The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is a major American symphony orchestra based in Baltimore, Maryland. History Founded in 1916, the Baltimore Symphony was initially a branch of the municipal government. In 1942 the Orchestra became a private institution. That reorganization was the first of several upgrades in budget and the more intangible concept of "status." Joseph Meyerhoff, who became the President of the Board in 1965, inaugurated the most significant of those expansions..