Since 1924, the Amarillo Symphony has played a leading cultural role in the Panhandle region, the State of Texas, and the nation.
The Amarillo Philharmonic Club, one of at least three women’s music clubs active in Amarillo, Texas in the 1920s, presented its first concert featuring a “Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra” in October of 1924, initiating the just about one-hundred year-long history of what would in 1950 become known as The Amarillo Symphony, an institution that continues to thrive as the largest and most active performing arts organization in the heart of the Texas Panhandle today.
The history of this organization was shaped in no small part by many folks who readily cultivated a rich musical ecosystem in the small city they called home in the opening decades of the twentieth century. Even during the years of the Dustbowl, the Great Depression, World War II and its aftermath, the organization kept on keepin’ on, presenting concerts, producing remarkable spectacles, and presenting acclaimed guest artists, even if they had to roll butcher paper on stage so the musicians could perform without dirtying their fancy gowns with Panhandle dust, according to one recollection.
After years of performing in Amarillo’s Municipal Theater, the orchestra moved its performances to the newly constructed Amarillo Civic Center Auditorium in 1968, where it played for almost four decades. In 2006, it made its debut in the world-class Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, a proscenium theater carefully designed to visually resonate with the natural features of America’s High Plains.
Since its inception, the Symphony has increased its ranks of musicians, raised its artistic level, and established outstanding community and educational programs. In addition to a seven-concert subscription series, the Symphony performs two Holiday Pops concerts and a HODGETOWN Pops Concert each year. It also facilitates the Amarillo Symphony Youth Orchestra program and administers additional education programs that reach over 16,000 students across the Panhandle each year. Additionally, the Symphony partners with the Lone Star Ballet to present The Nutcracker Ballet each December and regularly collaborates with Amarillo’s many other outstanding arts organizations. Recently, the Amarillo Symphony started hosting the Greater Southwest Music Festival, and managing Chamber Music Amarillo, which presents six concerts each season and celebrated its 25th anniversary in the 2022–2023 season. The Amarillo Symphony will celebrate its 100th season in 2023-2024.
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