Our Mission

The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra is a community music organization that presents classical music for diverse audiences who value great music in an accessible environment.

Our three Masterworks concerts highlight challenging orchestral literature, performed at the highest caliber and featuring world-class soloists; recent projects have included a concert performance of Puccini’s Tosca, a performance of Mahler’s Second Symphony, and the current season’s presentation of Stravinsky’s The Firebird with full choreography. Concerts specifically tailored for young people include our Holiday Pops concerts, our free Pops on the Lawn event, and our annual Family Concert featuring an exceptional young soloist.

Our overall mission since our founding in 1975 is to harness the power of music to forge lasting relationships with our community. The CSO continually invests in our community footprint through collaborations with social and cultural organizations in educational programs and spotlight partnerships. Our program of orchestral and chamber music performances at educational facilities (Perkins School for the Blind, Cambridge Community Center), assisted living residences (Youville House, Cadbury Commons), and venues at the center of cultural life in our area (MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, the Cambridge and Somerville Public Libraries, The Center for Arts at the Armory) is motivated by our commitment to deep and meaningful engagement with our community. In all of these projects, our all-volunteer roster is our greatest asset, creating outstanding programming through the combined energy of dozens of dedicated and talented individuals who believe in the importance of classical music and expanding our community’s access to it.


Our Community Partners

Each year the CSO selects several local nonprofits to spotlight at a public concert. We find that, through these spotlights, both the CSO and our partner engage with new members of our community. The selected charity has a platform to speak directly to our audience and interact after the show about their mission and their needs in Cambridge/Somerville and beyond.

Past spotlight partners the CSO collaborated with to create continued awareness include:

  • Cambridge Cares about AIDS (2008)
  • Disabled American Veterans (2012)
  • El Sistema Somerville (2015)
  • Helping Hands Monkey Helpers (2012)
  • Musicians’ Village, a Habitat for Humanity Katrina Relief project (2007)
  • Physicians For Human Rights (2009)
  • Project STEP (2014)
  • Somerville Homeless Coalition (2015)
  • TargetCancer Foundation (2013 and 2015)
  • Root Capital (2011)
  • YWCA Cambridge, Shelter for Homeless Families (2009 and 2014)

At our annual Holiday Pops, we encourage the audience to bring food donations to benefit Helping Hand Food Pantry at St. James’s Episcopal Church in Porter Square, which are greatly needed during the holiday season.

The CSO is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


We are proud members of these organizations