History & Mission
For more than 60 years, the Akron Symphony Orchestra has been a driving musical force throughout the Greater Akron area. Widely recognized for musical excellence and performance versatility, the Akron Symphony Orchestra is committed to enhancing the quality of life of our community through educational and musical excellence.
The Akron Symphony Orchestra is operated by the Greater Akron Musical Association (GAMA). GAMA’s vision is to be embraced and sustained as a community treasure that provides a welcoming environment for all people to experience great music. This vision is realized by operating the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Akron Youth Orchestras, Akron Symphony Chorus and the Gospel Meets Symphony Choir, along with numerous special outreach and educational programs.
The Akron Symphony Orchestra began in 1949 when Mabel Lamborn Graham received $500 as “seed money” from the publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal with the instruction to begin raising money for a professional, union orchestra. After three years of intense fundraising, spearheaded by Mrs. Graham and other dedicated volunteers, the Akron Symphony’s Classic Series was established in the organization’s first season (1952-1953) to provide concerts performed by professional musicians of the highest caliber. Guest conductors and soloists of regional and national stature have been an integral part of the Classic Series since its onset, and remain a high priority for the Symphony.