Charleston Symphony Orchestra

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The Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is the largest resident orchestra of South Carolina and plays most of its concerts in downtown Charleston. While the Gaillard Municipal Auditorium is undergoing renovations, the CSO will perform in College of Charleston's Sottile Theatre. The orchestra was founded in 1936 by Miss Maude Winthrop Gibbon and Mrs. Martha Laurens Patterson. It currently employs 24 full-time musicians.[1] In April 2012, the CSO launched an international search for a new Music Director to replace the late David Stahl.[2] During the Music Director Search, CSO Concertmaster Yuriy Bekker will serve as the Acting Artistic Director [3]

David Stahl, former CSO Music Director, who studied under Leonard Bernstein and was known for his interpretation of Mahler's work, served as music director and conductor for 27 years, until he died on October 24, 2010 as the result of lymphoma he battled for his last two months. Stahl was also credited with elevating the Orchestra to a world-class program.[4]

CSO suffered financial difficulties because of a decline in fund-raising in 2009. Musicians and staff struck a salary-cut deal with the board and agreed to take an 11.4 percent annual pay reduction for the 2008-09 season and 25.1 percent for 2009-10. [5] The orchestra, despite the pay-cut in 2009, continued to suffer financial crisis in 2010, because of a constant decline in fund-raising. In March 2010, CSO canceled its concert programs for the rest of the year and called off all its activities.[6]

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra recruited new staff in order to make the orchestra a viable arts organization. Daniel E. Beckley joined the CSO as Executive Director in December 2010.[7] Alana Morrall and Nicole Ward joined the CSO as Director of Development and Director of Marketing, respectively, in August 2011 [8]

The 2011-2012 Season was very successful for the Charleston Symphony. They brought world-renowned conductors and guest artists to Charleston to play alongside their world-class musicians. The season opened with a Masterworks Series Concert featuring pianist Emanuel Ax and the CSO experienced record-breaking sales [9] The season continued to break records with its February 11 Masterworks Concert, which featured Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, the South Carolina premiere of a violin concerto by local composer Edward Hart, and CSO Concertmaster Yuriy Bekker performing on a 1686 Stradivarius violin. At this concert, the Gaillard Municipal Auditorium was at 99% capacity with 2706 tickets sold. This concert became the highest grossing concert in the history of the organization [10]

In addition to its Masterworks programming, the CSO offers a Pops and Chamber Orchestra series, as well as educational and community performances.[11]

List of Music Directors[edit]

  • Ken Lam (2014 - )
  • David Stahl, (1984 - 2010)
  • Lucien DeGroote - (1964 - 1981)
  • Don Mills (1959 - 1963)
  • J. Albert Frecht (1941 - 1958)
  • Tony Hadgi (1936 - 1940)


  1. ^ Charleston, Symphony. "Musicians". Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  2. ^ Curran, Erica Jackson. "Charleston Symphony Orchestra announces season lineup". Retrieved July 30, 2012. 
  3. ^ Charleston, Symphony Orchestra. "Yuriy Bekker". Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "David Stahl, The Conductor of CSO Dies". published October 24, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  5. ^ "Musicians, Staff Agree to Sacrifice". Adam Parker, March 29, 2009 The Post And Courier. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  6. ^ Taylor, Kate (March 30, 2010). "Charleston Symphony Orchestra Suspends Operations". published March March 30, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  7. ^ Curran, Erica Jackson. "Charleston Symphony Orchestra hires executive director". Retrieved June 30, 2012. 
  8. ^ Curran, Erica Jackson. "Charleston Symphony Orchestra hires new staffers". Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  9. ^ Curran, Erica Jackson. "Charleston Symphony Orchestra announces record-breaking sales". Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  10. ^ ABC News 4. "CSO hosts highest grossing concert in its history". Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  11. ^ Charleston Symphony Orchestra. "Concerts & Tickets". Retrieved 30 July 2012. 

External links[edit]