About ASO

Bringing Boston's Best to the South Shore

Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is a professional regional orchestra located on Boston’s South Shore — recognized among the most artistically regarded in New England.

Reorganized and established in 1996 under the artistic leadership of music director and conductor, Jin Kim, ASO has become a premier regional orchestra known for its high level of play. Members of the orchestra are Boston-based and consist of both seasoned and gifted young professionals from the world’s leading conservatories.

Deeply Rooted. Forward Focused.

ASO has very deep roots in the community and a long history of service.

We began as the Hingham Civic Orchestra in 1945, reorganizing in 1996 and fully professional by 2006 to better serve the needs of our area.

In recent years, ASO’s regional impact has been expanding, with a growing network of audience and supporters who share our excitement of what this orchestra offers.

Our legacy is a long one; our vision is on the future of the region.

Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is proud to acknowledge 2022/23 as our 26th season.

However, we are older than that. With deep roots in the South Shore, this professional regional orchestra has a long and distinguished history as one of the oldest community orchestras in the Boston area.

ASO History at a Glance:

1945 Hingham Civic Orchestra is formed & remains sustainable as a community orchestra for 50 years

1996 Reorganized by HCO membership as the Hingham Symphony Orchestra, with a regional mission

1997 Jin Kim is hired as HSO Music Director & Conductor

2006 Renamed Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and fully professional; Annual Concerto Competition is established

2008 Important partnership is formed with Thayer Academy, Braintree; Main concert hall is permanently located at the Thayer’s Center for the Arts

2016 Orchestra celebrates its 20th season and embarks on a 3-year plan to update and refresh the organization

2019 After successful completion of the 2016 plan, orchestra begins “next stage” plan of development

2020 Covid-19 pandemic arrives in March, halting live indoor events through the end of the following season (June 2021); ASO responds with one of the earliest “pivots” to digital delivery of new orchestral material in the country and one of the most prolific seasons of virtual classical music performances in New England in 2020/21

2022 ASO celebrates Jin Kim’s 25th season and its own 26th season sustained by regional/local funding & support

In 1945, a quartet of musicians in Hingham, Massachusetts formed the Hingham Civic Orchestra to provide opportunities for amateur musicians to rehearse and perform symphonic repertoire. For over 50 years, the Hingham Civic Orchestra staged performances ranging from regular subscription programs to children’s concerts, operas, choral-orchestral concerts, and ballet productions.

In 1996, acknowledging changes in community expectations and needs as well as its membership, the orchestra made the decision to re-evaluate its mission. As a result, the Hingham Civic Orchestra was reborn as the Hingham Symphony Orchestra, with the vision of becoming a regional orchestra with high performance standards and a renewed sense of service to community.

In 1997, Jin Kim was appointed as the orchestra’s new music director, by unanimous vote of the musicians and the Board of Directors.

In the ensuing years, Jin Kim has earned international recognition as a superb conductor and brought the level of the orchestra up to a standard that distinguishes it as among the highest performing orchestras in New England, with an exceptional “level of play.”

The orchestra’s reputation for excellence attracts Boston’s finest musicians and internationally renowned guest soloists and ensembles. Members of the orchestra consist of both seasoned professionals and gifted young professionals from the world’s leading conservatories. The majority of the members have been fellows at Tanglewood, Aspen, Schleswig-Holstein, and Pacific Music Festivals. Many HSO/ASO musicians have earned positions in major symphony orchestras around the world, including the National Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Civic Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Israel Philharmonic, Boston Pops, and Boston Symphony Orchestra.

During the 2006/2007 season, the orchestra took on the challenge of choosing a new name to reflect its identity as a superb professional orchestra that serves audiences across the Boston’s South Shore and Greater Boston-south region. After a public process that affirmed the orchestra’s vision and mission, the Board of Directors unveiled its new name – Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.

2016/17 marked ASO’s 20th official season and the start of its 3-year “refresh” to address the orchestra’s needs in the 21st century, including improvements in infrastructure and updated practices. By the end of the first year, concert attendance had more than doubled over the 2014/15 season benchmark and continued to grow 8-12% annually until the Covid 19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. Live, indoor performances were halted until December, 2021.

ASO was among the first orchestras in the country to “go virtual” with programming in the spring of 2020. After first responding with pre-recorded programming within days of the nationwide shutdown, ASO then produced a series of 6 “Thursday Live” programs that featured new musician interviews and solo performances in May and June 2020. With the exception of the outdoor Sunset at the Abbey concert — held 3 times in succession on Sept. 10, 2020, to accommodate as many audiences as possible while outdoor gatherings were limited to 50 people by state mandate — ASO’s following performance season was all virtual. Christened “Joy in Place,” the 2020/21 Season offered 26 separate new music and music education events, ranging from 20 to 90 minutes and produced in-house, along with some short “on-off” performances. It was one of the most prolific performance seasons in New England in 2020/21.

