History

History Header

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.

 Read “The First 100 Years”

 

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 – 2013

Joyce Clark-Sarnacki

2013  2015

Lisa Jepson Wahlstrom

2015 – present

Scott Blake