphony Orchestra of the State of Mexico. It was founded in 1971 and is based in Toluca, Mexico State, Mexico; its home hall is Sala Felipe Villanueva.- History :...

 (OSEM) or State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, founded in 1971, the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, as a branch of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, was created by presidential decree by Miguel Alemán on 18 July 1947, under the name of National Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. Before this, however, there was a predecessor orchestra known as the Symphony Orchestra of Mexico (September 2, 1928-March 8, 1949), a non profit organization founded and conducted by Mexican composer, conductor, teacher, journalist and visionary arts leader Carlos Chávez
Carlos Chávez
Carlos Antonio de Padua Chávez y Ramírez was a Mexican composer, conductor, music theorist, educator, journalist, and founder and director of the Mexican Symphonic Orchestra. He was influenced by native Mexican cultures. Of his six Symphonies, his Symphony No...

. On 1 August 1947 Chávez appointed Blas Galindo as the new director of the National Conservatory, official seat of the new orchestra. Chávez reports that the National Symphony Orchestra gave its first official performance on 30 October 1947 at the Palace of Fine Arts, under the baton of Eduardo Hernández Moncada, its first music and artistic director.

Another decree on April 25, 1949 changed the name of the ensemble to National Symphony Orchestra (Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional or OSN), first, to emphasize its professional character–it had the best musicians in the country–and avoid confusing it with a student ensemble, despite that fact that from the very beginning Chávez considered the orchestra a national symphony, linked in some aspects to the most important music education institution, the National Conservatory; and second, Chávez wanted to highlight that “a National Symphony, by definition, is a State institution,” and the government had recognized the need to support an institution of public interest.

History of the Orchestra

The social context that Mexico was living during the beginnings of the 20th century made the task of creating an orchestra difficult, so there were several attempts to form a national symphony orchestra.

First period

The orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

 has its roots back in 1881, when Alfredo Bablot, director of the Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

 Conservatory (founded July 1, 1866) initiated the Conservatory Orchestra. When Bablot died, he was replaced by Carlos J. Menéses. In 1902 the orchestra had little support from the government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 of Porfirio Díaz
Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

, but it suspended its activities in 1913, two years after Díaz's fall, because of the general instability in the country during the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...


Second and third period

After Gen. Venustiano Carranza
Venustiano Carranza
Venustiano Carranza de la Garza, was one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution. He ultimately became President of Mexico following the overthrow of the dictatorial Huerta regime in the summer of 1914 and during his administration the current constitution of Mexico was drafted...

, took over the national government's seat back to Mexico City in 1915, the orchestra took the name of National Symphony, and depended from the Bellas Artes bureau, and its director during this period was Jesús Acuña, followed by composer Manuel M. Ponce but he declined and the orchestra suspended the concert seasons. Later, composer Julián Carrillo
Julián Carrillo
Julián Carrillo Trujillo was a Mexican composer, conductor, violinist and music theorist, famous for developing a theory of microtonal music which he dubbed "The Thirteenth Sound" .-Biography:...

, who was a very important figure in music history
Music history
Music history, sometimes called historical musicology, is the highly diverse subfield of the broader discipline of musicology that studies the composition, performance, reception, and criticism of music over time...

 worldwide, was appointed as the Music Conservatory director, and took up the project for an orchestra again, and depended from the Conservatory, but because of lack of financial support from the government, the orchestra again finished its activities in 1924.

Mexican Symphony Orchestra

In 1928, the Mexican Symphony Orchestra was created, but the name changed shortly to Symphony Orchestra of Mexico (Orquesta Sinfónica de México) . This orchestra is more related to the current orchestra. Carlos Chávez was appointed as its first conductor, but it lacked of any financial support, besides that the orchestra wasn't being well administrated by the city's musician syndicate of that time. While Chávez conducted the orchestra, it meaning a flourishing period for the orchestral music in the country.

A private patronage was established and the orchestra could give its first concert. The date was September 2, 1928, and the place, the Iris Theatre. With 103 musicians on stage, the programme included Debussy´s Ibéria
Images pour orchestre
Images pour orchestre is an orchestral composition in three sections by Claude Debussy. Debussy wrote the music between 1905 and 1912. Debussy had originally intended this set of Images as a two-piano sequel to the first set of Images , in a letter to his publisher Durand as of September 1905...

In music, a suite is an ordered set of instrumental or orchestral pieces normally performed in a concert setting rather than as accompaniment; they may be extracts from an opera, ballet , or incidental music to a play or film , or they may be entirely original movements .In the...

, Tello's Sonata
Sonata , in music, literally means a piece played as opposed to a cantata , a piece sung. The term, being vague, naturally evolved through the history of music, designating a variety of forms prior to the Classical era...

, Tchaikovsky´s Piano Concerto No. 1
Piano Concerto No. 1
Piano Concerto No. 1 refers to the first piano concerto published by one of a number of composers :...

 in B flat minor
Major and minor
In Western music, the adjectives major and minor can describe a musical composition, movement, section, scale, key, chord, or interval.Major and minor are frequently referred to in the titles of classical compositions, especially in reference to the key of a piece.-Intervals and chords:With regard...

with Vilma Erenyi as soloist
Solo (music)
In music, a solo is a piece or a section of a piece played or sung by a single performer...

, and Strauss´ Don Juan
Don Juan
Don Juan is a legendary, fictional libertine whose story has been told many times by many authors. El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra by Tirso de Molina is a play set in the fourteenth century that was published in Spain around 1630...

. Although the orchestra received financial support from the government, this was considered as a private one, not official, like it is constituted today. This is the most important point to consider the nature of this musical organization at the present time.

Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas
Silvestre Revueltas
Silvestre Revueltas Sánchez was a Mexican composer of classical music, a violinist and a conductor.-Life:...

