Asheville Symphony Orchestra
The Asheville Symphony Orchestra, which was originally founded in 1958, currently employs 80-100 orchestra members, a full time manager, and a full time conductor. As of the 2007-2008 season, the Symphony operates on a budget of nearly $1,000,000, which is drawn from a variety of sources including the North Carolina Arts Council, individual donors, advertising, fundraising, the local government, and ticket sales. The 2007-2008 Symphony Orchestra season ran from September through May and consisted of seven masterworks concerts and the annual Holiday Pops concert. In addition to the main concert series the Asheville Symphony Orchestra also offers Choral performances, concerts by the Children’s Chorus, educational events and pre-concert lectures. All of the main Symphony Orchestra events take place at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, located within the Asheville Civic Center, and feature one or more guest artists.
Asheville Symphony Orchestra History
The original name for Asheville’s symphony was The Asheville Little Symphony. Initially the Symphony was performed entirely by volunteer musicians and without the services of a conductor or manager. By the early 1970’s the Symphony had grown in size, changed its name to the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, and hired a part time resident manager and conductor. Near the same time paid guest artistes where added, choral and youth ensembles where developed, a woman’s guild was formed, season tickets were sold, and the events were moved from schools and churches to the city auditorium. As of 1977 the annual budget was $40,000, which included the addition of payment to the resident musicians. This year also marks the first year that a significant grant contribution was received to help fund the Symphony. By 1980 the Asheville Symphony had expanded to include a full time manager and conductor. The addition of the new conductor, Robert Hart Baker, to the Symphony initiated many improvements to both the size and quality of the Orchestra. Robert Baker remained the conductor until 2004 when the Symphony hired current Music Director, Daniel Meyer.