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The mission of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra is to place the world’s finest music at the center of the cultural life of the South Coast community. The NBSO enriches the lives of adults and children through the transforming power of great music, performing concerts at the highest level of professional standards and providing educational programs for children and listeners of all ages that deepen their enjoyment and understanding of music and make it a part of their daily lives.

In 1915, Clarence Arey, a gifted musician and teacher, established the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra to provide high-quality performances of classical music for his community. Mr. Arey also created the first public high school orchestra program in Massachusetts and inspired superintendents from around the state to establish orchestra programs in their school systems. Mr. Arey’s dual devotion to a Symphony Orchestra presenting high-quality performances of classical music for its community and a music education program opening the world of classical music to young people remains the heart and soul of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra. Today, the NBSO presents both symphony and chamber concert series as well as community performances, and our innovative educational programs continue to grow.


Learning in Concert Online: Learning in Concert engages students in a cross-discipline exploration of music and STEM concepts especially for elementary school students. Three educational programs with composition games, plus our Compose-it! music composition program, are available with free open access on the NBSO website. 

Classical Community: The Classical Community program makes available free tickets to families who want to introduce their children to symphony orchestra concerts. Email to sign up. 

Southeastern Massachusetts Youth Orchestras (SEMAYO): SEMAYO provides an educational and artistic experience for students from pre-school through age 21. Students audition for placement into the appropriate level ensemble. A highlight is participation for older students in the NBSO’s Holiday Pops Family Concert. More information at

Family Music Resource Center: A variety of fun and creative videos that explore different aspects of classical music are posted on the NBSO website including pre-k music and literacy videos based on the NBSO’s new children’s book, “A Concert at the Zoo.” Free open access.

Pathway to Performance: The NBSO has introduced Pathway to Performance, a free private lesson program in partnership with New Bedford schools, erasing another barrier preventing all our young people from having equitable access to instrumental performance instruction. 

Scholarships: The Lillian B. Lamoureux Music Scholarship competition is open to all SouthCoast music students ages 14-21. Scholarships may be used for private music lessons, tuition, or other expenses that further the student’s music education. The application deadline is announced each spring. Scholarships are also available to cover tuition for youth orchestra students; more information at


Executive Director: David Prentiss, President & CEO

Address: 128 Union Street, Suite 204, New Bedford, MA 02740

Phone Number: 508-999-6276


Email Address:

Hours of Operation: Monday thru Friday, 9-5

Scholarships/financial aid is available.

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