, who was second in charge as assistant conductor, left the orchestra in 1935 to be the principal conductor of a newly-created and short-lived National Symphony Orchestra that depended from the National Music Conservatory, but it closed in 1937 when Revueltas resigned.

Creation of the INBA and establishment of the current orchestra

On November 23, 1946, president Miguel Alemán
Miguel Alemán
Miguel Alemán may refer to:*Miguel Alemán González, general in the Mexican Revolution; father of:*Miguel Alemán Valdés , president of Mexico from 1946 to 1952; father of:*Miguel Alemán Velasco Miguel Alemán may refer to:*Miguel Alemán González, general in the Mexican Revolution; father of:*Miguel...

 proposed the creation of the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura), known by the acronym INBA
INBA or Inba may refer to: Chile*Internado Nacional Barros Arana, a prestigious secondary school Germany*InBA - Institut des Bewertungsausschusses, a german institution that supports the board which negotiates the ratings for medical treatments in national health services. India*Inba , a 2008...

, and was formally opened in 1 January 1947, as a branch of the Secretaría de Educación Pública
Secretaría de Educación Pública
The Secretaría de Educación Pública is a Mexican federal government authority with Cabinet representation and responsibility for overseeing the development and implementation of national educational policy and school standards in Mexico.Additionally, it has the following responsibilities:*Creation...

, (SEP) (Secretariat of Public Education). The first head of the INBA was Carlos Chávez, who created a new orchestra for the Conservatory (thus because the conservatory depended on the INBA administration). On January 19, 1949, Chávez resigned his job as conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, to spend more of his time composing and directing the INBA, but the orchestra didn't disappear, because Chávez succeeded in making the government recognize a national ensemble (working on this issue, since he was appointed as head of the INBA), so the actual organization known as National Symphony Orchestra of México was established, and Eduardo Hernández Moncada was designated its first conductor in 1947, José Pablo Moncayo replaced him in 1949.

The orchestra from its creation to the present day

Moncayo was succeeded in 1954 by Luis Herrera de la Fuente, who led the orchestra until 1972. During this period the orchestra had very important tours nationwide and worldwide, especially in Europe. In 1973 Chávez returned to conduct the orchestra but resigned in the first month due to internal conflicts with the orchestra members. This resulted in the formation of a new artistic administration by some of the musicians and representatives from the INBA called co-government. Under this arrangement there was no principal conductor; instead, the orchestra had host conductors for its seasons and a Mexican assistant director for off-season affairs.

After several years of this arrangement, the orchestra accepted to have a conductor again in 1979, appointing Sergio Cárdenas, who served until 1984. After him served Jose Guadalupe Flores from 1985 to 1986, followed by Francisco Savín from 1986 to 1988, and from 1989 to 1990 Luis Herrera de la Fuente returned. Participation in national festivals, music workshops, conferences, band concerts and chamber music concerts were offered by the orchestra during these years.

In May 1990, Enrique Arturo Diemecke was appointed as new conductor. He revived the tradition of touring promoted by Herrera de la Fuente during his first term, traveling to festivals in Portugal and Spain in 1992 and touring within Mexico and United States in 1999 and 2002. During his direction, the orchestra encouraged soundtrack concerts that consisted of playing music from films like the Mexican "Redes", music by Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. He was instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, and is often referred to as "the Dean of American Composers"...

 or West Side Story from Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

 and several others. Didactic concerts for kids, concerts with worldwide renowned soloists like Jorge Federico Osorio, Frederica von Stade
Frederica von Stade
Frederica von Stade is an American mezzo-soprano. Born in Somerville, New Jersey, she acquired the nickname "Flicka" in her childhood. Von Stade attended the Mannes College of Music in New York City. She made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 1970 and in 1971 appeared as Cherubino in The...

 and violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

A virtuoso is an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability in the fine arts, at singing or playing a musical instrument. The plural form is either virtuosi or the Anglicisation, virtuosos, and the feminine form sometimes used is virtuosa...

 Itzhak Perlman
Itzhak Perlman
Itzhak Perlman is an Israeli-born violinist, conductor, and instructor of master classes. He is regarded as one of the pre-eminent violinists of the 20th and early-21st centuries.-Early life:...

 were held by the orchestra in these years, and in 2002 the orchestra was nominated for Latin Grammy award for Best Classical Album. In 2003 the orchestra celebrated its 75th Anniversary with a concert in Mexico's National Auditorium
National Auditorium
National Auditorium is an entertainment centre located at Paseo de la Reforma #50, Chapultepec in Mexico City right in front of the Polanco hotel zone next to Campo Marte....

 performing the Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

´s Symphony No. 9
Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)
The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, is the final complete symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best known works of the Western classical repertoire, and has been adapted for use as the European Anthem...

 (Choral), Op. 125 with an almost sold out locations. On November 2006, after 16 years of continuous works, Diemecke left the orchestra.

The orchestra's current musical director, Carlos Miguel Prieto, named at the end of 2007, has launched the orchestra on a new era, aiming to place it on a par with the world's leading ensembles. In early 2008 he led it on its first European tour in years, culminating with an acclaimed concert at Amsterdam's renowned Concertgebouw Hall. Also in 2008 the orchestra celebrated its 80th Anniversary.


1993 "Moncayo, Revueltas, Chavez" recorded at the Sala Nezahualcóyotl (Nezahualcóyotl Concert Hall).

2002 - "Los Conciertos para violín y piano de Carlos Chávez" live at the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Nominated for Latin Grammy).

2004 - "Sonidos de un espacio en Libertad" .

External links

  • Official Website With information on history, members, full discography, tickets, season concerts and contact.
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