Illustrious Past, Bright Future

Founded in 1928, the Santa Rosa Symphony ranks among the oldest symphony orchestras in the western states. Conductors prior to Francesco Lecce-Chong were: Conductor Laureate, Bruno Ferrandis, 2006-2018; Jeffrey Kahane, 1995-2006; Conductor Emeritus Corrick Brown, 1958-1995; and George Trombley, 1928-1958.

In photo: Corrick Brown and Charles Schulz


The following timeline commemorates some of the more notable achievements and milestones of the Santa Rosa Symphony.


The Santa Rosa Symphony plays its first concert with 35 local musicians at the Elks Club. Initial performances are so well received that the fledgling group moves to the 1,000-seat Santa Rosa High School auditorium. Founder George Trombley, “Mr. T,” holds the post of conductor for the next three decades. During his tenure at the podium, he conducts 179 concerts and approximately 3,000 rehearsals.


Corrick Brown, a gifted 15-year-old Santa Rosa pianist, solos during one of the symphony’s programs. Eight years later, as a recent graduate of Stanford University, he returns to play a Schumann Concerto.


The Young People’s Concerts, a series of free performances for school children, is instituted to fulfill Conductor Trombley’s dream of exposing regional youth to the world of classical music.


“Hometown boy” Corrick Brown is drafted out of the Vienna Academy of Music to be Conductor and Music Director of the Santa Rosa Symphony after Trombley’s resignation. Under Maestro Brown’s artistic and business leadership, the orchestra begins a new phase of growth in stature, talent, size and breadth of repertoire.


  • Performance of the First Annual Independence Day Pops Concert.
  • A Symphony League is formed to provide volunteer support and fundraising.


The Junior Symphony is formed by school music teacher Eugene Shepherd. This youth ensemble later affiliates with the Santa Rosa Symphony, yet remained under Shepherd’s baton until 1994.


Music Academy is formed to provide year-round group instruction on all stringed instruments for beginning to advanced students.


Formation of the Youth Preparatory Orchestra by Jack Murphy affords a first, full orchestra experience for younger students.


A more than 1,500-seat performance hall at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts becomes the new Symphony concert venue. Within a decade, a burgeoning audience requires three performances for each of seven regular subscription programs to satisfy demand.


Virtuoso Jeffrey Kahane performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 as a guest soloist under the direction of Corrick Brown.


Two new Youth Ensembles are formed: Discovery Orchestra (intermediate) under the baton of long-time Preparatory Orchestra conductor and SRS violinist, William R. Williams, and the Youth Wind Ensemble. The Junior Symphony, a full ensemble for advanced students, is renamed the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra.


Jeffrey Kahane succeeds Corrick Brown as conductor and music director of the Santa Rosa Symphony. Maestro Brown continues to serve as Conductor Laureate.


Debut concert of the Young People’s Chamber Orchestra, a new strings-only ensemble for advanced students under the direction of SRS principal violist, Linda Ghidossi-DeLuca.


The SRS enters into a partnership with Sonoma State University to build a world-class music hall on the SSU campus.


The SRS plays two concerts in the inaugural season of Festival on the Green and becomes the Festival’s Orchestra-in-Residence.


  • Alan Silow was appointed Executive Director of the Santa Rosa Symphony in July 2002 and continued to serve as President and CEO until July 2023.
  • Santa Rosa Symphony receives the American Symphony Orchestra League’s MetLife Award for Excellence in Community Engagement for a multi-disciplinary collaboration with Santa Rosa High School over an entire school year. Sir Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time was the project and also the work performed in sold-out concerts in April.


  • Kathryn Gould through Meet the Composer, Inc. launches the Magnum Opus Project which partners with the Santa Rosa Symphony and the Marin and Oakland East Bay symphonies to jointly commission, premiere and give repeat performances of nine new orchestral works over the course of multiple seasons.
  • The documentary film Child of Our Time by Tommie Dell Smith premiered in September. Hundreds of copies of the film were distributed to individuals, educational institutions and symphony organizations across the United States. 


  • Dr. Richard Loheyde is appointed SRS Youth Orchestra conductor.
  • Katrina benefit concert at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts raising more money than any other orchestra.


  • Construction begins on the Green Music Center main concert hall.
  • Bruno Ferrandis succeeds Jeffrey Kahane as conductor and music director of the Santa Rosa Symphony. Maestro Kahane becomes Conductor Laureate and Maestro Corrick Brown becomes Conductor Emeritus.


  • Bruno Ferrandis’ first season of programming. Santa Rosa Symphony celebrates its 80th Anniversary with Ruby Jubilee gala and special opera arias concert.


  • On December 6, Music Director Bruno Ferrandis conducts members of our orchestra at a Stanford Lively Arts special performance of Martin Matalon’s composition written to accompany a screening of German silent film masterpiece, Metropolis. More than 900 attend. Ferrandis and Matalon present a lively pre-concert talk for the Stanford University audience.
  • Michael Berkowitz named Principal Pops conductor and the Symphony Pops concert series continues in partnership with Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.