The orchestra’s success can be attributed to two equally important factors: (1) artistic and organizational vision and leadership, and (2) reliable and growing support from an enthusiastic community. Each season, Atlantic Symphony serves residents of the region with high-level symphonic and chamber concerts, special events, and music education, and serves the artistic community with employment and career development for roughly 100 musicians who meet the orchestra’s high standards.

In 2022, ASO celebrates Jin Kim’s 25th anniversary as Music Director and its 26th professional season. With the support of the entire region, Atlantic Symphony Orchestra continues to mature into a dynamic cultural resource that brings the very best classical music to life.

Diverse. Growing.

ASO most directly serves the residents of Boston’s Metro-South and South Shore — a rapidly growing, diverse region of coastal and inland communities as large as the cities of Quincy and Brockton and as small as the town of Cohasset, shared by residents — long-timers and newcomers — from all walks of life.

Only 15 miles from the city (as the crow flies), ASO attracts some of the finest musicians Greater Boston has to offer, bringing local access to their outstanding performances for our communities. The majority of our audience live within a 30-minute drive to our concert hall at Thayer’s Center for the Arts in Braintree (just off Routes 128 and 3).

That said, people come from out of state for ASO performances. Everyone is welcome!

Thayer Academy’s Center for Performing Arts, 745 Washington St., Braintree, MA

Connecting and enriching lives. Enhancing life.

ASO’s mission is to transform personal experiences through extraordinary classical performances.

We also support the careers of Greater Boston’s outstanding musicians, including new generations of professional artists in our field.

We do this because we believe in the power of great music and great performances to enrich lives and communities, and enhance our quality of life.

Our motivation is to provide artistic excellence and connection for the communities we serve.

Along the way, our work delivers local employment, business, and volunteer opportunities. It complements and extends the work of other organizations through partnerships and collaborations, and supports the education, culture and commerce of the region.

Our goal is to create engagement and connection from the stage to the seats and back again.

We want to nurture a strong bond to the music and the people who make it, and look for every opportunity to create meaningful, personal experiences for our audiences.

Cellist, Benedict Kloeckner, and new fans

We’re a happy reason for communities and generations to come together and share an experience. To gather over something they love or want to explore. To have conversations.

We provide local access to musical excellence and common ground.

Audience members in conversation at Masterworks Classical

We use the term family to describe our orchestra members, our audience, and our supporters, and we mean it.

Come to a performance or other event and see if you don’t feel a connection — to the music, to us, to yourself.

Audience members with Juliet Lai, ASO clarinet

Highly-trained. Boston-based. Excellent.

An important part of ASO’s work is to support the careers of professional musicians of high merit and the professional development of new generations of exceptional emerging artists in our field.

We focus on connecting our local communities to outstanding music and the outstanding classical musicians who live and work in Greater Boston, to fulfill our mission of excellence for the region and promote the superior musicians Boston has to offer — a resource that is both local and internationally admired.

Whether new or seasoned, ASO musicians are highly trained, Boston-based and hail from the world’s leading conservatories.

ASO members have been fellows at Tanglewood, Aspen, Schleswig-Holstein, and Pacific Music Festivals, among others. They perform with other noteworthy orchestras and prestigious institutions around the world.

Many of our musicians have earned positions in major symphony orchestras, including the National Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Civic Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Israel Philharmonic, Boston Pops, and Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Our nearness to Boston ensures an annual new pool of talented and highly trained classical musicians who are “hot and on fire,” as one audience member puts it.

We are not a training orchestra but we are often one of the earliest professional experiences for recent graduates and student professionals from The New England Conservatory, Boston University College of Fine Arts, The Longy School of Music, and other regarded institutions in the area, who meet the high bar of our performance standards.

These musicians benefit from working alongside distinguished colleagues (also “hot,” by the way) with years of professional experience.

We benefit from the outstanding performances of this mix of Boston’s best, season after season!

When we are lucky, some of our exceptional musicians stay in the Boston area and earn orchestra membership either through the audition process or “field appointment” after seasons of committed engagement.

When we are very lucky, they choose to make the region their home and remain permanently. Some of our current members have been with the ASO since our beginning!

PHOTOS: Orchestra 1 by Michael Weymouth; Orchestra 2 by Atlantic Symphony; Orchestra 3, 4, 5 by Andrew Bergsten; Audience 1, 3 by Sean Martin; Audience 2 by Nina Souther; Audience 4: courtesy of audience; Center for the Arts courtesy of Thayer Academy; Orchestra Rehearsal; courtesy of musicians