The Nusantara Chamber Orchestra (NCO) was established in 1988, and in 1988 the name was changed to become the Nusantara Symphony Orchestra (NSO), under the aegis of the Nusantara Foundation chaired by Mrs. Herawati Diah. The foundation is now led by Mrs. Pia Alisjahbana, which includes Miranda S. Goeltom, Dedi S. Panigoro, Mila Mawira as board members. In 2004, the Orchestra was chosen as the Home Orchestra of Balai Sarbini Concert Hall, and the NSO Co. was formed to run the daily operation of the orchestra, under the chairmanship of Miranda S. Goeltom with Aida Swenson as Executive Director, Otto Sidharta as Music Director, and Nuryani Yahya as Office Manager, with Edward C. Van Ness as the principal conductor, the Nusantara Symphony Orchestra has become an orchestra that is managed professionally where the orchestra members include the best Indonesian musicians with a large number of the members are under permanent contract and have regular rehearsals. With a repertoire ranging from the Baroque to the present time, the NSO does not only perform classical music but also performs light classical music jazz and even rock and roll.
The orchestra s principal players comprise a group called the NSO soloists, which present chamber concerts and smaller individual recitals. And various other combinations are possible such as a traditional string trio, quartets, quintets, sextets, octets, and small string orchestra with different variations.
In the early development Nusantara Symphony Orchestra has performed several concerts conducted by guest conductor such as Adidharma, Lim You from Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Theo Ollof and Peter Bansberg from Netherlands and Louis Stewart from USA.
Renown soloists such as Aisha Ariadna-Soediarso, Rudy Laban, Laksmi Pamoentjak, I Gusti Bagus Wiswakarma, Trisuci D. Kamal, Oerip S.Santoso, Ananda Sukarlan were among the guest performers from abroad such as Peter Bansberg Marimba, Huga Holleman – Violinist from Hooland, Frederic Pelassy – violinist from France, Izumi Tateno – Pianist from Japan, Robert Lehrbaumer – Pianist from USA, Anthony Peebles – Pianist from Great Britain, Lim Kek Beng – Cellist from Holland, Geoffrey Saba – Pianist from Australia, Pierre Laniau – Guitarist from France, Patricia Shih – Violinist from Canada, Vivian Siao – Pianist from USA, Marijke Ten Kate – Soprano from Holland Lesly Tan – Cellist from Singapore and others.
The Nusantara Symphony Orchestra also cooperates with various groups and musicians, from within Indonesia along with visiting musicians invited from other countries to further improve the quality of the performances. NSO also plans a number of concerts in other countries in the years to come.
Implementing all of these many activities by the NSO requires very strong support from various people. With this need in mind, the NSO formed a group by the name of Friends of NSO. The members of the Friends of NSO have provided contributions which have been critical to carrying out the program and continued development of the Nusantara Symphony Orchestra.