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93 years and counting for Modesto Symphony Orchestra
MSO nightmare before Christmas
In November, the Modesto Symphony Orchestra will perform Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” live with a screening of the film at the Gallo Center for the Arts (Photo contributed).

The Modesto Symphony Orchestra will open its 93rd season with new Music Director Nicholas Hersh with Tchaikovsky & Copland on Oct. 13 and 14.

The program will start with Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro then will feature pianist Alessio Bax on Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The evening will conclude with Copland’s Symphony No. 3, which features the well-known theme from Fanfare for the Common Man. As part of the opening weekend festivities, the MSO will have an after-party in the lobby to celebrate the new season and their new music director.  

MSO Director Nicholas Hersh
The Modesto Symphony Orchestra is welcoming new music director Nicholas Hersh (Photo contributed).

“We are so excited to open our Classics Series with our new Music Director Nicholas Hersh,” said Caroline Nickel, President and CEO of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Association. “Nick immediately started to work completing the programming for our season and we are so excited to share it with the community. Everyone at the MSO is thrilled to have Nick’s artistic leadership and we can’t wait to see where we’ll go from here.” 

Hersh is frequently in demand as an arranger and orchestrator, with commissions from orchestras around the globe for adaptations of everything from classical solo and chamber music to popular songs. His orchestration of Beethoven’s Cello Sonata Op. 69 was premiered by the Philharmonie Zuidnederland in January 2022, while his symphonic arrangement of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody continues to see worldwide success as a viral YouTube hit. He also serves as arranger and editor for the James P. Johnson Orchestra Edition. 

The opening concert will feature Alessio Bax on piano. Bax catapulted to prominence with First Prize wins at both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, and is now a familiar face on five continents, not only as a recitalist and chamber musician, but also as a concerto soloist who has appeared with more than 150 orchestras.

In November, the Modesto Symphony Orchestra will perform Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” featuring a screening of Disney’s timeless holiday classic with Grammy-winning composer Danny Elfman’s musical score performed live to the film. The concert will be led by Principal Pops Conductor Ryan Murray on  Nov. 3 at 7:30 pm and Nov. 4 at 2 pm at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto. Tim Burton’s "The Nightmare Before Christmas" will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this October.  

“We are so excited to bring Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ back to the stage with our Modesto Symphony Orchestra,” said Nickel. “We last performed this concert in two sold-out performances in 2017, and it was such a thrilling experience to see our audiences be swept up in the magic of Danny Elfman’s score. It was amazing to see the creativity and enthusiasm the audience showed by dressing up in costume for the event. We hope to recreate the experience this year and I look forward to seeing everyone dress to impress!” 

For more information on future events and tickets, visit