Note from Brookline Symphony Orchestra: In order to protect our musicians & audience during the Coronavirus outbreak, we regret to announce that our 10th Anniversary Celebration concerts will be canceled. We apologize for any inconvenience, & look forward to seeing you at our Triumphant Finale on 5/30.

By Celina Colby

The Brookline Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its tenth anniversary. They’ve spent a full decade bringing beautiful melodies to town with their performances at All Saints Parish on Beacon Street.

Laura Bouix was one of the founding members of the orchestra ten years ago, and she’s amazed by the progress the group has made. “In that first rehearsal, I think we had maybe 30 musicians, and now we have 70 or more,” she says. “It’s a constant learning process, about running a nonprofit, about managing a nonprofit, about putting on these concerts. It continues to be a huge endeavor.”

One of the choices the orchestra made was to hire music director Andrew Altenbach three seasons ago. Altenbach is the director of opera at the Boston Conservatory and has worked with many operas around the world. At the Brookline Symphony Orchestra, diversity has been an important mission for him. “I’ve really tried to explore the repertoire by female composers. Almost every program we’ve done has had a female composer, including last year we did Florence Price’s third symphony. She was this major African American symphonic writer,” he says. “We want that representation and that diversity within our programming.” Later this spring, the orchestra will continue to honor that mission by playing “Violent, Violent Sea,” a piece by contemporary female composer Missy Mazzoli.

The Brookline Symphony Orchestra is a volunteer orchestra and a nonprofit, meaning this is for the musicians’ pleasure, not for a paycheck. That explains the deep joy that emanates from the musicians when they perform. Tickets to the symphony are kept at a very accessible rate ($15 or less) so that concertgoers don’t have to break the bank for a family night out. This status also means that the orchestra is continually juggling financial obligations with its mission to bring music to the area. Community members who want to contribute can do so through their online donation portal.

Giving back to the community was hugely important to Bouix and her fellow founding members. One of the tenets they carried into the organization was that of outreach. The symphony performs for free at nursing homes, hospitals and schools around town as a thank you for all the support the community has given them.

This community spirit, and of course, a deep love of music, is what drives the Brookline Symphony Orchestra. They’re in it to enjoy themselves and to pay homage to their town. But after ten years, it doesn’t hurt that they’re also an incredibly talented ensemble. “I’ve worked with professional orchestras in other parts of the country that don’t play as well as the Brookline Symphony does,” Altenbach says. “It’s a lot of fun for us to play together.”