The Toledo Symphony Orchestra opens its season with Friends of Music 75 years later

Published Tuesday, August 14, 2018 9:00 am

On Sunday, September 9, 2018 at 7 p.m. at the Toledo Club, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra kicks off its 2018-2019 season, first season with new Music Director Alain Trudel, and 75th anniversary season with Friends of Music, a program inspired by the inaugural concert that established the organization 75 years ago.

“The Toledo Symphony originally began as an organization called the ‘Friends of Music.’ While the orchestra has grown substantially in size and caliber in the past 75 years, we are wise to remember our humble roots as a string orchestra of amateur musicians that cared for music.” said Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony. “This program includes music from and inspired by our very first performance in 1943. It will allow us all to pause and appreciate the friendships we have forged through music and raise a glass to the many lives that the Toledo Symphony has touched in its history.”

There were several early attempts to create the Toledo Symphony. Arthur W. Kortheuer led an orchestra from 1897-1912 at several venues, including the Valentine Theatre. Successive ensembles briefly appeared in 1913-1914 and 1916-1917. Lewis H. Clement led an orchestra from 1920-1926, with concerts at Scott High School and other auditoriums. An orchestra performed for two seasons at the Paramount Theater, including a gala performance in May 1940 that featured soprano Lily Pons.

Years later, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra began as the “Friends of Music” and gave its first concert on September 28, 1943 at Macomber Vocational High School. Edgar Schenkman was the orchestra’s first conductor, leading 22 musicians in a three-concert season. Since then, the orchestra has grown into one of the country’s most respected regional orchestras, celebrated nationally for its educational outreach and commitment to artistic excellence.

“I am delighted that ‘Friends of Music,’ the first concert in our 2018-2019 season, pays tribute to the first concert of the 1943-44 season. The 75 years between these two concerts have seen our orchestra grow by leaps and bounds, but I like to think that our roots – in friendship, in music, and in community, are still very much the same.” said Alain Trudel, Music Director of the Toledo Symphony.

The program on Sunday evening will feature pieces by Ravel, Bloch, Mozart, and Brahms.

“These four composers were also the four composers featured by the Friends of Music in 1943,” said Merwin Siu, Artistic Administrator of the Toledo Symphony. “We’ve taken four amazing chamber works by these great composers – including Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro, which was featured on that first concert – and combined them to create a program that is true to the wonderful chamber music experience that our patrons love at the Toledo Club while paying tribute to our historic beginnings.”

Friends of Music will take place Sunday, September 9, 2018 at 7 p. m. at the Toledo Club. Tickets are available at or by calling the Toledo Symphony Box Office at 419-246-8000.

For more information, please contact Felecia Kanney, Director of Marketing for the Toledo Symphony at


The Toledo Symphony is a community-supported organization of professional musicians and teachers who deliver quality performance and music education for all.

Formed in 1943 as The Friends of Music and incorporated in 1951 as the Toledo Orchestra Association, Inc., the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has grown from a core group of twenty-two part-time musicians to a regional orchestra that employs sixty-five professional musicians who consider the Toledo Symphony their primary employer, as well as numerous extra players annually as repertoire demands.

The Toledo Symphony reaches more than 260,000 individuals annually through performances and education programs. The series concerts (Masterworks, Pops, Chamber, Mozart in the Afternoon, and Family Series) are the critical underpinning of the orchestra’s artistic mission and regularly draw people from 135 postal zip codes. Additionally, Music Under the Stars, a free summer band concert series, is held annually at the Toledo Zoo. Education programs, student performances, and community concerts are held in schools, neighborhood churches, performing arts centers, and community facilities throughout the region; many are offered at no charge or provided at a reduced fee to help expand participation.


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