The Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra is a non-profit community orchestra, providing education and entertainment for Harford County, Maryland. It was founded in 1978 by Sheldon Bair as the Harford Community Orchestra. In 1982, the name was changed to the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra. The musicians are from Harford County and surrounding areas. They come from all walks of life and many have degrees in music from various colleges, universities, and conservatories. The full orchestra has approximately 80 members. Every year, the SSO performs four concerts in its subscription series and one or two "pop" al fresco concerts each June. The Orchestra is made up of about 80 musicians, 50 of which are strings.
The Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra continues to serve the northeastern Maryland community. Highlights have included several world premieres (including two works by Henry Cowell from the 1930's); composers on hand for concerts; guest performers such as the Edinburgh String Quartet, Russian violinist Alexander Skwortsow, and members from the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra to perform a David Finko viola and double bass concerto; a performance of the Bach St. John Passion with the Penn State Concert Choir; a performance at the All-Eastern MENC Convention in Baltimore (for which we were invited); performances of multi-cultural music by composers such as William Grant Still and David Amram; and performances of basic, and not-so-basic orchestral literature. The Orchestra has performed at the MMEA convention February 1999 as well as in 1998.
The Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra specializes in new and unusual repertoire, often featuring unjustly neglected works. In fact, the SSO has developed a reputation for performing such music. Our audiences enjoy the variety of offerings, and the music director explains the music to be performed from the stage. The music and guest artists are chosen carefully by the music director. The Orchestra is comprised of all-volunteer amateur and professional musicians; guest artists are often invited to bring fresh ideas to the group.
The Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra believes in the importance of music in education and has partnered with Band Together, a local non-profit organization that collects, reconditions, and distributes used instruments to Harford County Public School students who cannot afford to rent or buy their own instrument. In the past two years, Band Together has placed seventy-five instruments in the hands of interested students in grades 4 – 12. This program supports diversity in the arts as many of the recipient students attend Chapter 1 schools along the Route 40 corridor in Harford County. To donate an instrument, bring it to any concert or contact Robert Powers at 410-638-3920 or