  • Youth Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary Tour to Europe with performances in Prague, Leipzig and Potsdam, including joint concert with Potsdam Youth Orchestra of Germany.
  • Organization ends the fiscal year in the black, despite economic recession.
  • A “Festival of Remembrance” concert series at the Jackson Theater commemorates Mexico’s Day of the Dead; the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, and Jewish composers who perished in the Holocaust. Important community segments participate with panels, art exhibits and video projects in conjunction with the concerts.


  • Sonoma State University announces in March a $12 million gift for the Green Music Center from Joan and Sanford I. Weill, enabling concert hall and adjoining lawn and commons to be completed. Vision of new performance home for the Santa Rosa Symphony becomes a reality.
  • Chairs installed in Weill Hall, putting the Green Music Center on track to open in Fall 2012.
  • New Youth Ensembles conductors are named: Tristan Arnold will conduct the beginning ensemble, Preparatory Orchestra, and Bobby Rogers will conduct the intermediate ensemble, Repertory Orchestra; Dawn Dover will direct the Young People’s Chamber Orchestra.


  • Santa Rosa Symphony holds press conference on February 7 to announce the 2012-2013 Inaugural Season as Resident Orchestra at the Green Music Center. The event includes a reception and orchestra rehearsal in Weill Hall.
  • SRS orchestra performs a free “Tuning Event” in Weill Hall on May 10 with audience in attendance. Over 1,200 people reserved seats.
  • Santa Rosa Symphony celebrates its 85th Anniversary and Inaugural Year as Resident Orchestra at the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall with an Orchestral Opening concert on September 30, 2012.


  • SRS Youth Orchestra recognized as “Youth Orchestra of the Year” by Classics Alive Foundation and earns residency with celebrated violinist Lindsay Deutsch. Aaron Westman named as director for Young People’s Chamber Orchestra.
  • Santa Rosa Symphony produces a “Live in Performance” CD recording of the Orchestral Opening Concert at Green Music Center’s Weill Hall on September 30, 2012.
  • SRS receives first place national award for adventurous programming in the 2012-2013 season from ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).


SRS hosts the 46th Annual Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) conference July 31 – August 2. A free concert for the entire community draws record number of patrons to an SRS performance–over 5,200 people enjoyed the concert both inside the hall and outside. 


SRS Youth Orchestra concert tour of China. The 2014-2015 season has a record level operating budget of more than $4 million and the endowment exceeds $10 million.


The Symphony presented a free fire-relief benefit concert on November 20, raising more than $114,000 for fire relief efforts. 2017-2018 Classical Series dedicated to first responders and people who lost their homes in the October fires, offering free tickets to remaining season concerts for both groups.


  • SRS Education department rebranded as SRS Institute for Music Education. Bobby Rogers appointed as Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra and Family Series conductor. Santa Rosa Symphony announces name changes for two youth ensembles: Preparatory Orchestra to Debut Youth Orchestra and Repertory Orchestra to Aspirante Youth Orchestra.
  • Francesco Lecce-Chong appointed as 5th Music Director. Bruno Ferrandis becomes Conductor Laureate of the Santa Rosa Symphony.


Four-year First Symphony Project launched, jointly with Eugene Symphony, providing the opportunity for four American composers to write their first symphony, with engagement opportunities for four patron donor households from each organization and Francesco Lecce-Chong. 


First ever SRS Institute virtual concert raises spirits and funds during pandemic.  


Launched free SRS @ Home virtual concert series with eight new concerts recorded at Weill Hall, keeping musicians and staff employed during the pandemic and supporting mission. Three of these concerts broadcasted on two NorCal Public Media stations, reaching 2.8 million households in the greater Bay Area, representing the first time an SRS concert aired on TV.


First season of the Rachmaninoff and the Hollywood Sound four-season project, featuring his major works opposite famous film scores. Unprecedented FOUR world premieres in one season, including first-ever commission of a major work for Mariachi and orchestra. 


  • SRS in conjunction with Delos Productions located in Sonoma CA, releases it’s first commercial label recording featuring composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s, Cello Concerto & Other Works. The album contains four compositions containing 12 original tracks with a running time of 53:28. Conducted by Francesco Lecce-Chong at Weill Hall, Green Music Center during the 2020-2021 virtual season. The album features, Zuill Bailey, cello, Elizabeth Dorman, piano, Joe Edelburg, violin and the Santa Rosa Symphony orchestra.
  • Michael Berkowitz retires as Principal Pops conductor of the Symphony Pops Series. Search begins for his replacement.
  • J. Andrew Bradford appointed as President and CEO in July 2023. Alan Silow retires after 21 years, becomes President and CEO Emeritus.