Our History-Founded in 1903
We have recently uncovered evidence that the Lowell Philharmonic was initially founded on April 6, 1903! The picture to the right was provided by a Frances Franciose whose father played violin in the Lowell Philharmonic. Frances thinks the picture was taken in 1938. The Lowell Philharmonic was disbanded during the war and then was reformed 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 revive the Lowell Philharmonic.
The re-formed 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, the Lowell philharmonic hired Mary Alice McCann; a cellist and educator. We began performing again in the spring of 1988 and through Ms. McCann's efforts, 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, Valerie Taylor became Music Director. Under her leadership, the orchestra continued to increase in size, musicianship, and number of collaborative performances.
In May of 2019 we welcomed Thomas Kociela as our new music director. Thomas and the orchestra has many wonderful new ideas and we are looking forward to growing under his leadership!