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The Beginning


The Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is one of the oldest orchestras in Asia and the longest surviving artistic institution in the Philippines. Founded by Alexander Lippay in 1926, the orchestra played a major role in Philippine history, including acting as a symbol of resistance during the Second World War. Through the years, MSO has hosted artists such as Montserrat Caballé, Yehudi Menuhin, Igor Oistrakh, Eugene Istomin, Fou Ts'ong, Barry Tuckwell, Paul Badura-Skoda and Rony Rogoff, as well as conductors Andre Kostelanetz, Arthur Fiedler, Mendi Rodan, Robert Feist, Gareth Nair, Helen Quach, and Eduard Strauss II. Among those who have performed with the orchestra are several National Artists of the Philippines such Antonio Molina, Antonino Buenaventura, Lucio San Pedro, Ernani Cuenco Levi Celerio and Ryan Cayabyab.

In the 1970s, various conductors led the orchestra including Oscar Yatco, Helen Quach, and Regalado Jose. The MSO was reorganized in 2001 by its long-time concertmaster Prof. Basilio Manalo who appointed Prof. Arturo Molina to succeed him. Today, the Manila Symphony Orchestra is one of the country’s most active artistic institutions, providing a variety of high-quality classical performances through its annual season concerts and actively supporting the development of young Filipino talents. 


Where we
are Today

The MSO Foundation

For decades, the Manila Symphony Orchestra has been a pioneer in the practice and appreciation of fine music in the Philippines. Through those years, the pursuit of excellence in our endeavor has been constant. 

As we approach our 100th year, we have expanded into a Foundation with a vision to become a center to discover and train Filipino musical talent, making them perform alongside the world’s best, and letting the practice and appreciation of music a regular part of every Filipino’s life. 

Through the Manila Symphony Orchestra, the Manila Symphony Junior Orchestra, the MSO Music Academy, our various partnerships and initiatives, the MSO Foundation will continue to organize people and resources together to make this possible, with your support and appreciation. 
Together, we will bring forth joy and richness into everyone’s lives through the power of our music. 

Board of Trustees

Antonio O. Cojuangco


Francisco C. Sebastian

Vice Chairman

Marianne B. Hontiveros


Gregorio T. Yu

Vice President/Treasurer

Atty. Jose Feria

Corporate Secretary

Corazon S. Alvina
Ricardo D. Bautista
Ryan Cayabyab
Jeffrey Ching
John L. Silva
Ana de Villa Singson


Jeffrey Solares

Executive Director

Rona de Leon

Marketing Director

Joy Marie Sevilleno

Administrative and Finance Officer

Ronnie Sombilon


Marlon Chen

Music Director and Principal Conductor

Marlon Chen’s dynamic charisma and artistic versatility have seen him conduct opera, ballet, symphonic works and chamber orchestras to sold-out concert halls across four continents. 

In June 2019, Marlon Chen was appointed as Manila Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director and Principal Conductor. He likewise continues his positions as Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfonica de la Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Hildalgo and Resident Conductor of the Aperio Ensemble in Houston, Texas. Previously he was an Associate Conductor of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, an Assistant Conductor of the MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig and an Assistant

Conductor with the Orchestre de Paris. Marlon Chen appears as guest conductor on both sides of the Atlantic with many of the world's finest orchestras including Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, National Orchestra d'ile de France, MAV Orchestra Hungary, English School of Opera Festival Orchestra London, Bulgarian State Opera, Moldova Chamber Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, Bolivian Festival Orchestra, Singapore International Music Festival Orchestra, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and the MDR Orchestra of Leipzig, Philharmonique de Radio France, and the Symphonic Orchestra of Natal, Brazil.

At present, the MSO is composed of 50 full-time musicians under the leadership of its Music Director and principal conductor, Marlon Chen.

In 2019, MSO made history by being the first Filipino and foreign orchestra to be invited in the 5th Hunhe River Symphony Festival in Shenyang, China. MSO showcased works by Philippine National Artists Lucresia Kasilag and Ryan Cayabyab, and classical masterworks.

In 2014, to continue its legacy of musical excellence, the Manila Symphony Orchestra Foundation, Inc. founded the MSO Music Academy and the Manila Symphony Junior Orchestra (MSJO). They regularly hold lessons, masterclasses, and music camps to hone the talents of promising young musicians.

MSO’s mission is to enrich the Filipino’s vibrant cultural life through fine orchestral music and to enable more people to experience the power of music. MSO aims to perform within the highest international standards and present music in a fresh, spirited, and entertaining way.