Virtual Musical Zoo with Missoula Symphony

Roar and Soar when Missoula Symphony presents Carnival of the Animals March 5-7

On Stage

Dig up some dinosaur bones, sprout some wings and try handstands with Monte Bear when the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale presents Carnival of the Animals, March 5-7.

Have you ever heard pianos roar like a mountain lion, a cello become a swan, or a clarinet sound like a cuckoo bird? This 45-minute streaming event, described as “a virtual musical zoo,” brings an entire menagerie to life, with a Montana twist.

Music Director Julia Tai conducts her first full concert at the helm of the Missoula Symphony.
Music Director Julia Tai conducts her first full concert at the helm of the Missoula Symphony.

The playful work, written by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, takes center stage in the first full concert under the baton of new music director Julia Tai. As part of a Q&A series, posted on Facebook, Tai said she’s “excited to work with both the orchestra and the chorale to present awesome concerts and be deeply rooted in the fabric of Missoula’s arts culture.”

The annual family concert is a partnership with the Montana Natural History Center, which created a Field Guide to accompany the concert, and local theatre professional Rosie Seitz-Ayers. Even University of Montana’s Grizzly mascot, Monte Bear, joins the act.

“We are so excited for our youth and family concert,” says Executive Director Jo May Salonen. “You’re going to learn a lot about symphonic music and how it all ties in with animals in our community and around the world.”

And best of all, kids and families everywhere can screen the concert from home as often as they like from 7 p.m. Friday, March 5, until 10 p.m. Sunday, March 7.

“Even though this is a virtual experience, we have maintained our commitment to introducing symphonic music to young people in a fun and visual way,” says Salonen. The MNHC’s Field Guide offers information on music and animals that families are bound to enjoy. “And, Monte Bear is thrilled to join us because he hasn’t had many opportunities to interact with our community this year.”

Other collaborators include the University of Montana, Missoula Children’s Theatre, and Montana PBS.

Tickets are on sale now for $8.00 per person for The Carnival of the Animals and can be purchased online at or by calling 406-721-3194.