About Us

The WSO was founded in 1969 by several area musicians and community leaders who wished to have a good local orchestra perform under the direction of an outstanding conductor. Dr. Karp, a noted conductor and later General and Music Director of the Pittsburgh Opera, fit the bill. Amateur musicians were initially used for the four-concert season at Greensburg Salem High School, but under Dr. Karp’s tutelage, the orchestra grew each year both in size and quality of sound. In 1974, the orchestra presented the first of its annual outdoor summer concerts, and the Visiting Artists Program, a school ensemble program, was introduced. When Dr. Karp became ill in 1975, Michalak, then Assistant Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony, took over, remaining through the 1977-78 season.

The 1978-79 season was marked by a conductor search, with the job going to Markou, then Associate Conductor of the Canton (Ohio) Symphony. In his first season (1979-80), the orchestra moved to a new hall (the then newly renovated Palace Theatre) and presented five subscription concerts. During his 31-year tenure the quality of performance steadily improved, reaching critical acclaim in recent years.

During the 2011-2012 when the national search for a new conductor was whittled down to two finalists, Maestro Meyer was the WSO’s Artistic Advisor. The job title was changed to Artistic Director when he signed his contract at mid-year.

Each December, the orchestra in conjunction with Laurel Ballet presents three performances of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Ballet at the Palace and, each fall since 1975, has offered a Young People’s Concert, a one-hour daytime concert for area elementary school students, also at the Palace.

2016-2017 Season in Full Swing

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Recent blog posts

Beethoven’s Ode to Joy

Beethoven’s exultant Ode to Joy closes out the WSO 2016-2017 Season. Considered to be Beethoven’s greatest works, Symphony No. 9 features a large chorus and vocal soloists – the ninth symphony’s “Ode to Joy” theme is one of the most recognizable melodies ever performed. The concert is conducted by Artistic Director Daniel Meyer, and features the 70 vocalists including the WSO Chamber Singers directed by Marc… Read More

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Rachmaninoff’s 3rd

Daniel Meyer conducts a program of Russian masterpieces featuring piano virtuoso Orion Weiss performing Rachmaninoff’s monumental Piano Concerto No. 3. Glinka’s heroic Russlan and Ludmilla Overture is an exuberant introduction to the concert alongside our talented young WYSO musicians. The concert concludes with Tchaikovsky’s folk song-inspired Symphony No. 2 “Little Russian.” “When you’re named after one of the biggest constellations… Read More

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[Video] 1976 Pops Concert | Dance of the Comedians by Smetana

  This performance of Smetana’s Dance of the Comedians is from a live recording of a Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra Pops Concert, circa 1976. The conductor was Thomas Michalak. David Singer was privileged to be the Principal Clarinetist of the orchestra for 4 years. The Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra’s first conductor was Dr. Richard Karp, who was also General and Music Director… Read More

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