Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Thomas Ralston served as associate conductor from 1960 until 1964, when Brian Priestman became conductor and music director. He was succeeded in 1968 by Lawrence Leonard, who was the conductor and music director when the ESO became a fully professional orchestra in 1971.
Edmonton Symphony OrchestraThe Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the successor to several previous orchestras in the city, was established in 1952 under conductor Lee Hepner. Concerts that season were in the 1300-seat Capitol Theatre, moving to the 2700-seat Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in 1957.
Thomas Ralston served as associate conductor from 1960 until 1964, when Brian Priestman became conductor and music director. He was succeeded in 1968 by Lawrence Leonard, who was the conductor and music director when the ESO became a fully professional orchestra in 1971. Pierre Hétu was appointed conductor and music director in 1973, followed by Uri Mayer in 1981.
Under Mayer's direction the ESO led the way in imaginative programming of contemporary music, including "crossover" programming with rock musicians. In recognition of this achievement, the Performing Arts Organization of Canada awarded the ESO the Award of Merit for 4 consecutive years (1982-86). In 1982 an album that the ESO recorded with the British rock group Procol Harum became the first orchestral recording ever to reach platinum sales status. Since then the orchestra has performed with many classical, rock and pop recording artists, including k.d.LANG, Ray Charles, Tom COCHRANE and Red Rider, Frederica von Stade, Itzhak Perlman and Luciano Pavarotti.
David Hoyt was appointed resident guest conductor in 1985. He also serves as music director of "Symphony Under the Sky," the ESO's summer festival. Uri Mayer continued as music director until July 1995, when Grzegorz Nowak assumed this post.
The 1996-97 season marked the ESO's last season in the Jubilee Auditorium before moving to the Francis Winspear Centre for Music.
The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra's commitment to contemporary music led to the 1992 appointment of John Estacio as the orchestra's first composer-in-residence. He continued in this role until 1 August, 1999, when he assumed the newly created position of composer advisor, with responsibilities that included the ESO's "Resound Festival of Contemporary Music." At that time Allan Galliland took over as composer-in-residence.