Our Story

  • July 1949

    Initial organization of the San Angelo Symphony Society.

  • November 1949

    First Concert. Dr. Eric Sorantin of San Antonio was the First Conductor.

  • 1955

    San Angelo Symphony Guild was established.

  • 1959

    Eric Sorantin Young Artists Competition established1965 the name changed to Hemphill-Wells Sorantin Award for Young Artist in cooperation with and funding from the Hemphill-Wells Foundation. Read more about the Sorantin Competition.

  • 1967

    Eric Sorantin retires; Charles Blackman, Associate Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, became conductor. Blackman organized the first San Angelo Symphony Chorale.
  • 1968

    The first Symphony Gala was held.

  • 1973

    Joined with the Abilene Philharmonic to provide and share conductor, musicians, and guest artists. George Yaeger Conducted both the San Angelo and Abilene Orchestras.

  • 1978

    Dissolved relationship with Abilene and employed Gene Chartier Smith, San Angelo’s first resident conductor. Smith also served as orchestra coordinator for the San Angelo Public Schools.

  • 1979

    Subscription concert series increased to 5 concerts.
  • 1980

    Dissolved relationship with Abilene and employed Gene Chartier Smith, San Angelo’s first resident conductor. Smith also served as orchestra coordinator for the San Angelo Public Schools.

  • 1983

    25th Anniversary of the Hemphill-Wells Sorantin Young Artist Competition. The finals were added to the regular subscription series, making a total of 6 events.

  • 1984

    Subscription series increased to 7 events: Six symphony concerts plus the H-WS Finals. SASO plays to its first standing room only audience.

  • 1985

    SASO presents its first Kinder Concert(s). Symphony Guild reinstates the Symphony Gala.

  • 1986

    SASO plays to largest audience ever: 3500 at the Texas Sesquicentennial Pops Concert at the Coliseum. SASO presents its first pair of concerts – The Christmas Pops Concerts, with a combined total audience of 2400. Board of Directors implements an Endowment Fund Campaign, and the first-time solicitation of Corporate Sponsorships: Target Stores ($15,000), and GTE ($10,000).

  • 1987

    SASO performs its first July 3rd Pops Concert on the New Riverstage to an estimated audience of 10,000.

  • 1989 - 1990

    Combined total annual audience reaches 25,000. Orchestra commits to employing 60 strings on concerts featuring symphonic literature.

  • 1990

    Town and Country Food Stores support the July 3rd Pops Concert with a $15,000 Corporate Sponsorship. 14,000 attended this concert.

  • 1991

    Performed the monumental work, Mahler: Symphony No. 2, the “Resurrection”. Town & Country Food Stores increase funding for July 4th Concert to $20,000. The Endowment total value: $500,000+.

  • 1992

    Orchestra and Chorale perform Berloiz: Requiem. First season- Opening concert pair saw a total audience of 2,000.

  • 1993

    Symphony receives state-wide and national publicity and recognition for its youth programs and the July 3rd Pops concert. Attendance for July 3rd was an estimated 20,000.

  • 1994

    Orchestra and Chorale perform Beethoven: Missa Solemnis. Tim Forrester is employed as Manager and Marketing Director beginning a new era and focus on marketing and promotion.

  • 1996

    Gene Chartier Smith retires – Search for new conductor begins.

  • 1997

    Ron Spigelman becomes 5th conductor.

  • 1998 - 1999

    The SASO completes its 50th Anniversary season.

  • 2002

    Hector Guzman is named the 6th music Director and Conductor, in addition to his posts with the Plano Symphony and Irving Symphony Orchestras.

  • 2004

    The San Angelo Symphony performs its first run-out concert in Sonora, Texas.

  • 2005

    The San Angelo Symphony Guild celebrates its 50th Anniversary. The San Angelo Symphony hosts the Symphony of Horses, a unique event chronicling the evolution and history of the horse.

  • 2006

    At the February Concert, the San Angelo Symphony hosted the Texas premiere of a new work by living composer Joan Tower as a part of the Ford Made In America Consortium Project. Ms. Tower traveled to San Angelo to conduct her piece, “Made In America.”

  • 2012

    The San Angelo Symphony Society initiates a contest in search of a new logo and selects a design showcasing the connection between the orchestra members and the audience in relation to seating, lighting, and venue. Symphony plays its 25th Anniversary performance of July 3rd Pops concert, sharing the quarter-century mark with the River Stage.

  • 2014 - 2015

    The SASO completes its 65th Anniversary season.

  • 2016

    Van Cliburn Silver Winner, Sean Chen, performs with the SASO in March and Gold Van Cliburn winner, Alexander Kobrin, performs with the SASO in October.

  • 2017

    The Symphony hosts The Culinary Challenge, a unique event involving community chefs and community partners. The Symphony orchestra plays the 30th Anniversary performance of July 3rd Pops concert at the Riverstage.

  • 2017 - 2018

    The San Angelo Symphony opens its 68th year of live performances in the newly renovated Elta Joyce Murphey Performance Hall and Stage at City Auditorium. The hall will be known as The Murphey.

  • 2018 - 2019

    The Symphony features the San Angelo Symphony Chorus at the Holiday Pops Concert. The Chorus is made up of community volunteers and Symphony Board members.

  • 2019

    The Symphony hosts the 2nd annual Culinary Challenge and names Chef Earl Mulley of Halfmann’s Cake Cottage the winner.

  • 2019 - 2020

    The Symphony celebrates its 70th anniversary of live orchestral performance with The Platinum Season.