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 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.

COVID-19 Updates

Learn More

Recent blog posts

WSO to Go Series

While we are on a break,  we want to keep the music playing wherever we can. We will be sharing videos from our musicians, teachers and orchestra performances on our social media channels with the tag #wso2go You can follow along on Facebook • Instagram and Twitter and we will post highlights on this page. From the Executive Director: Classical music provides us with… Read More

Read more

COVID-19 Update

Update: March 24, 2020 Dear Members of the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra Family, For 51 years the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra has performed, educated, and enriched the lives of thousands of our neighbors. We recognize as our highest priority the safety and well-being of our patrons, musicians, and staff. The Executive Committee met on March 23rd to discuss our upcoming concert Italian Opera Fest… Read More

Read more

UPDATE: Irish Rhapsody Concert Postponed

The Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra recognizes as its highest priority the safety and well-being of our musicians, patrons, and staff.  The Executive Committee of the board of directors met on 3/11/2020 to discuss our upcoming concert Irish Rhapsody (03/14/2020).  In light of the current health situation due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and out of an abundance of caution, the committee has… Read More

Read more