Since it's inception in 1933, the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera has performed some of the finest classical and pops music. Included in its repertoire are standard orchestral pieces by Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn as well as pieces by Brahms, Mahler, and Shostakovich. The CSO also programs works by new composers such as John Adams and Jennifer Higdon. Pops concert range from music of Hollywood to music of the Big Bands to Music of the Beatles and Elton John. The CSO annually performs at local festivals including Chattanooga's Riverbend Festival and Pops on the River (a 4th of July Celebration).
During it's long history, the CSO also presented many favorite operas including La Boheme by Puccini, Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart, and Aida by Verdi. In addition to opera classics, the CSO has performed Fidelio, The Beggars Opera, Susannah, and performed the Southern Premiere of The Ballad of Baby Doe in 1963. The 2010-2011 season brought the return of opera to the Tivoli stage with Amahl and the Night Visitors.
The size of the Orchestra varies with each performance, but ranges between 45 and 100 players all from Chattanooga and surrounding areas. Each season, the CSO plays with many guest artists and throughout it’s history, has performed with artists such as Midori, Artur Rubenstein, Fletcher Bright and the Dismembered Tennesseans, Beverly Sills, and Itzak Perlman.