History

Knoxville Symphony League

In 1952, eleven charter members formed the Knoxville Symphony Guild to further the financial support of the Orchestra. Guild activities included social functions such as coffees, luncheons, and silver teas; cultural events, including music appreciation courses; the operation of educational concerts, attended yearly by thousands of students from the area; and the giving of musical scholarships for deserving young students.

Because of the commitment of Guild members and the support of the community, fundraising projects enabled the Women’s Guild to contribute substantially to the maintenance fund of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and Youth Orchestra, the latter of which the Guild founded in 1974, with the guidance of Dr. and Mrs. James H. Marable. In 1980, the Women’s Guild of the Knoxville Symphony Society changed its name to “Knoxville Symphony League.”

In 1984, money raised during the World’s Fair Show House was placed in an endowment fund for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. In 2007, this fund reached $1,000,000. The interest from this fund is available to the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra to use for operating expenses while the principal remains untouched.

Various types of fundraising events have been successfully undertaken through the years: balls, benefit dinner parties, auctions, fashion shows, show houses, and a community events calendar.

During the 2014-2015 season, the KSO will provide over 225 performances in our area. These include concerts by the full orchestra, the chamber orchestra, orchestra ensembles and performances with other arts organizations.

In addition to assisting in funding these performances, the League helps fund five youth orchestras for children ages 7-18 from East Tennessee. In the fall and spring, a weeklong series of Young People’s Concerts for school age children is held. League docents partner with KSO musicians to visit area schools prior to the concerts to prepare the young people for the music they will hear. The League’s outreach programs involve 50,000 students in 19 counties in our area. The KSO also features a “Family Series” of concerts for the community.