The Immaculata Symphony boasts a long and rich history. It began in the nineteen-twenties as a chamber orchestra, its membership drawn solely from Immaculata students, providing them with a rich performing experience to augment their musical education. In the mid-seventies, the orchestra invited the participation of talented musicians in the local community, and since then has steadily grown into a highly respected ensemble capable of performing major symphonic works. This new era began under the baton of Dr. Constantine Johns, formerly Professor of Music at West Chester University. Many community members have performed with the orchestra for a decade or more, including a few who have been continuous members for over twenty-five years.
In 1985, Roman Pawlowski was appointed Music Director. Under his charismatic leadership the orchestra grew steadily in both the breadth of its undertakings and the artistic success of its performances. This growth continued with the appointment in 2008 of Dr. Ovidiu Marinescu, of West Chester University, who continued Mr. Pawlowski’s tradition. Because of his other professional commitments, in 2011 Dr. Marinescu reluctantly stepped down after his wonderful final season. In the spring of 2012 the Immaculata Symphony was pleased to welcome Joseph Gehring as Music Director who had served the symphony as Assistant Conductor since 2004 and Interim Music Director during the 2011-12 season. The entire organization looks forward to a long association under his energetic and dynamic leadership.
The Immaculata Symphony regularly presents major works of the musical giants, as well as equally wonderful selections by lesser known composers. We have performed many of the major symphonic compositions of the greatest classical composers, including several that are generally considered beyond the reach of a community orchestra. Our concerts have included massive works by Mahler, Respighi, and Bruckner – even the Beethoven Ninth. We also take pride in presenting to our audiences the opportunity to experience works that are not frequently played. Such neglected masterpieces as symphonies by Hanson, Copland, Nielsen and Glazunov have graced our programs.
In the last decade, the orchestra has expanded its scope to include outreach activities, establishing an annual Youth Concert to present the wonders of classical music to young people who might otherwise never experience its beauty. A chamber music series has been created to allow orchestra members the opportunity to perform, in a more intimate setting, works that would never appear on a symphonic program. Each year, we combine forces with other Immaculata performing groups to present a Christmas concert based upon traditional holiday music but presented in a festive large-scale program.
The Symphony, to support the academic requirements of Immaculata students, coordinates closely with the music department. It is also supported by the efforts of a Board of Directors comprised of faculty members, orchestra musicians (both students and community musicians) and non-performing community members. The Board seeks to help the organization achieve its educational and artistic goals, and to ensure its prosperity and growth, both through fund-raising and organizational activities.