The Murfreesboro Youth Orchestra continues to grow and develop in exciting new directions. Here is a list of notable milestones along the road we have traveled so far.
The orchestra is established in May, 1997, with a budget of $8000 and a roster of 17 string musicians. Anne Duvall is appointed as executive director and Susan Mullen as conductor and artistic director. The orchestra rehearses at a portable classroom at Middle Tennessee Christian School. The first season includes two concerts. The orchestra also purchases a bass.
The Preparatory String Orchestra is established in October, with Jean Bills as conductor. The string orchestra expands, and other sections are added, making the MYO a full orchestra. The orchestra purchases two timpani. Performances and rehearsals are moved to the Rutherford County Arts Center. The season’s subscription series now includes three concerts. The MYO commissions and premieres Sound Images by David Bridges.
The MYO’s premieres Breaking Up Christmas, arranged by Conni Ellisor for dulcimer and orchestra, with Stephen Seifert on dulcimer; Companion Suite for Guitar and Orchestra by Paul Carrol Binkley (commissioned and premiered by MYO), with Paul Binkley on guitar; and Holiday Cheer by Ralph Scott.. In February, the orchestra holds its first educational outreach tour, performing for thousands of children at three Murfreesboro City and Rutherford County schools, thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the Tennessee Arts Commission. Jim Lichtenberger is appointed as PSO conductor. The MYO performs the first of a series of concerts alongside the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
Both orchestras move from the Arts Center to the larger space at Middle Tennessee State University’s McLean School of Music. Murfreesboro City Cable Channel 3 begins televising our concerts. Andrew Duncan is appointed PSO conductor.
The orchestra premieres the specially commissioned work An American Symphony by Craig Duncan. The orchestra also sponsors its first annual “musical instrument petting zoo.” And the orchestra holds its first annual solo Concerto Competitions. Mikelle Budge is appointed PSO conductor.
The orchestra performs a joint concert with the Tennessee Valley Winds in Murfreesboro and performs the first of a series of concerts performing alongside the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in Shelbyville, Tennessee. The MYO premieres Quartets for Orchestra, a series of multi-cultural pieces arranged by Terry Jolley, thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the Tennessee Arts Commission. The MYO Ensemble performs the Quartets at several Murfreesboro City and Rutherford County schools.
The orchestras now include 97 members. Ellen Gassler is appointed executive director. Sam Oliva is appointed conductor of the PSO. The MYO commissions and premieres Snow Day by Michael Linton.