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.

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Recent blog posts

Meet Maria Sensi Sellner

Our December 16th Home for the Holidays guest conductor Maria Sensi Sellner grew up in Westmoreland County and graduated from Valley High School. She then went on to Carnegie Mellon where she double majored in Mechanical Engineering and Music Composition. Ms. Sellner is the first three-time winner of the American Prize for Opera Conducting and is the Artistic & General Director… Read More

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Spend the Holidays with the WSO!

It’s the merriest time of year! Join us the Nutcracker on December 9 & 10 featuring a cast of 100 from the Laurel Ballet. You will be enchanted on this magical, musical trip to the land of the Sugarplum Fairy, waltzing snowflakes and enchanted toys. Tickets start at just $13. Then make plans to attend Home for the Holidays on December 16 featuring… Read More

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One Book, One Community

Read a great book and receive discounted tickets! The WSO has teamed up Westmoreland County Federated Library System to enhance the music experience with a Fall/Winter One Book One Community program.  Community members are invited to read Willa Cather’s My Antonia and join a book discussion. Participants will have the opportunity to buy discounted tickets at the book club to the… Read More

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