About Us

The WSO was founded in 1969 by several area musicians and community leaders who wished to have a good local orchestra perform under the direction of an outstanding conductor. Dr. Karp, a noted conductor and later General and Music Director of the Pittsburgh Opera, fit the bill. Amateur musicians were initially used for the four-concert season at Greensburg Salem High School, but under Dr. Karp’s tutelage, the orchestra grew each year both in size and quality of sound. In 1974, the orchestra presented the first of its annual outdoor summer concerts, and the Visiting Artists Program, a school ensemble program, was introduced. When Dr. Karp became ill in 1975, Michalak, then Assistant Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony, took over, remaining through the 1977-78 season.

The 1978-79 season was marked by a conductor search, with the job going to Markou, then Associate Conductor of the Canton (Ohio) Symphony. In his first season (1979-80), the orchestra moved to a new hall (the then newly renovated Palace Theatre) and presented five subscription concerts. During his 31-year tenure the quality of performance steadily improved, reaching critical acclaim in recent years.

During the 2011-2012 when the national search for a new conductor was whittled down to two finalists, Maestro Meyer was the WSO’s Artistic Advisor. The job title was changed to Artistic Director when he signed his contract at mid-year.

Each December, the orchestra in conjunction with Laurel Ballet presents three performances of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Ballet at the Palace and, each fall since 1975, has offered a Young People’s Concert, a one-hour daytime concert for area elementary school students, also at the Palace.

Welcome to the 2019-2020 Season!

Learn More

Recent blog posts

Holiday Music World Premiere

Every December we look forward to performing our holiday concert.  This year we are so fortunate to present a world premiere of For Behold from Henceforth by Pittsburgh-based composer Nancy Galbraith, featuring Meghan DeWald, soprano and conducted by Maria Sensi Sellner. Join us for the concert and be the first to hear this new work!   Longtime Friends, New Collaboration “I’ve known Nancy for over… Read More

Read more

Nutcracker – Celebrate a Holiday Tradition!

TICKETS Twirling into the Palace Theatre on December 14 & 15 is the only live-orchestra version of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker! Enjoy free parking, family-friendly ticket prices starting at just $14 and photo-ops around the beautifully decorated vintage theatre. Join us and see why this production is Westmoreland County’s beloved holiday tradition for the past 26 years. The Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra presents… Read More

Read more

Straight to the Heart: Opening Night Music

Artistic Director Daniel Meyer previews Russian Masters coming up Saturday, October 12, 2019, at the Palace Theatre One of the most striking aspects of Russian music is its capacity to drive straight to the heart.  Through soaring melodies, rich harmonies, and vivid orchestration, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky were all masters in their own way of making such a direct impact on our… Read More

Read more