History

The BSO through the years

The Bangor Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1896, making BSO one of the oldest continuously operating orchestras in the U.S.

The Symphony owes its start to Abbie N.Garland, a popular Bangor piano teacher and composer, who -- at the age of 44 -- decided her town needed a symphony orchestra.

The first year, she managed the organization with the help of Symphony Conductor Horace Mann Pullen. The second year, she recruited musicians and the third year, she sponsored the Symphony's subscription sale. She also worked tirelessly to educate the public about Symphonic music and to create enthusiasm for unfamiliar pieces.

The Symphony played its first concert on November 2, 1896 in Bangor City Hall. Horace Mann Pullen conducted the 16-member orchestra in a program featuring Schubert's Unfinished Symphony.

Today, the Symphony's 70 musicians present classical concerts and pops concerts; The Nutcracker with the Robinson Ballet; the annual Youth Concerts, BSO Maine High School Concerto Competition, and the Maurice P. King Master class.

Since 1896, ten Music Directors have held the baton for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra -- and many guest artists have brought their talents to Symphony performances.

BSO Past Presidents

1916 - 1924


Horace Mann Pullen
Conductor until 1920

1924 - 1952


Adelbert W. Sprague
Conductor

1952 - 1956


Carl W. Maxfield

1956 - 1957


Daniel W. Fenner

1957 - 1959


Eugene H. Rice

1959 - 1961


Harris B. Southard

1961 - 1962


Dr. Carl W. Irwin

1963 - 1964


John S. Taylor

1964 - 1966


Dr. Edward Porter

1966 - 1968


Dr. George O. Chase

1968 - 1969


Gordon W. Clapp

1969 - 1970


Norman Minsky

1970 - 1971


Mr. Ambrose S. Higgins

1971 - 1973


Mrs. John A. Woodcock
(Joan Woodcock-Nestler)

1973 - 1975


John Bragg

1975 - 1977


Don Ziegenbein

1977 - 1979


Dr. Robert Clukey

1979 - 1981


Mr. Daniel B. Priestley

1981 - 1983


Mrs. Richard W. Sprague (Ann)

1983 - 1985


Margaret C. Bragg (McGill)

1985 - 1987


Dr. George W. Wood III

1987 - 1989


John Bragg

1989 - 1991


Deedy Schiro

1991 - 1993


Dr. Thomas Watt

1993 - 1995


Dr. Anne E. Pooler

1995 - 1997


Dr. John A. Bradford

1997 - 1999


Melvin Braverman

1999 - 2001


Thomas C. Johnston

2001 - 2004


Dr. Charles F. Rauch

2004 - 2006


James H. Goff

2006 - 2007


Jeffrey D. Smith

2007 - 2008


Sandra Blake-Leonard

2008 - 2011


Samuel W. Lanham, Jr.

2011 - present

Joyce Clark-Sarnacki