Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra
The Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra can be traced back to the early 1930s during the throes of the Great Depression. The orchestra gave its first concert at William Penn High School in Harrisburg on March 19, 1931. The conductor on that occasion was Maestro George King Raudenbush, who was to become the orchestra’s first music director. By the end of 1931 the orchestra had moved its concerts to the newly opened Forum Auditorium, part of the Capitol Complex, where it still performs to this day. The 1931-32 season included four concerts. The cost of a subscription: $2.00.
The Harrisburg Symphony is governed by a 27-member Board of Directors. The current Board Chairman is William M. Murray, M.D. The Symphony's volunteer organization, the Harrisburg Symphony Society, is currently led by Patricia Ferris, President. The Society provides support through various special event fund raising activities each year.
The orchestra membership consists of professional players from Central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, DC, New York, and other regions. Being able to select from such a wide variety of talent pools enables the HSO to perform at a particularly high artistic level. The HSO membership is represented by American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 269, and the group is a member of ROPA, the Regional Orchestra Players' Association.
1931-1950: George King Raudenbush
1950-1974: Edwin McArthur
1974-1978: David Epstein
1978-1994: Larry Newland
1995-1999: Richard Westerfield
2000–Present: Stuart Malina
Youth Symphony Orchestra
The Harrisburg Youth Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1953 and one of the oldest youth symphonies in the country. The Youth Symphony operates under the umbrella of the Harrisburg Symphony. The current conductor of the Youth Symphony is Gregory Woodbridge. The Youth Symphony performs the annual Holiday Spectacular in December, plus a number of other events in The Forum, at Strawberry Square in downtown Harrisburg, and at several area high schools.