The mission of the Penfield Symphony Orchestra is to perform and promote live symphonic music for Penfield and the greater Rochester community and to provide an opportunity for highly qualified, dedicated musicians to perform in a community orchestra.
The Penfield Community Orchestra was founded in 1955 by a small group of musicians as part of the Adult Education Department of the Penfield Central School District. By 1965, it was sponsored by the Penfield Recreation Commission and later by the town of Penfield. In 1982, orchestra members voted to reorganize as an independent, nonprofit group, the Penfield Symphony Orchestra.
Although the PSO continues to honor its historical beginnings and its hometown by retaining “Penfield” in its name, many of the orchestra’s musicians, volunteers and audience members live beyond the town’s borders.
Two PSO musicians are paid: the music director and the concertmaster. All other musicians are talented, hard-working volunteers who play in the orchestra to satisfy their love of good music.
The paid attendance rate remains at a consistent level, evidence of audience appreciation of PSO performances.
Among the PSO’s activities are:
Classical music concerts: In four concerts each season, the PSO provides audiences with a wide variety of renowned performers. Past concerts have featured locally, nationally and internationally known soloists such as Tony Caramia, the Guarneri String Quartet, Gregg Smith Singers, Eastman Brass, Trio Nova and the U.S. Navy Sea Chanters.
Young artist competition: Through the annual Jo Amish Young Artist Competition, the PSO provides high school juniors and seniors from nine counties around Rochester an opportunity to compete at a high level. The top three finalists receive cash awards, and the winner performs with the PSO in a concert. Past winners include Ward Stare (1999), the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra music director.
Commissioned music: The PSO continues to add to the orchestra repertoire by commissioning symphonic pieces, including an opera by Cary Ratcliff and Robert Koch and works by Glenn West, Dave Rivello, Grant Cooper and David Liptak.
Free tickets for students: The PSO offers free tickets to students to encourage families to attend and gain a deeper appreciation of classical music.
Free rides for seniors: Some seniors are not able to drive at night and can take advantage of free rides offered by the PSO with Lifespan drivers.
Music library: The PSO lends music from its extensive library to other local orchestras.
David Harman is music director of the PSO, which has five paid employees and has its headquarters at 1587 Jackson Road, Penfield. Its website is penfieldsymphony.org.
Financial record Year ended June 30, 2016
Program service $35,139 53
Contributions and grants 26,459 40
Other revenue 5,174 8
Total revenue $66,772
Program service $42,704 58
General administrative 31,004 42
Total expenses $73,708
Excess (deficiency) of revenue over expenses ($6,936)
Board of directors
Dan Griswold, president
Alan Lowne, vice president
David Mear, treasurer
Yvonne Adams, secretary
—Researched by Bill Alden
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