Recently Symphony Orchestra Augusta opened what is shaping up to be a very exciting season, with a new conductor behind the baton and a new venue – the restored Miller Theater. At the same time, the Macon Symphony Orchestra, after 40 years, was forced to cease operations due to declining audience and financial support.
Such are the swings and roundabouts of the classical musical world.
And yet, in a state better known for soul singers than symphony orchestras, there is a wealth of ensembles, companies and organizations dedicated to preserving and presenting classic works to eager Georgia audiences. Some of these include:
Georgia Symphony Orchestra – Based out of Marietta, this group maintains not only an orchestra, but also a choral group, a jazz wing and educational outreach programs.
Columbus Symphony Orchestra – Founded in 1855 by a student of the classic composer Felix Mendelssohn, the Columbus Symphony stakes claim on the title of Second Oldest Symphony in the United States. While it occasionally hit pause in times of war, it’s current run – dating back to 1949, make 2017-18 its 68th consecutive season.
Coastal Symphony of Georgia – Based in Brunswick, the Coastal Symphony was formed in 1982 to provide the opportunity for young music students to perform alongside seasoned players. Today, the organization continues that mission, operating as a professional symphony orchestra while maintaining ties to the Golden Isles Youth Orchestra.
Savannah Philharmonic – A relative newcomer, the Savannah Philharmonic was formed in 2008, providing music to not only its concert hall patron, but also appreciative patients as part of the Integrative Medicine Program at the Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial Hospital.
Albany Symphony – Begun as a small ensemble of enthusiastic musicians in 1965 and incorporated in 1967, the Albany Symphony often takes its act on the road. While it makes its official home in the Albany Municipal Auditorium, the orchestra, as well as its associated chamber ensembles, performing regularly in Americus and Southeast Alabama.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra – The big fish in the pond, the Atlanta Symphony’s history is replete with Grammy Awards, international tours and world premiers. A true full-time symphony, the organization presents more than 200 performances every year.