Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
The orchestra was founded in 1945, and played its first concert as the Atlanta Youth Symphony. Henry Sopkin was brought in as music director (he remained with the orchestra for twenty years). The organization changed to its current name in 1947. It soon managed to attract well known soloists to play with it such as Isaac Stern and Glenn Gould.
In 1967, with the departure of Sopkin, Robert Shaw (founder of the Robert Shaw Chorale ) was brought in as conductor, and a year later the orchestra turned full- time. In 1970, Shaw founded a choir specially for the orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. In 2003 the ASOC visited Berlin, where it gave three performances of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under ASO Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles.
In 1978, the ASO became the first American orchestra to make a commercial digital recording, when it played Igor Stravinsky's Firebird suite and excerpts from Alexander Borodin's opera, Prince Igor for the Telarc label. In 2004 the orchestra initiated an agreement with the Deutsche Grammophon label to record several works by composer Osvaldo Golijov.
In 1988, Yoel Levi became Music Director and principal conductor. Under him, the orchestra played at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Centennial 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Levi became Music Director Emeritus in 2000, and was succeeded as Music Director by Robert Spano .
The ASO's main venue is Atlanta Symphony Hall in the Woodruff Arts Center. It plays an extensive outdoor summer Pops concert series at Chastain Park , and at other parks in the area. In February 2005 the orchestra unveiled plans for the new Atlanta Symphony Center concert hall designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, to be built subject to raising construction funds of approximately $300 million.
The orchestra toured Europe under Yoel Levi in 1991; and with its chorus, under Robert Shaw, in 1988.
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