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Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra Records

Identifier: brfa047

Scope and Contents

This collection is organized into three series: Programs, Newsletters, and Miscellaneous Materials. These series contain analog items such as newsletters, programs for concerts, and ephemera.


  • 1948-2021

Biographical / Historical

The Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra (BRSO) was established in 1947 by a group of women who formed the Baton Rouge Civic Symphony Orchestra. The first official orchestra was comprised of 60 musicians and conducted by Frederick Kopp. Musicians came from Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Hammond to play for the orchestra as well as world renowned violinist, Mischa Elman, and pianist Amparo Iturbi.

Through out the years, BRSO was led by a number of well known conductors. The first long-term conducter, Maestro Emil Cooper hailed from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York City and stayed with the company from 1951 to 1960. During this time, six subscription series were added to the season program as well as the creation of a children's series with aims to introduce Baton Rouge youths to music. This program was expanded over the years to formerly create the Youth Orchestra in the late 1970s.

The orchestra claimed a number of permanent sites as concert venues such as the auditorium at Baton Rouge High School and Lee High School. In 1964, the host venue was changed to LSU Union Theater and moved in 1979 to Centroplex Theater for Performing Arts Downtown. The 1970s also brought with it a name change from the Baton Rouge Civic Symphony Orchestra to the Baton Rouge Symphany Orchestra.

The 1980s and 1990s saw an expansion of the orchestra's presence. The orchestra was asked to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1988 where the performance received rave reviews and was well-attended. The 1980s also brought the establishment of the pops concerts which maintained popularity in the Baton Rouge Community for many decades.

Currently, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra offices are located in the Shaw Center for the Arts and performs at Cane's River Center among many other venues around the state.

A list of conductors:

David Forrester (1948 - 1949) Orlando Barera (1949 - 1950) Richard Korn (1950 - 1951) Emil Cooper (1951 - 1960) Peter Paul Fuchs (1960 - 1976) James Yestadt (1976 - 1982) James Paul (1982 - 1998) Timothy Muffitt (1999–present)


1 box

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronoligically and into three series.

Physical Location

BRS R9 7.3

Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra Records
In Progress
Emily Ward
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
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Repository Details

Part of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Special Collections Repository

7711 Goodwood Blvd.
Baton Rouge La. 70806 USA