Board of Directors
Co-Presidents : Julia Harmon & Steve McCarron
Vice President : Charles Needles
Treasurer : Claire Arakaki
Members at Large: Jeannette Clemons, Dennis Geary, Shawn Foti, Patricia Gilmore, Matthew Sheehan, Kathy Jenkins-Weal, Jennifer Winiarski
The Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1987 by Dr. Peter Gorlin, a Lowell physician who was looking for a chance to play the cello in a community orchestra. Surprised that Lowell no longer had such a group, Dr. Gorlin set out to start one.
The orchestra's first rehearsal was in the early fall of 1987 in the University of Lowell's Durgin Hall as the Lowell Community Symphony Orchestra. In December 1987, we hired our first conductor, Mary Alice McCann, a cellist and educator. We began performing in the spring of 1988 and through Ms. McCann's efforts, we improved both individually and as an ensemble.
In 1988, Neal Hampton became the music director of the orchestra. Under his directorship, we presented regular concerts at Durgin Hall. In the 1990-91 season, we instituted the Jeanne Selander Memorial Young Person's Concerto Competition, with the winner performing as soloist in our annual family concert. Our 1991 family concert also featured over 100 young Suzuki violin students performing Suzuki favorites with the orchestra. Such programs truly reflect our commitment to the community.
In the 1991-92 concert season, David Hill Bailey became the orchestra's music director. Mr. Bailey's long-standing association with community music in the Greater Merrimack Valley area helped him attract new members of the orchestra. In association with Lauren Chaney, he started the Lowell Philharmonic Youth Symphony Orchestra, which is open to young musicians who can read music. Mr. Bailey also gave local and national composers the opportunity to have their works performed.
From 1997-1999, Brenda Lynn Leach conducted the orchestra. She was also in the process of completing her studies in conducting in St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music in Russia, during this time. It was there that she met, and ultimately introduced the orchestra, to its next Music Director, Valerie R. Taylor.
In 2000 we welcomed Valerie Taylor as Music Director. Under her leadership, the orchestra has continued to increase in size, musicianship, and number of collaborative performances. During our 2003-2005 seasons, we joined with the Lowell Opera Company in four performances, including Act IV of the The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart, an evening of romantic music from opera to Broadway, a "Masters of Song" concert, and a fully-staged New Year's Eve performance of Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss. In 2004, the LPO performed original compositions created by patients at the Tewskbury State Hospital using Hyperscore software, in a project directed by Tod Machover from the MIT Media Lab. In 2005, the LPO taped its first holiday concert at the Lowell Telecommunications Corporation television studios for broadcast in December. In 2009, the orchestra held its first annual outdoor concert at Lowell's beautiful Shedd Park Pavilion.
Each year, we invite local area string students to join with the orchestra at our winter family concert. This opportunity allows young musicians to experience rehearsing and performing with a full orchestra. Compositions have included Telemann's Don Quixote Suite and Elgar's Serenade for Strings. Additionally, we hold the Jeanne Selander Memorial Student Concert Competition. Young musicians from around New England audition for an opportunity to perform a concerto with our orchestra at our spring concert.
In addition to our Free Friday Concert Series, we have performed in other venues, including the televised Dracut Scholarship Fund Telethon, Suzuki concert at the Campbell School in Dracut, programs at the Lowell General Hospital, "Pops Goes the Easel" in Lowell, and the Nevins Memorial Library in Methuen. We have also given concerts at the Tewksbury State Hospital, the First Church of the Nazarene in Lowell, the Winnekenni Castle in Haverhill, and have embarked on collaborations with The Gentlemen Songsters of Lowell, and Actors inc. of Methuen.