The Grand Rapids Symphony was established in 1930, and the steadfast commitment of visionary community leaders has created an organization that has received national recognition for the high quality of its concerts and educational programs.

More than ninety years ago, our community in Grand Rapids and West Michigan determined that an orchestra would strengthen the city and region. Following the decision to establish this important cultural resource, the steadfast commitment of visionary community leaders has created an organization that is recognized nationally for the high quality of its concerts and educational programs.

Led by Music Director Marcelo Lehninger, Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt, the orchestra presents six concert series with performances designed to capture the imagination of young children and adults alike, featuring a wide range of music and performance styles.

The Grand Rapids Symphony presents more than 400 performances each year, touching the lives of some 200,000. Nearly half of those who benefit are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities reached through extensive education and community service programs.

The Symphony’s Affiliated Organizations include the Grand Rapids Bach Festival, Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra, and Grand Rapids Youth Choruses. The Symphony also provides the orchestra for Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company.


Our vision is for the Grand Rapids Symphony to be a more integral and indispensable part of the West Michigan community. The institution has long been an important part of the community, with musical excellence, diverse programming, collaborative spirit, and a commitment to learning all adding to the quality of life we enjoy in West Michigan.

However, by providing additional value to our community, we have an opportunity to become more integral and indispensable, to have people from around the region experience that we are integral to the vibrancy of our community.

Indispensable: is about sharing great concerts and educational programs with our community as Grand Rapids and West Michigan grows and evolves, becoming a center of regional excellence with a diverse population and business base. We have an important role in the continued development of West Michigan, helping to connect people with one another and supporting economic growth.

Integral: is about taking the organization to the community, not only inviting them to come to us. This impacts:

•  What is offered (type of programming, location of concerts)
•  Providing a full experience (beyond the music)
•  Making education a major element of our service to the community


To excel at providing distinctive musical experiences, with an emphasis on live orchestral music, for diverse audiences throughout West Michigan.


Our mission is to share great music that moves the human soul.

Key Initiatives

The Key Initiatives listed below support the Grand Rapids Symphony’s vision, purpose and mission, and are contained within the organization’s Strategic Plan.

•  Elevate our artistic excellence
•  Broaden engagement with our community
•  Build our audiences
•  Cultivate our educational programs
•  Design our electronic media presence
•  Strengthen our organization
•  Follow our financial roadmap

For Funders

Our 990 for the two most recently completed fiscal years is available for download below. For additional organizational and financial information, please review our website and look for the Grand Rapids Symphony Society on Guidestar’s website at For assistance, please contact us at 616.454.9451.

Grand Rapids Symphony 2020 Form 990
Grand Rapids Symphony 2021 Form 990
Grand Rapids Symphony 2022 Form 990