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
1980s

1980

Gerhardt Zimmermann succeeds Thomas Michalak as the CSO’s Conductor

Originally from Ohio, Gerhardt Zimmerman earned an MFA in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Iowa’s School of music in 1972. From there, he jump started his career by starting off as a conductor for Western Illinois University and then an assistant conductor for the St. Louis Symphony. After becoming the conductor for the Canton Symphony Orchestra in 1980, Zimmermann simultaneously served as a music director for the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra from 1982-2002.

1983

The Canton Symphony Chorus was Founded

In 1983, The Canton Symphony Chorus was established by Dr. Jeffrey H. Brandes almost 50 years after the orchestra’s founding in 1937. Today, the Chorus rehearses weekly from late August through April under the direction of Dr. Britt Cooper.

February, 1988

The Canton Symphony Chorus Grows to Over 100 Members

The members of the Canton Symphony Chorus represent many faces of the community as they span from ages 17-70 and come from all professions ranging from housewives and doctors, to blue-collar workers. The Canton Symphony Chorus singers aren’t just from the local area as many members come to the Symphony from Massillon, Alliance, and even Wooster!

March 12, 1989

Dr. Jeffrey H. Brandes, founder and director of the Canton Symphony Chorus dies at 42

Dr. Jeffrey H. Brandes passed away after battling a brief illness at the young age of 42. He was the founder and director of the Canton Symphony Chorus and Director of Music at Christ Presbyterian Church in Canton. Born in Cleveland, Jeff attended Baldwin-Wallace College at the Conservatory of Music, earned a Master’s from Union Theological Seminary, and secured a doctorate in Organ performance from Ohio State University.

In 1977, Jeff prepared the chorus for the CSO’s first opera production, and in 1984, started the CSO’s longstanding tradition of performing Handel’s Messiah each holiday. His death was announced the day he passed away at the opening of the CSO’s Sunday performance. The first song, Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, was dedicated to his memory.

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