Calgary Symphony Orchestra
Calgary Symphony Orchestra. The name of four organizations in Calgary. The first was formed in 1910 to accompany the Apollo Choir led by P.L. Newcombe and was directed in public concerts by a local violinist, A.P. Howells. Its success led to the formation of a second Calgary SO in 1912 with Max Weil as conductor. This orchestra made its debut 27 Jan 1913 at the Sherman Grand Theatre before more than 700 people in a program which included the overture to Mozart's The Magic Flute and other works for orchestra and/or choir by Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, and Elgar. Under Weil the orchestra numbered 55 musicians (amateur and professional, including 12 US players) and according to the Canadian Courier, 13 Dec 1913, brought to Calgary the distinction of being 'the only city in Canada outside Toronto which supports a professional symphony orchestra'. (The term 'professional' may be an exaggeration in this context. See discussion in Orchestras.) This Calgary SO was one of the first orchestras in Canada to give concerts for school children. By 1914, however, enthusiasm had waned, financial problems beset the organization, and at the outbreak of World War I the orchestra was disbanded. A third Calgary SO was formed in 1928, under the auspices of the Calgary Choral and Orchestral Society, by Col John Drummond, with Gregori Garbovitsky as conductor. At first comprising only 50 musicians, it grew to 75 and gave many public concerts and a series of CBC broadcasts. It also appeared in outdoor concerts at Banff. This third Calgary SO was disbanded in 1939 because of the outbreak of World War II. In 1949, by which time the orchestra still had not been revived, the directors were invited to transfer its charter, funds, musical instruments, and library to the Mount Royal College Orchestra, an orchestra of young adults which had grown out of the college's pre-war 'Baby Symphony Orchestra,' with Clayton Hare as its conductor. The transfer was effected and the new organization was chartered as the Calgary SO in 1949. Under the direction of Hare it continued until 1955, when it amalgamated with the Alberta Philharmonic as the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.