The Salisbury Symphony Orchestra is a professional symphony orchestra home-based in Salisbury, North Carolina.
The Salisbury Symphony Orchestra consists of forty-five to ninety musicians that perform five to seven concerts annually, typically in Keppel Auditorium on the Catawba College campus or Varick Auditorium on the Livingstone College campus.
We perform a large variety of repertoire from early classical works to recent pops selections, often with guest soloists and performers of note from all over the world. The Orchestra’s season finishes in June each year with the annual “Pops at the Post” celebration, a free, outdoor event held in downtown Salisbury near the Salisbury Post office building and co-sponsored by the Post, an event which brings more than a thousand visitors to Salisbury each year.
The Symphony also sponsors music-related educational programs, small group instruction and summer camps for local school-age children.
A Symphony Orchestra like no other—52 years in the making.
It is relatively rare for a municipality to host it's very own professional symphony orchestra, and rarer still that the hosting city is as small as Salisbury. But it is even less common to find such an orchestra which has existed continuously for over 52 years, and yet that is exactly what our community has in the Salisbury Symphony!
The idea of having a symphony orchestra here in Salisbury, North Carolina was first conceived by Dr. Samuel E. Duncan, the fifth president of Livingstone College in the early sixties. In the spring of 1966 he invited Dr. Donald C. Dearborn, then president of Catawba College, to collaborate with him to establish a community symphony. Together with the Salisbury City School System, the two colleges jointly hired Albert Chaffoo to organize the area's first symphony orchestra and to teach college and high school classes in music. Chaffoo, an Iranian-born college professor, had previously helped to create the Baghdad Symphony Orchestra - Iraq's first symphony orchestra - and later conducted the Birmingham and Bournemouth Orchestras in London. Accepting a teaching position which brought him to the United States, he later directed the Asheville Symphony and was the founding Music Director for the Western Piedmont Symphony Orchestra (Hickory, NC) before coming to Salisbury.
The fledgling Salisbury Symphony Orchestra's first concert took place on November 6, 1967 in Keppel Auditorium of Catawba College. Professor Chaffoo continued to serve for fifteen years as a music educator for the community as well as the music director and conductor of the orchestra. When he retired in 1982 he observed, "I think I've done what I wanted to do here. I leave Salisbury with a symphony I think I can be proud of."