A History of the Springfield Symphony: 1934-Present

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) came to life in the spring of 1934 after a group of Springfield High School students approached their music teacher, James Robertson, about forming a civic orchestra. With Robertson as the conductor, the orchestra performed its first concert on February 26, 1935, in Clara Thompson Hall, on the campus of Drury University. In 1936 a Board of Directors was formed, and beginning in 1943, orchestra members began receiving payment for their services – 50 cents an hour!

In 1942, the Symphony joined 39 other orchestras from across the country in founding the League of American Orchestras, formally known as the American Symphony Orchestra League. The League of American Orchestras is still the largest and most prestigious international body representing the orchestral industry today.

Springfield Symphony Orchestra Timeline