About Music Worcester

Celebrating 160 Years of Music
and Culture

Music Worcester, Inc., originally known as the Worcester County Music Association, for years ran the Worcester Music Festival. Current programs reflect the merger in the mid-1990s of the Festival with International Artists Series and the MA Jazz Festival. Great performances by world-renowned orchestras and guest soloists, chamber music, ballet, world music and dance, jazz and choral masterworks are hallmarks of Music Worcester’s annual operations. Multiple educational programs currently serve youth and families of greater Worcester: masterclasses by visiting artists, Tickets to Opportunity, Festival Singers, in-schools residencies, and the Young Artist Competitions. View our TIMELINE.

Integral to Music Worcester’s annual operations, The Worcester Chorus has been part of the organization since the very first concert season in 1858.

The legendary pianist, Van Cliburn, performed at the Worcester Music Festival in 1958.

Our Mission

Music Worcester brings inspiring and varied musical experiences to expanding audiences through concerts, performances, and educational programs.

To achieve this vision, Music Worcester aspries:

To be a community-minded, professionally-managed arts organization through the presentation of extraordinary performances by some of the world’s most distinguished artists representing the symphony, chamber, dance and jazz genres.

To generate interest in music and enhance its understanding among people of all ages, including outreach to children in schools.

To be a cultural resource that contributes to the economic well being of the greater Central Massachusetts region.

SCHOLARSHIPS

Awards & Prizes

TICKETS TO OPPORTUNITY

VOLUNTEERS

Music Worcester Timeline

1858

WORCESTER MUSIC FESTIVAL
The oldest music festival in the U.S. begins at Mechanics Hall to increase the “knowledge of works by the great masters.” It was organized by self-taught musician Edward Hamilton and his assistant Benjamin F. Baker.

1893

ANTONIN DVORAK
Dvořák conducts his compositions of “Praise Jehovah” and “Husitzka” at Mechanics Hall.

1933

WORCESTER MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM
Built as a World War I memorial, the auditorium would serve as venue for many of the Worcester County Music Association’s concerts.

1960

AARON COPELAND & MARIAN ANDERSON
A tribute to Abraham Lincoln includes Anderson’s narrated excerpts of letters and Copland’s composition: “A Lincoln Portrait.”

1969

ITZHAK PERLMAN
The 24-year-old virtuoso performs Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor at The Worcester Memorial Auditorium.

1972

DUKE ELLINGTON
“Take the ‘A’ Train” is among numbers performed at the 113th Music Festival.

1973

STASIA HOVENESIAN
Hovenesian becomes director of the Worcester County Music Association, a career that would span 38 years.

1983

LEONTYNE PRICE
The renowned Metropolitan Opera soprano performs a commemorative recital for the 125th anniversary of the Festival.

1984

RAY CHARLES
Mechanics Hall rocks with Charles’ unique combination of blues, rhythm & blues and gospel styles.

1990

YO‑YO MA
The grammy-award winner champions upcoming musicians performing with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonic.

1991

DIZZY GILLESPIE
Bebop, Cuban, Brazilian & African rhythms are on diplay with Gillespies’s unique jazz artistry.

1996

MERGER
Music Worcester, Inc. is formed through a merger of the Worcester County Music Association, International Artist Series, and the Massachusetts Jazz Festival.

2012

ADRIEN FINLAY BEGINS AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
With an eye toward the future, Finlay brings new ideas for audience engagement and focuses energy on headliners and educational opportunities.

2013

TICKETS TO OPPORTUNITY
Music Worcester’s groundbreaking program expands its efforts to provide free tickets to youth and deserving families in the public school systems.

HOVENESIAN PRIZE ESTABLISHED
To honor Music Worcester’s long-time executive director, the Music Guild names the top prize of the Young Artist Competitions the Stasia B. Hovenesian Prize.

2014

MARK O'CONNOR
“No matter what he plays, when you’re listening to O’Connor, you know you’re listening to genius.” THE SEATTLE TIMES

2015

JAMIE BARTON
The Met’s acclaimed mezzo-soprano braves a winter storm to perform at Mechanics Hall with pianist Bradley Moore.

2016

PATTI LUPONE
The two-time Tony Award winner brings her show to a cabaret-styled Mechanics Hall.

NEW VOCAL PRIZE FOR YOUNG ARTISTS
Adding on to the instrumental Young Artists Competition prizes, Music Worcester adopts a new vocal prize from the former Opera Worcester.

JOSHUA BELL
“If there ever were such a post, surely Joshua Bell would be the country’s musical poet laureate.”
THE WORCESTER TELEGRAM

2017

WYNTON MARSALIS
The sold-out opener for the 2017-18 season features the virtuoso jazz trumpeter with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

BENJAMIN BRITTEN WAR REQUIEM
Chris Shepard assists John Daly Goodwin in conducting The Worcester Chorus, The Salisbury Singers, Master Singers of Worcester, Sounds of Stow, and Worcester Children’s Chorus for this blockbuster presentation.

2018

ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE PROGRAM
Music Worcester establishes its first-ever season long
artist-in-residency program—forming connections with artists to teach and coach sessions in the Worcester public schools. Simone Dinnerstein named first artist-in-residence.