Costa Rica stepped onto the world stage in classical music with the formation, in 1970, of the National Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of an American, Gerald Brown. The orchestra, which performs in the National Theater, often features world renowned guest soloists and conductors. Its season is April through November, with concerts on Thursday and Friday evenings, plus Saturday matinees.
Costa Rica also claims the only state-subsidized youth orchestra in the Western world. The Sura Chamber Choir, founded in 1989 with musicians and vocalists from the country's two state universities, is the first professional choir in Central America, with a repertoire from sacred through Renaissance to contemporary styles. The Goethe Institute, Alliance Franiaise, the Museo de Arte Costarricense, and the Costa Rican North American Cultural Center.
Costa Rica holds an International Festival of Music during the last two weeks of August. In 1992, performances included the Costa Rican Chamber Orchestra, a Brazilian chamber orchestra, a string, woodwind, and harpsichord sextet, and Costa Rican music for two guitars.