In less than four decades, this still-young orchestra rose to the front ranks of America's second-tier orchestras, often challenging the most venerable national ensembles. The arrival of Andreas Delfs as music director focused the orchestra's energies and hastened a higher level of refinement in timbre, precision, and stylistic awareness. Many of the world's leading soloists have established a close relationship with the orchestra and Delfs' former musical directorship of the Hanover Staatsoper has resulted in the introduction of many outstanding singers as soloists in large concert works. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra traces its history to a first concert on October 29, 1959, directed by Arthur Fiedler. Five pops concerts and two classical concerts led to the hiring of Harry John Brown as the M.S.O.'s first music director for the following season. By 1967, the number of permanent musicians had risen from 16 to 63, and Kenneth Schermerhorn had become the orchestra's second music director. During Schermerhorn's tenure, the orchestra's complement grew to 88 and a first recording for Vox/Turnabout that included the music of Samuel Barber. Beginning with the 1980-1981 season, composer/conductor Lukas Foss was appointed music director and the BBC chose M.S.O. broadcasts for European airing. During the 1982-1983 season, the composer attended an Aaron Copland Festival; during the 1984-1985 season, the orchestra made its first tour of Europe, performing 12 concerts in Britain, Holland, Germany, and Austria and received positive reviews. For the 1986-1987 season, Zdenek Macal became the orchestra's fourth music director and Leonard Bernstein attended an M.S.O. festival devoted to his music. For 1988-1989, Koss Classics initiated a new series of M.S.O. recordings. The following year, a successful East Coast tour took the orchestra to the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. By the 1991-1992 season, M.S.O. broadcasts were being carried by 357 stations nationwide. During the next season, Zdenek Macal led the orchestra on a tour of Japan. The years 1994 to 1996 brought an end to Macal's tenure, the appointment of the gifted Frank Almond as concertmaster, and, after an interim period during which Stanislaw Skrowaczewski served as artistic advisor and conductor, the engagement of Andreas Delfs as the orchestra's fifth music director. In December 1999, the M.S.O. became the first American orchestra to tour Cuba in 37 years.