The Austin Symphony Orchestra is the oldest performing group in Austin, Texas. It was founded in 1911, and celebrated its centenary year in 2011.
The inaugural concert was held on April 25, 1911. Initially, the orchestra consisted of 28 unpaid members and an unpaid conductor. It now has over 90 members, but is still not a full-time orchestra. It was not until 1948 that a paid Music Director was appointed - Ezra Rachlin being the first appointee – and a regular concert series was presented. Rachlin remained in the post for 21 years, until 1969. The current, and eighth, Music Director of the Austin Symphony Orchestra is Peter Bay, who has been in the post since 1997. Past Directors include Maurice Peress (1970–73), Akira Endo and Sung Kwak.
Ezra Rachlin organised a drive-in concert, the world's first, in 1948. The first children's concert was held in 1951.
The Centennial Gala Performance took place on April 28, 2011, and featured the violinist Itzhak Perlman as soloist, as well as a performance of Alexandre Luigini's Ballet égyptien, which was played at the very first performance a century earlier.
The symphony plays its regular season concerts in Dell Hall at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Austin.