About Us

History of the Palace Theatre

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 season 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 for the past several decades, the orchestra presented Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker at the Palace Theatre and, annually since 1975 has offered Young People’s Concerts, two one-hour daytime concerts for area elementary school students held at Greensburg Salem High School. The WSO looks forward to resuming these presentations next season.

Maestro Markou founded the Westmoreland Youth Symphony Orchestra in 1981 and conducted the orchestra in its first years. The WSO Academy of Music was founded by Morrie Brand in 2005, creating more than 12 additional music education programs for youth and adults.

In 2021-2022 the WSO presents its 53rd anniversary season. The WSO continues to provide classical performances and quality education for the region because of the loyal support of our amazing community. We look forward to a bright future full of incredible music.

2022-2023 Season

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Recent blog posts

Steven Banks Performs Mozart for the 54th Season Opener

Opening Night featuring Steven Banks, saxophone Greensburg, PA – The Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra presents the first concert of their 54th Season Opening Night on Saturday, October 15, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg. The concert opens with Mozart’s Oboe Concerto performed by Steven Banks on the soprano saxophone.  “I’m particularly excited to work with Steven Banks… Read More

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Chatham Baroque – Summer Chamber Music Series

The Summer Chamber Music Series presents the final concert of the summer featuring Chatham Baroque on Thursday, August 11, 2022 beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Unity Chapel in Latrobe. Chatham Baroque includes Andrew Fouts, baroque violin; Patricia Halverson, viola da gamba and Scott Pauley, theorbo and baroque guitar. They will perform works by Bach’s Sonata in G Major as well… Read More

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WYSO Seeking New Philharmonic Conductor

The Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra announces an opening for the Conductor of a Westmoreland Youth Symphony Orchestra (WYSO) Program’s Philharmonic. “The Philharmonic is the ‘flagship’ orchestra of the WYSO Program, and is comprised of high school students and advanced middle school students,” said Morrie Brand, the current WYSO Philharmonic conductor. “The youth orchestra program is the largest component of the WSO’s… Read More

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