The first pops program, which will take place in March, will feature Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, Summertime, and An American in Paris. Other programs will feature film music, Peter and the Wolf, and holiday music.
The new series is part of an effort to expand the orchestra's audiences. Trevor Green, the orchestra's managing director, said, "The whole point about the MSO is that we should be able to offer something for everyone. So we need to continue to diversify our output."
The orchestra's renewal rate for subscriptions is at 90 percent, but Green worries that the subscribers are getting older. He told The Age that the idea was to build a "subbrand" of the MSO in order to appeal to people for whom classical music is too difficult.
"Works by Beethoven Schoenberg, and Mahler are still there," He added. "We just want to find a new way to introduce people to what we do."
Since 1986, the MSO has backed popular music stars such as Elton John, Kiss, and Meat Loaf, and the orchestra has put on Classical Spectacular concerts, featuring light shows and fireworks, since 2000.