The Youngstown Symphony Society
260 West Federal Street
Youngstown, OH 44503
Apr 06, 2014 at 2:30 PM
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Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 8:00 PMFind out more
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The Youngstown Symphony Orchestra began in 1926. It was then that Michael Ficocelli organized "The Little Symphony Orchestra." The Orchestra was composed of 12 members, all under the age of 16. Their first program was broadcast in 1926 from WKBN radio, and their first public concert was held in 1929. Carmine Ficocelli became the conductor in 1929 when Michael traveled to Rome to further his musical studies.
he Junior Chamber of Commerce became interested in the Orchestra in 1935 and removed the word "Little" from the organizational name. Realizing that the Orchestra should have a permanent administrative body, the "Jay - Cees" then organized the Youngstown Symphony Society. The orchestra grew in numbers and four concerts were performed in the spring of 1935 at Stambaugh Auditorium. By the 1937 - 1938 season, 2,300 people were attending concerts at Stambaugh Auditorium.
Under the direction of George Madtes, a Women's Committee was formed in 1935 to promote interest in the Orchestra by introducing music education through children's concerts. A youth group and music-appreciation classes for children and adults were conducted. The group was later reorganized as the Women's Committee for Children's Concerts during John Krueger's term with the Orchestra. Later, the WCCC would become an affiliate of the Youngstown Symphony Society.The Junior League later sponsored a series of Pop Concerts that were held at Idora Park and The Mansion on Logan Road.
When the Ficocelli Brothers retired after 25 years of devoted service, John Krueger, a 29-year-old composer and conductor, was hired in 1951. At that time, the Society was reorganized and the name of the orchestra was changed to "The Youngstown Philharmonic Orchestra" The first concert following the reorganization was held in December, 1951. Three concerts were given that season. Growth under Mr. Krueger included the Youngstown Philharmonic Chorus, begun in 1952, and the Junior Orchestra, founded two years later.
In the 1965 - 1966 season, Franz Bibo was appointed conductor and remained in that post for 12 seasons. The orchestra's name was changed to "The Youngstown Symphony Orchestra." During his tenure, Mr. Bibo began a successful series of fully staged, locally produced operas. He also participated in all plans concerning the renovation of the Edward W. Powers Auditorium, home of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra since 1969.
Beginning the 1980 - 1981 season, Peter Leonard was selected music director and conductor. Mr. Leonard began a series of pre-concert lectures that have become popular with concert audiences.
In 1986, the Youngstown Symphony Society began a pilot program to give free instruction in violin and viola to interested and qualified inner-city school students.
In 1987, with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Youngstown Symphony Society began an incentive program to attract string students from nearby colleges to perform with the orchestra. This program addressed the critical issues of artistic advancement and a diminished musician pool in the area.
Also that same year, a classic-movie series was established. Movie presentations permit the Society to utilize the fully equipped sound room with a 35-millimeter movie projector. The sound room also provides for direct taping of concert performances.
Musical Director and Conductor David Effron was appointed in 1987. During the 1993 - 1994 season of Mr. Effron's term, Children's and Tiny Tot concerts were opened to the general public, a three-concert choral subscription series was initiated and a string quartet established.
In 1996, Isaiah Jackson became the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra’s seventh musical director and conductor. The Storytyme in-school music program for preschool children began in the 1996 - 1997 season. During Mr. Jackson's tenure, the orchestra was involved in two commercial recordings: "Strings Attached," with the rock group Glass Harp, and "Home for the Holidays" with the Joe Augustine Quartet.
Currently, the Youngstown Symphony Society Board of Directors manages the Orchestra as well as the DeYor Performing Arts Center, including the Edward W. Powers Auditorium and the Ford Family Recital Hall. The concert season is composed of five classical Masterworks Concert Series and four Pops concerts. Additionally, Young People's Concerts and community site Storytyme serve more than 10,000 children annually. The Society also sponsors special events throughout the year.