The Mission of the Oak Ridge Philharmonia is to foster lifelong appreciation and enthusiasm for classical and contemporary orchestral music. We strive to provide our community with high-quality musical performances by a locally-based symphony orchestra. We offer area students, teachers and educational institutions a unique music resource. We fulfill local musicians’ desire to explore and perform great orchestral literature in a relaxed atmosphere. The Oak Ridge Philharmonia is dedicated to serve our local audiences, musicians and students by providing an opportunity for direct participation in a priceless cultural heritage.
The Philharmonia made its debut in the Summer of 1993 as a group formed in support of the Music Arts Scholarship Fund Drive. The orchestra was then called Oak Ridge Community Orchestra and its first conductor, Philip Hansen, was a Music Arts faculty member and a conducting student of Kirk Trevor as well as principal cellist of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.
In 1996 the orchestra decided to rehearse year-round, making the group Oak Ridge's only all year orchestra. A long term goal was fulfilled in 1997 when the group was granted full membership in the Oak Ridge Arts Council. A second goal was reached in 1998 when the orchestra gained nonprofit status, finishing the framework for the orchestra's current operations.
The orchestra has been throughout the years a focal point in the cultural life of the Oak Ridge Community. It has performed in the High School Auditorium, the First Methodist Church, Roane State College and many other venues in the city. It has participated yearly in the Secret City Festival with a rehearsal open to the public and showcasing the community’s musical talents. More recently, it has been invited to participate in the Dogwoods Arts Festival.
The Philharmonia has collaborated with many outstanding soloists such as Ilia Steinschneider, Bernadette Lo, Daniel Webb, Kathryn Frady, Taylor Stone, April Hill, Ryan Colbert, Marshall Rollins, Dallas Norton, Mattia D’Affuso, Dr. Chih-Long Hu and many others besides engagements with choirs. Previous conductors include Stacy Taylor (1995-2005), John Pippen (2006-2008), William Burkhardt (2011-2014), Gabriel Leifkowitz (2014-2015) and Dr. Marcelo Urias (2009-2010 and 2015-present).
Marcelo Urias’ tenures have been marked by enormous success. He was instrumental in increasing the orchestra’s fundraising and audience attendance grew significantly when concerts were moved from the Roane State College campus to the First Baptist in Oak Ridge. In 2010 Marcelo promoted and conducted a charity concert on behalf of the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge, raising over $3,000 – one of the highest single-concert revenues in the history of the orchestra. Under his leadership, each concert has been enthusiastically received by the audience. In 2016 Marcelo suggested a name change for the orchestra and a new logo. The board unanimously approved the measure, backed by votes from the players and ORCO is now known as The Oak Ridge Philharmonia, a community of music-lovers.
Dr. Marcelo Urias is the Philharmonia's 6th conductor. You can learn more about him by going to www.marcelourias.net.
President - Barbara Sparks (Flute)
Vice President - Lisa Easterday (Viola)
Secretary - Noelani Laney (Viola)
Librarian - Cindy Redd (Percussion)
Personnel Manager and Treasurer - Cyndi Jeffers (Oboe)
Stage/Venue Manager - Greg Foertter (Trumpet)
Publicity - Dale Gedcke (Trumpet)
Multi-Media Manager - Mike Roberts (Clarinet)
Venue Manager - Tim Bounds (Percussion)
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Thanks to generous supporters, the Oak Ridge Philharmonia has been able to offer Oak Ridgers the beauties of classical and contemporary music. Your help is pivotal in allowing us to spread knowledge about and appreciation for orchestral music to many people in our community.
For that opportunity we say thank you so much.
ORCO is a 501(c)3, non-profit, volunteer organization. Admission to our concerts is free.
But, we depend on voluntary donations to cover our routine operating costs. You can help the orchestra achieve its noble goals by making a contribution, either at our concerts,
or by contacting any of the board members, or mailing them to:
The Oak Ridge Philharmonia
P. O. Box 6078
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-3946
Donations are tax-deductible. Every financial gift you make available to the orchestra enables it to carry on a tradition of excellence to provide music that appeals to a broad audience and engages volunteer musicians. If you have never contributed, do not miss the opportunity to join us in this endeavor! Any amount can help. We look forward to seeing all of you at our concerts!