Huntsville Symphony Orchestra
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The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra is a symphonic orchestra located in Huntsville, Alabama. The current conductor and music director is Gregory Vajda. Vajda has been the conductor since the 2011-2012 season. The orchestra's Resident Conductor is Joseph Lee.
Initially founded as a response to the moving of Wernher von Braun and his rocket team to Huntsville, the orchestra's first rehearsal was held on February 16, 1955, as the Huntsville Civic Orchestra. Forty musicians participated, many of whom were scientists in von Braun's team. Their first conductor was Dr. Arthur M. Fraser.
The Huntsville Symphony is widely considered to be among the finest professional orchestras in the southeastern United States. Their yearly concert programs include a Classical series, a Pops series and a Casual Classics series. Notable guest performers have included renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and classical guitarist Manuel Barrueco.
The HSO is the oldest continuously operating professional orchestra in the state of Alabama. Past conductors include: Arthur Fraser (1954-1959), Russell Gerhart (1959-1971), Marx Pales (1971-1988), Taavo Virkhaus (1989-2003) and Carlos Miguel Prieto (2003-2011).