The QSO’s Innovative Programs

The Queens Symphony Orchestra is not just any orchestra — we are your orchestra. We bring you the best in classical concerts as well as educational programming, chorale concerts, operas-in-concert, and world premiere pieces performed by the nation’s best musicians and accessible to all.

For over 62 years, the Queens Symphony Orchestra has brought innovative and often groundbreaking programs to the Borough of Queens, the City of New York, and the nation. These programs have included Concerts for Boys and Girls, Masterworks Concerts, and other unprescedented series that have influenced classical music presentations across the city.

The Queens Symphony Orchestra is proud to be the host of two unparalleled core programs, with numerous presentations throughout the year; the Family Series, and Symphony 101, and continually organizes one core initiative program, An Instrument in Every Hand. These three innovative core programs, along with classic QSO programs such as the summer Concerts on the Green, allow the Queens Symphony Orchestra to accomplish its goal of bringing world-class music and music education to the international community of Queens, while staying true to its mission of educating city residents and visitors of all ages about the universal value and necessity of orchestral music.

​Through the Family Series, the QSO presents 3-4 concerts per year at LeFrak Concert Hall on the campus of CUNY Queens College. At these concerts, music from around the world is presented in an exciting and informative program at a world-class concert hall. These concerts are not only an excellent introduction to classical music for the young, but also an amazing opportunity for new and seasoned classical music-lovers to witness a monumental live music experience free of charge; a rare occurrence today. The programs are just the right length, running approximately 90-minutes on selected Sunday afternoons.

Symphony 101 is a free, educational, family-friendly lecture/demonstration series launched in 2009 in partnership with Queens Library. Symphony 101 is an extension of the QSO Music Director’s mission for music education for the general public. The orchestra concert experience is enhanced as the listener gains an intimate knowledge of the composer’s writing style and interpretation, the distinct sounds and history of the orchestral instruments, and the role of the conductor in leading the orchestra. With the assistance of one of QSO’s professional musicians, the QSO Music Director discusses pertinent and unique information about each instrument family, including a slideshow presentation with musical samples showing a variety of instruments; also included are performance demonstrations by our musicians. In the past year, this program has been further expanded to include five instrument-making workshops with audience members. Each instrument is made in one of four sessions, and then all instruments are combined in the fifth and final session, which includes a special instrumental improvisation workshop led by the Music Director with all participants.

Through the An Instrument in Every Hand program, the Queens Symphony Orchestra collects gently used, playable instruments from donors throughout New York City and the surrounding area and then passes them on to students around Queens. We have partnered with After School Rocks, an organization that provides after school music lessons to Queens public students. The goals of the program are to make musical instruments and music education accessible to all students in Queens, and eventually New York City, and to inspire countless students to excel in not only music, but in all pursuits. Through this program, students that may not otherwise have access to often expensive musical instruments and musical education are given an opportunity to create beautiful music with their own hands, and to learn about masterpieces of classical music by recreating the pieces themselves.
The QSO also features annual Masterworks concerts which, in the past, have featured the work of historic and contemporary Greek composers, American composers, and the great composers of Europe and the world. Masterworks concerts have also featured opera-in-concert performances with works by Puccini and other great operatic composers and librettists.

The Great Lawn Concerts are QSO classics. Each year, the Queens Symphony plays free, outdoor concerts at Astoria Park and St. John’s University, Queens Campus and at other venues in the borough. These concerts continue the New York City tradition of free, open-air summer classical concerts and have become a fixture in their communities.