To provide and promote high quality, live, symphonic and classical music to the Greater Berks County region. We achieve our mission through performance, outreach and educational programs.
It's easy to think of the Reading Symphony Orchestra as a perennial favorite, but there was a time when the organization was downright subversive! In 1913, a group of music-loving citizens, headed by Harry Fahrbach, banded together in a symphony organization. While that may not seem particularly subversive, the concert time was: Sunday afternoons.
It was an era of rigid enforcement of Blue Laws - statutes preventing business or entertainments on the traditional Sabbath day. The early Reading Symphony organizers were brought before the Mayor, where they were chastised for their irreverent symphonic activities. It was only after the early members of the Reading Symphony invited the Mayor to a patriotic concert - and provided a generous collection of free passes for his entourage - that the group could proceed unencumbered by statute.
Fahrbach was the Reading Symphony Orchestra's first music director, leading the group for ten years. He was succeeded by a number of eminent musicians, including Saul Caston, Alexander Hilsberg, and Hans Kindler, all alumni of the legendary Philadelphia Orchestra during Leopold Stokowski's reign. Louis Vyner followed preceding the remarkable thirty year tenure of Sidney Rothstein. A national search of nearly three hundred conductors brought the RSO Andrew Constantine now in his second year following an opening season that brought critical and box office acclaim.
Today the Reading Symphony Orchestra looks toward its ninety-seventh season as one of the longest continuously-operating symphonies in the United States. For a complete overview of the orchestra's performance history, visit the orchestra's archives.