At Symphony Number One, our mission is to commission, perform, and promote substantial works by emerging composers. We're not what you would typically think of as a contemporary music ensemble, yet we hope to challenge the idea of an orchestra at the same time by consistently performing great classical music right alongside major new compositions.

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We think we can better serve the composers we feature by focusing on just one emerging composer at a time rather than lumping all of them together onto one concert. Even trained musicians can get overwhelmed by a multitude of new compositional voices presented on one concert; how can we expect our audience to do any better? When this happens, your memories start to get flattened and you tend to only remember features like special effects, strange instruments, or other novelties, rather than to deeper musical layers.

Instead, we want to offer two things to help focus the lens: 1) In general, present only one new work at each concert, framed by other great repertoire. 2) Make that one work the featured work of the concert, make it robust in length and substance, and give listeners time to get to know this composer’s music in a lengthy piece. We don’t see anyone else with an ensemble so specifically devoted to new music by gifted emerging composers while remaining fully a part of the classical tradition; this is where we want to fulfill the need that we see.

On May 8 and 9 we will give the World Premiere of Mark Fromm’s first Symphony alongside the music of Mozart, Schubert and Webern. (Read the press release at We hope you’ll join us for the birth of this exciting new orchestra!

Jordan Randall Smith is the Music Director of Symphony Number One.