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The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra has grown tremendously from when it started in 1939 as a partnership with local chemical plants in Charleston, WV.
On September 19, 1939, 55 musicians gathered for their first rehearsal as the Charleston Civic Orchestra. Under the direction of William R. Wiant, their first concert was given at Charleston ‘s Municipal Auditorium on November 14, 1939 . During Wiant’s years as conductor, the orchestra gave its first children’s concerts, pops concerts, and first performances of opera and ballet. The orchestra was incorporated and an Executive Board and Women’s Committee were formed to support its efforts.
The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra maintains a significant commitment to music education by supporting education programs in Kanawha County Schools, bringing Young People’s Concerts to thousands of West Virginia elementary school students annually, and providing support to the West Virginia Youth Symphony. With the assistance of the Segal & Davis Family Foundation, the WVSO has also issued a series of educational CD-ROMs, designed to integrate the Young People’s Concert experience into the regular school curriculum. This education initiative has drawn nationwide attention.