Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association, Inc.

Life Is Better With Music

aka FWSO

Fort Worth, TX


The mission of the Fort Symphony Orchestra Association is: 1)To perform great symphonic music at the highest level of artistic excellence to educate, entertain, and enhance cultural life, 2)To present engaging music education programs for young people to foster early interest in and inspire lifelong enjoyment of music; and 3) To achieve ever-greater levels of artistic accomplishment and leadership in Fort Worth and across the nation.

Ruling Year


Chairman of the Board

Mrs. Mercedes T. Bass

Main Address

330 East Fourth St, Suite 200

Fort Worth, TX 76102 USA


symphony, Fort Worth, Texas, Bass Performance Hall, orchestra, symphonic, pops, music education, music





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Symphony Orchestras (A69)

Music (A68)

Music Groups, Bands, Ensembles (A6C)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

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Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Symphonic and Pops Concert Series

Touring Texas

Adventures In Music

Concerts In The Garden

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Total number of performances

Population(s) served


K-12 (5-19 years),

Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

Context notes

Total number of performances includes Symphonic, Pops, Education and Outreach, Concerts In The Gardens, and community partner concerts. Numbers presented are by season (e.g. 2016 = 2015-16 season)

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Although the FWSO just completed the final year of our organization's five-year strategic plan, we continue to build on recent success by following these strategies. Even when we fully transition into new leadership and begin a new phase of planning, many of these goals will remain core focuses of the FWSO:

• Steadily increasing programming balance, accessibility and creativity

• Building on the strength and breadth of our education programs

• Expanding our audience and the diversity of those we serve

• Making music accessible to all

• Diversifying revenue sources

The FWSO is addressing these long-term goals by:

• Steadily increasing programming balance, accessibility and creativity as we perform everything from our upcoming world premiere symphonic suite 'Bel Canto,' to the 1812 Overture and the music of Pink Floyd. In the 2017-18 season, we celebrate our eighteenth season with Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya, who has worked tirelessly to promote fresh repertoire and deliver awe-inspiring performances.

• Building on the strength and breadth of our education programs to engage young minds in local schools as well as those in rural districts. This past season began to introduce bilingual Spanish-English programming while continuing a strong tradition of providing Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills aligned curriculum. Director of Education and Community Outreach Lindsey Branch also restructured our in school performance program to create Symphony In Your School. This year-long curriculum includes two performance by the full orchestra at eight Title I schools. Students at the schools then get to experience the orchestra at other venues in field trips. This program vastly improves student retention of the materials.

• Expanding our audience and the diversity of those we serve through dynamic collaborations with the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Fort Worth Opera, Texas Ballet Theater, Texas Christian University, Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary, and many others. Vice President of Artistic Operations Becky Tobin ensures these partnerships remain strong each year.

• Making music accessible to all through free community performances, in addition to our Beethoven's Buddies program, which distributes free tickets to clients of human service agencies. Lindsey Branch and Vice President of Marketing Tamara Clement are presently developing a new Sunday Symphonic program that will provide free tickets to educators, military families, first responders, and social workers.

• Diversifying revenue sources to remain the largest arts employer in Tarrant County with a $50 million impact on our local economy. This effort to expand is best exemplified through the Amon G. Carter Foundation challenge. With the goal of raising $3 million in three years, FWSO is seeking new and increased contributions (with a limit of $10,000 per donor) that must be pledged at a consistent level over three years before qualifying for matching funds. We have already seen a remarkable response, as new donors join the symphony and longtime supporters advance their annual giving. Meanwhile, sales continue to grow, with current sales up by 12%.

The FWSO's administrative staff of 27 all bring industry experience and expertise to their roles in the organization. Similarly, the FWSO musicians are some of the most talented in world, hailing from prestigious conservatories and storied careers. The FWSO Board of Directors features talented and passionate community leaders from across the broad spectrum of industry that Fort Worth is fortunate to have. And the FWSO benefits from extraordinary funding partners who are committed to helping this community institution continue to better serve our city, county, and region of this great state.

We recently implemented digital, post-concert surveys that measure audience experience, preferences, and demographic information. This feedback helps us identify our strengths and opportunities to grow, and provides deeper insight into who we serve, so that we can offer truly meaningful experiences to everyone in our community.

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra gave its first performance over 100 years ago. Since that first gathering of musicians in Fort Worth, Texas, this ensemble has transcended the dreams of its founders by touring the world, releasing numerous albums on international and national labels, and collaborating with some of history's greatest talents, such as Luciano Pavarotti, Itzhak Perlman, and the Texas Swing legends Asleep at the Wheel. Now the FWSO looks forward to the release of Prokofiev's full set of five piano concerti on the Harmonia Mundi label, featuring Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Vadym Kholodenko on piano. And in April of 2018, the FWSO will take the national stage, appearing at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as one of four ensembles participating in the SHIFT: Festival of American Orchestras. To see a brief historical timeline of the FWSO, please visit

External Reviews


Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association, Inc.

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  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
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  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable