Welcome back to Austin classical music / San Antonio classical music 101! Today we’re talking about the history of the San Antonio Symphony.
San Antonio classical music’s beginnings hail back to the 1880’s, when the first complete symphony in the state of Texas was performed by a 49-piece orchestra. It would be nearly two decades later, however, in May 1905 that the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra gave its first concert. The SASO performed off and on for several years until a revival in 1914 as the San Antonio Philharmonic. Two years later, the name reverted back, but the organization still lacked solid leadership and direction.
While today’s San Antonio Symphony certainly owes something to those early performers, it was music director Max Reiter in 1939 that founded the cherished organization of San Antonio musicians. Reiter’s influence and leadership was quickly felt, as SAS became one of 19 “major” orchestras in the country by the mid 1940’s. Unlike others in this category, the San Antonio Symphony continued to hold performances through World War II, thanks to a strong local economy.
After Reiter’s death in 1950, the Symphony continued to grow with the addition of Young People’s Concerts. In 1967 the SAS made its first major label recording with Mercury Records.
Despite financial difficulties in the 1980’s, the 90’s were a decade of acclaim and recognition for the Symphony’s programming. They received awards from the National Endowment for Arts; the American Symphony Orchestra League; the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers; and more.
Today the San Antonio Symphony performs an abbreviated season with a slightly smaller musician complement compared to previous years, but it continues to shine artistically and be regarded as a world-renowned orchestra.
If you’re planning an office event, chamber concert, wedding ceremony or special event that calls for professional Austin classical musicians or San Antonio classical musicians, please contact us so we can help. Our performances can range to include the trumpet, violin, cello, string quartet, and so much more! From traditional wedding music to contemporary choices, we provide the perfect setting for that special event.