History of Canton Symphony Orchestra
Enjoy this collected archive of past events of our great organization. It spans every decade since we were founded, and we will continue to add to it as we organize our physical archives.

If you have something to contribute, please email nmaslyk@cantonsymphony.org
1970s

1970

The Cultural Center for the Arts is constructed

In 1970, the Cultural Center for the Arts was formed and soon housed the CSO’s administrative staff. The new building is unique in its architecture and in its purpose.  It is an award-winning designed complex set on more than nine acres near the downtown business and arts districts of Canton, Ohio. ArtsinStark

1971

“Amahl and the Night Visitors” begins its 30+ year run

“Amahl and the Night Visitors” was the first opera ever created for television in the United States. It was written by Gian Carlo Menotti and commissioned by the NBC Opera Theatre. 

The opera is about a crippled boy named Amahl who is known for his tall tales. He lives in Bethlehem with his mother where they encounter the three wisemen who are on their journey to visit baby Jesus. However, the story takes off after Amahl’s mother steals some of their gold. 

October 22, 1972

Rudolf Firkusny opens CSO’s 36th season

Rudolf Firkusny performed Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor to Open the CSO’s 36th season and to celebrate his 35th anniversary of his United States debut which also included 25 tours in Europe, 10 in South America, 12 in Mexico, 2 in Australia, and 3 in Israel. 

Firkusny was born and raised in Moravia. Moravia is the easternmost province of the modern day Czech Republic and home of the medieval kingdom known as Great Moravia which was later incorporated into the kingdom of Bohemia. At only 6 years old, Firkusny studied at the State Conservatory in Brno, and at just 10, he made his debut with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

January 21, 1974

Michael Charry conducts combined CSO & ASO in Mahler’s “Resurrection” (Symphony No. 2)

The Canton Symphony Orchestra and the Akron Symphony Orchestra perform together  in Osborne Hall at Malone University under the guidance of Conductor Michael Charry. 

 

May 1, 1974

Michael Charry conducts final concert as CSO Music Director

Michael Charry retires from the Orchestra after 13 strong years of leadership. 

 

October, 1974

Robert Marcellus is named Music Advisor while a search is conducted to find a permanent replacement for Michael Charry

Dr. Arthur Campbell on Robert Marcellus:

“Robert Marcellus is considered by virtually all clarinetists in North America to be the most influential clarinet teacher of the last half of the 20th century. He was a beautifully refined clarinetist and his recordings as principal clarinetist in The Cleveland Orchestra under Georg Szell are still recognized as the ‘measuring stick’ for orchestral clarinetists today.”

 

June 2, 1974

The CSO achieves “metropolitan” designation

During our 37th season, the CSO earned national recognition as a “metropolitan orchestra” and no longer holds the old title of a community orchestra. Much of the credit goes to the former conductor Michael Charry as he increased the CSO’s performances from 7 a year to 21, of which 14 were children’s concerts. In addition, over 20,000 fourth and fifth grade students were involved in the orchestra’s free programs. Charry also increased the annual budget from $19,000 to $135,000.

 

November, 1974

Morton Gold conducts the CSO

A nationally respected composer, a concert video of his oratorio “Haggadah: A Search for Freedom” was broadcast nationally and annually in the spring on Public Television, and he also conducted the Boston “Pops” Orchestra in his own compositions. He premiered his Piano Concerto with the Portland, ME, Symphony Orchestra in 1974.

 

May 24, 1976

Dave Brubeck & his sons perform with the CSO

Dave Brubeck was an American Jazz pianist and composer and was considered one of the leading “cool jazz” musicians. Cool jazz plays at a light tone and relaxed tempo, much different than the rapid and complex notes of bebop jazz.

June 29, 1976

The first Concert in the Park at McKinley Monument

As part of the bicentennial celebration of the United States, the Canton Symphony presented its first Concert in the Park at McKinley Monument in 1976, which became an annual July 4th tradition.

April 15, 1976

Thomas Michalak is named Music Director

The CSO celebrates a new era with the new Music Director, Tomas Michalak. Michalak was born in Krakow, Poland where he began playing the piano and violin. At age 16, he became a featured soloist at the Warsaw Philharmonic and was awarded a silver medal at the Moscow International Music Competition just one year later. Before joining us at the CSO, Michalak toured as a conductor with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, was a violinist in South America with the Philidelphia Orchestra, was named the Exxon Arts Endowment Conductor with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and held conducting posts with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, the Westmoreland Symphony, and the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony. 

November 16 & 17, 1977

Kinder Concerts begin for early elementary audiences

In November of 1977, the CSO’s educational programming expanded to include the new Kinder Concerts. These concerts are open to children ages three to six and introduce them to an interactive orchestra experience. With this new program, children are exposed to co-curricular connections to Ohio Music Education Standards and receive instrument demonstrations.

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