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No.: PR0014
TITLE: Edmonton Symphony Society fonds
CREATOR: Edmonton Symphony Society
DATE RANGE: 1920-2012, predominant 1954-1996
EXTENT: 12.31 m of textual records and other material.
Includes 720 photographs, 35 negatives, 23 slides/transparencies, 2 transparencies, 3 copy negatives, 3 colour separations, 56 VHS videotapes, 29 audiotapes, 2 newspaper mattes, and 2 video reels.

The Edmonton Symphony Society was founded on October 31, 1952, to administer a symphony orchestra in Edmonton, Alberta. The first incarnation of an Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO) occurred in 1920; this ESO was incorporated on July 19, 1920, and held its first performance on November 14, 1920, under the direction of conductor Albert Weaver-Winston. William G. Strachan, Principle Flautist, was the first president of the Board of Directors, remaining in the position for twelve years. While initially successful, the Great Depression caused the orchestra to cease operations in 1932.

In September 1952, Marion K. Mills initiated a meeting to discuss the establishment of a new symphony orchestra, using musicians from Edmonton Pops Orchestra, a City-sponsored orchestra first organized in 1947. The Edmonton Symphony Society was incorporated under the Societies Act on November 22, 1952, to promote and encourage public interest in music and musical entertainment. Additional objectives included: to organize, encourage, and offer symphonic concerts, musical entertainment, and concert programs; to encourage and provide the means whereby musicians may have the opportunity of developing their studies, thus advancing the cultural life of the members of the Society and others; and, to foster in every way appreciation and enjoyment of symphonic and fine music in all its forms. Mills served as the first president of the Edmonton Symphony Society, the parent organization of the new Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

The first concert of the ESO, with Lee Hepner as conductor, was held on November 30, 1952, at the Capitol Theatre in Edmonton. Throughout its history, the ESO has called several performance venues home, including the Capitol Theatre, Victoria Composite High School, Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, and the Francis Winspear Centre for Music.

In January 1953, the Women’s Committee of the Edmonton Symphony Society was established, independent from the Edmonton Symphony Society, but intended to cooperate with the Edmonton Symphony Society in every way to assure support for the orchestra. Much of their involvement concerned the furthering of music education in Edmonton and surrounding districts. The Women’s Committee is now known as the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Associates.

The ESO has received many awards over the years, including a Gemini award for a televised special featuring K.D. Lang and Tommy Banks, and a Juno award for the orchestra’s recording of Elektra Rising – Music of Malcolm Forsyth. Other notable events in the orchestra’s history include their first performance on a First Nations Reserve in 1996, and their debut at Carnegie Hall in 2012.

In 1997, The ESO moved to the Francis Winspear Centre for Music. The Edmonton Symphony Society and the Winspear Centre are two distinct arts organizations interconnected through their Board of Directors, administration, programs, and strategic goals. The Winspear Centre and the Society act as both stewards and ambassadors for music and the intrinsic value of community arts organizations.

SCOPE AND CONTENT: The fonds consists of the operating records of the Edmonton Symphony Society; the records have been divided into the following series: Board Records (PR0014.0001), Administrative Records (PR0014.0002), Personnel Records (PR0014.0003), Financial Records (PR0014.0004) and Marketing Records (PR0014.0005).

See the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Associates fonds (PR1425), the Edmonton Youth Orchestra fonds(PR1588) and the Symphony Women's Educational Assistance Fund fonds (PR2900)

Fonds of various individuals, such as the F. Morris Flewwelling fonds (PR1008), the Madeleine McCormick fonds (PR1114), and the Harry Weisser fonds (PR0961) contain assorted programs, newsletters and newspaper clippings of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

GENERAL NOTE: Not all records copyright Edmonton Symphony Society.
RELATED SERIES: PR0014.0001 (Board Records series)
PR0014.0002 (Administrative Records series)
PR0014.0003 (Personnel Records series)
PR0014.0004 (Financial Records series)
PR0014.0005 (Marketing Records series)
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