Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis: Where the Love of Music is Everything

The Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis is a volunteer based Indianapolis musical organization that performs both classical and pops concerts throughout Indianapolis in addition to running the Strings & Jazzy Things summer camp. The orchestra was founded in 1940 by former Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra member Herman H. Rinne. He envisioned the orchestra as an outlet for skilled players who were committed to day jobs. The orchestra debuted with fifty members in 1941 at a local high school.

Since then, the group has grown both in membership and in influence in the Indianapolis arts community. They have performed at a variety of different Indianapolis performing arts venues, like the Pike Performing Arts Center and the Hilbert Circle Theatre. In addition, they have played at colleges and schools around the United States. The Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis performed at the first Indy Jazz Fest in 1999 and also played a number of pieces for the 25th anniversary of Star Wars at the Indiana Convention Center.

Video of members of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis accompanying the Indianapolis Young Bassist Ensemble in a piece by Rachmaninoff


Unlike its sister orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis is an entirely volunteer based organization. Their musicians play for the love of music, not for a paycheck. This is in line with the original vision of Mr. Rinne: dedicated music enthusiasts playing excellent music. The group holds open auditions once a year for new members, and they generally play ten or more classical and pops concerts throughout a season.

The Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis’ Symphony Centre is located right in downtown Indianapolis, a block away from Monument Circle. If you’re in the area, be it shopping at the Circle Centre Mall or taking in the majesty of the Indiana State Capitol Building, it would be a good idea to stop by the Symphony Centre to pick up tickets to a great classical or pops performance.

Keeping with the original intent of the Orchestra as an accessible vessel for Indianapolis music, tickets to Philharmonic Orchestra shows are relatively inexpensive. Season tickets are $45, and pre-ordered tickets or tickets at the door are only $15 for adults, $5 for students, and absolutely free for children under ten.

However, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis is not entirely about giving well crafted performances of classic masterpieces. It is also a shining example of Indianapolis education. The Philharmonic Orchestra offers two different educational programs: “Strings & Jazzy Things” and “Listen & Learn”.

The Philharmonic Orchestra runs Strings & Jazzy Things in conjunction with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. The program is a great opportunity for Indianapolis children to immerse themselves in orchestral music. It is a free, week-long summer camp that is designed for students with some musical experience and is held at Broad Ripple High School. Throughout the week, the students improve their skills at wind, percussion, brass, and stringed instruments. They learn the art of improvisation and even attend a jazz concert. At the end of the camp, the students perform a final concert at the Indianapolis high school.

Listen and Learn is an informal session that takes place an hour before each Indianapolis Philharmonic Orchestra performance. Participants can meet members of the Philharmonic Orchestra, see what goes on behind the scenes of a performance, and learn intriguing facts about the pieces scheduled to be performed. The program began in an impromptu session in 1997 and became a regular addition to the orchestra’s concerts in the 1998-1999 season.

The Indianapolis music scene seems to be as wide as it is deep. The city is privileged to have a widevariety of popular music groups, from rock bands like Summon the Destroyer to hip hop artists like Mudkids. It has a long history of great jazz musicians like Steve Allee and Slide Hampton. But perhaps most impressive of all is the fact that Indianapolis has two full-fledged orchestras: the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis.

For more information on the Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis, including the season schedule, pricing information, and a detailed history, please visit the orchestra’s homepage.

Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis
Symphony Centre
32 E Washington St, Suite 900
Indianapolis, IN 46204