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Columbus Symphony Orchestra

What We Do

Mission Statement


“ To perpetuate the orchestral tradition through the presentation of creative programs performed at the highest possible level of artistic quality, to develop audience enthusiasm, to educate future generations of concert goers and to contribute to the enjoyment and evolution of the art of symphonic music.”




  • Was founded in Columbus in 1855 by Herman S. Saroni and was the 2nd

symphony to be formed in the United States.

  • Was active until after the Civil War. In 1908, Louis T. Chase reorganized the orchestra and it was active for 5 years. In 1935, the orchestra was revived and performed until World War II.
  • In 1949, the present organization was formed and incorporated. The official name is Columbus Philharmonic Guild d/b/a Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Robert Barr was the first conductor; George Gingell was the first board president.
  • In 1949, the Muscogee County Board of Education accepted the CSO as an addition to the Adult Education Program. Thus school facilities could be used for rehearsals and also school-owned musical instruments could be used.
  • The early orchestra consisted of housewives, teachers, ministers, military personnel, advance students, and business and professional people. They devoted one evening a week to full rehearsals, plus home practice. All services were donated. It remained an all-volunteer orchestra until 1978.
  • In 1978, the Three Arts Theatre became the CSO home. The symphony office was located there and rehearsals and concerts were held there.
  • In 1985 the CSO office was moved and had several different locations including Barnett Bank and First Union Bank for five years each.
  • Following 22 years of service, Harry Kruger retired as conductor in 1986. George DelGobbo, the current Music Director and Conductor, joined the CSO in 1986.   
  • All chairs are filled through auditions. Musicians are paid per service for rehearsals and performances.
  • In March 2002, the CSO became a tenant of the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. The CSO offices are located on the second floor of the RiverCenter and subscription concerts are held in the Bill Heard Theatre.
  • The CSO season typically includes eight concerts (six classical, two holiday pops) in Bill Heard Theatre and a family concert especially geared for children ages 4th and 5th graders from Columbus, Phenix City, Fort Benning, Harris County and local private schools.