About the GSO

Guelph Symphony Orchestra was founded as the Guelph Chamber Orchestra in 2001, through the passion and vision of Simon Irving, and the commitment of dedicated Guelph Community arts supporters. The GSO gave its first concert in March 2001 under the baton of Simon Irving. The name of the orchestra was changed to Guelph Symphony Orchestra in May 2003 to reflect the symphonic repertoire performed.

Judith Yan served as  GSO’s Artistic Director from the 2011-12 season until 2018-19.  During her tenure as Artistic Director , Maestro Yan expanded the orchestra’s symphonic and operatic repertoire with works by composers Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Philip Glass, Francis Poulenc, Leonard Bernstein, added operatic repertoire by composers Puccini, Rossini, Verdi, and Strauss, Humperdinck, and created the unique Triple-Feature “Ballet, Opera, and Symphony” Gala.

We will have four guest conductors in the 2019/20 and Maestro Yan will return to conduct our annual Jan. 1 New Year’s Day concert and the 2019/20 Season Finale.  A conductor’s search will be launched in February of 2020, and musicians and audiences alike will have the opportunity to provide feedback on all of the candidates. 
Our 2019-20 Season  will be A Season of Celebration to honour all that Maestro Yan has brought to GSO!

GSO provides performances of major symphonic repertoire to audiences in the City of Guelph and surrounding area. Comprised of musicians from the city and region, the orchestra performs regularly in the superb Mainstage Concert Hall of Guelph’s River Run Centre.

The orchestra is a strong supporter of Canadian Artists and has developed creative partnerships with Canadian performing arts organizations as well the GSO has also engaged in important partnerships with musical organizations within the community and regularly engages in Community Outreach events.

Since the inception of the orchestra, GSO has always placed a significant focus on youth. The annual GSO Under-23 Concerto Competition was initiated in 2002, and in 2011 a partnership with GYMC established the Guelph Youth Symphony Orchestra. Other youth initiatives include:

  • the popular GSOKIds “symphony club” for children between the ages of 6 and 13
  • our participation in River Run Centre’s Kinderconcert Series, three 30-minute, interactive concerts, created especially for audiences aged 5 and under. 
  • our new School Music program at Sacred Heart Elementary School
  • participation in the Linamar School Series
  • Free, family-friendly  Outreach Concerts,  through our Pop Up Orchestra Festival


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