History

Click to download photo story. (PDF)

Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra
 Celebrating 60 Years of Great Music
  • Sept. 21, 1949 – Charter for Jacksonville Symphony Association is approved by the Florida Circuit Court.
  • Jan. 20, 1950 – A women’s group is formed to support the Symphony, later known as the Women’s Guild, known today as the Symphony Guild.
  • March 8, 1950 – First performance of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra is held at the George Washington Auditorium, led by founding Music Director Van Lier Lanning. Ticket Price: $1.
  • Sept. 3, 1952 – Dr. James Christian Pfohl is appointed music director.
  • Jan. 5, 1959 – Symphony launches “The Magic of Music,” a 13-week educational television series on WJCT Channel 7 for Duval County Schools.
  • Jan. 28, 1962 – John Canarina conducts first concert as music director.
  • Sept. 16, 1962 – Jacksonville Civic Auditorium is dedicated. First permanent home for the Symphony. 
  • Nov. 10, 1970 – Arthur Fiedler of the Boston Pops Orchestra conducts the Symphony’s opening concert, marking the JSO’s rebirth following a cancelled season. Later that season, comedian Jack Benny hams it up with the JSO in a benefit concert.
  • April 21, 1971 – Willis Page is announced as the Symphony’s new music director.
  • May 18-19, 1972 – The Symphony performs at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Carnegie Hall in New York, premiering new works by Carlisle Floyd and Duke Ellington in celebration of Jacksonville’s sesquicentennial.
  • Oct. 2, 1973 – WJCT Public Broadcasting begins to offer simultaneous broadcasts of the Symphony’s concerts on TV and radio.
  • Sept. 15, 1984 – Roger Nierenberg is welcomed as the new music director. During his tenure, the Orchestra achieved dramatic growth and the Jacksonville Symphony Chorus was founded.
  • Jan 4, 1989 – Luciano Pavarotti performs with the Symphony in front of a sell-out audience at the Jacksonville Coliseum.
  • Jan 19, 1991 – The formation of the group Beaches Residents Actively Supporting the Symphony (BRASS) is announced.
  • Feb. 13, 1991 – The first Starry Nights series is announced, featuring the Symphony performing with popular guest artists at Metropolitan Park.
  • May 10, 1993 – The Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra (JSYO) is formed to provide continuing music education, training and performance opportunities for Jacksonville youth.
  • May 23, 1995 – Cellist Yo-Yo Ma performs a farewell concert with the Symphony in the old Civic Auditorium hall.
  • Feb. 8, 1997 – Violin virtuosi Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman perform with the Symphony in the new Jim and Jan Moran Theater at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.
  • April 26, 1997 – Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall inaugural concert features Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, conducted by Roger Nierenberg. This is the JSO’s first concert in its new home at the Times-Union Center.
  • Jan 22, 1998 – The Symphony performs at Carnegie Hall in New York with soprano Frederica von Stade and baritone Thomas Hampson, premiering a new work by Richard Danielpour.
  • May 11, 1999 – Fabio Mechetti is introduced as the Jacksonville Symphony’s new music director.
  • Oct. 20, 1999 – Amelia Residents in Action for the Symphony (ARIAS) holds its inaugural event.
  • February 26, 2000 – Symphony celebrates its Golden Anniversary with a week of special concerts, including the first-ever Fresh Ink Florida Composers’ Competition, now a biennial event.
  • February 3, 2001– Led by Fabio Mechetti, the JSO produces its first grand opera with a performance of Puccini’s Tosca.
  • March 16, 2001 – The Symphony performs the inaugural concert featuring the rebuilt Casavant pipe organ in Jacoby Symphony Hall. The JSO becomes the country’s first orchestra to install a historic pipe organ in a new concert hall.
  • 2004-2005 Season – Project Ovation, an audience-building incentive, produces a 17% increase in ticket revenue. 
  • November 10-12, 2005 – The JSA produces its first-ever commercial recording, featuring the Orchestra, Chorus, and the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus performing Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.
  • April 19-21, 2007 – Jacksonville Symphony celebrates the tenth anniversary of Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall with performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection.”
  • May 29-31, 2008 – The Jacksonville Symphony presents its first-ever musical collaboration with the cast of the Alhambra Dinner Theatre, performing The Music Man in Jacoby Hall, followed by a fully staged production of West Side Story in September 2008.
  • 2009-2010 Season - The JSO celebrates its 60th anniversary with a special performance by Itzhak Perlman. The season also marks Fabio Mechetti's 10th year as music director, the Jacksonville Symphony Chorus' 25th year, and the 10th year of the Bryan Concert Organ.