The History of the Albany Symphony

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The Albany Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1930 by Professor John F. Carabella. Mr. Carabella was born in Rome in 1885, and was a favorite pupil of Pietro Mascagni, composer of Cavalleria Rusticana. He came to America in 1915 to become organist and choirmaster at St. Bernard's Church in Cohoes.

What could have possessed Mr. Carabella, 87 years ago, early in the Great Depression, to found the "People's Orchestra of Albany" with 24 brave musical souls? What a seemingly inauspicious time to found an orchestra. And yet, what better source of comfort and hope during bleak times than the life-affirming music he and his orchestra played.

Following Carabella's tenure, the orchestra was led by music directors Rudolf Thomas, Ole Windingstad, Edgar Curtis, Julius Hegyi and Geoffrey Simon. In 1992, David Alan Miller, former Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, was appointed Music Director. 

The last few years have been a time of dramatic growth and success for the orchestra. In 2011, the Albany Symphony was invited to participate in the inaugural season of Spring for Music, a festival celebrating innovative programming by American orchestras, at Carnegie Hall. In 2013, the Albany Symphony was the only orchestra to appear for a second year on the festival. In 2014, the orchestra's recording of John Corigliano's Conjurer won a GRAMMY Award. The Albany Symphony has received more ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming than any other orchestra in America, 26 to date, including the John S. Edwards Award for Strongest Commitment to New American Music in 2013 and 2014.