Mission and Values

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Society, Inc. exists to connect, enrich, inspire and advance Arkansas through the power of music.

Our History

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Society, Inc. exists to connect, enrich, inspire, and advance Arkansas through the power of music. ASO’s strategic imperatives include doubling the number of Arkansans it serves, reaching a diverse audience in the concert hall and the community, providing enriching education for more young people, further increasing financial strength, continuing to grow the artistic quality of the orchestra, and building upon our team-centered organizational culture.

Incorporated in 1966, ASO now performs more than 60 concerts per season through its Masterworks, Pops, and River Rhapsodies series. In addition to free neighborhood concerts, ASO maintains a busy schedule of statewide touring and educational performances in numerous venues. Community collaborations are an important part of ASO’s service, and the organization frequently collaborates with Ballet Arkansas, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, Dunbar Historic Neighborhood Association, the Central Arkansas Library System, and more.

Integral to the ASO's activities is the E. Lee Ronnel Music Academy, which includes the ASO Youth Ensembles, String Academy, Bucket Band, and the annual Children’s Concerts and provide education programs for over 30,000 students each year. ASO’s resident string quartets, the Rockefeller and Quapaw Quartets, travel the state presenting curriculum-based music education programs in schools, libraries, after-school programs, hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities.

Comprised of the state's most sought-after professional musicians, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra is heard by more than 165,000 Arkansans each year, and consistently plays to high critical praise. Distinguished guest artists, including Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Zuill Bailey, Tessa Lark, Conrad Tao, and Kris Allen, among others, have appeared in concert with the orchestra in Arkansas.

masterworks concert


ASO seeks to uphold these values with authenticity and accountability at the highest level possible.

  • Continual Learning: ASO recognizes that excellence is a never-ending pursuit and approaches this journey with a sense of humility and curiosity.
  • Artistry: ASO believes everyone has the ability to make and enjoy music and aims to facilitate that ability for Arkansans of all ages.
  • Courage: ASO leads by listening, challenges the status quo, and adapts to ensure ASO serves Arkansas for generations.
  • Connectivity: ASO commits to fostering inclusive and co-creative partnerships with our community.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


Arkansas Symphony Orchestra is proud to be a partner orchestra of the National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS), an unprecedented national initiative to increase diversity in American orchestras. It will do so by offering Black and Latinx musicians a customized combination of mentoring, audition preparation, financial support, and audition previews. Learn more at www.auditionalliance.org.