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Our Story

The vision of the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) is to entertain, inspire, and educate diverse audiences of all ages through musical excellence.

Mission: The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra aims to inspire, educate, and entertain diverse audiences in Greater Williamsburg by enriching the cultural fabric of the community and creating a wider appreciation for and love of live symphonic music.
The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra pursues its mission by:
  • Providing innovative, diverse and dynamic programming of classical and pops concerts
  • Extending educational efforts with area schools and encouraging orchestra opportunities for students through the Williamsburg Youth Orchestras
  • Strengthening community support and commitment through the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra League
  • Building strong, supportive relationships with local organizations through the Board of Trustees and Management
  • Building on its core orchestra to offer superior orchestral performances

Our History

Original illustration of Peter and the Wolf

The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1984 as The Williamsburg Symphonia by Carl Andersen, the late Elnore Andersen, the late Marian Harding, the late Mary Selby, and the late Rebecca “Ruby” Siegel. Their mission was to bring free concerts to children who might otherwise be denied the inspiration and joys of classical music.

And so it was that the Symphony, then a group of dedicated local musicians, brilliantly brought to life Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf at the Williamsburg Regional Library on May 6, 1984.

A vibrant and vital contributor to the performing arts of Williamsburg was born that day. The group's initial performances were so well received that the founders planned a schedule of concerts for the general public and has been performing ever since.

The WSO was under the musical direction of conductor Janna Hymes for 15 years until her departure in May 2019.  Michael Butterman was appointed Music Director in 2022, after an extensive search, spanning two seasons.

Under the leadership of Executive Director, Carolyn Keurajian who has been with the organization since 2013, this professional orchestra is nearing 40 years of bringing together the brightest musicians in the region, as well as world-renowned guest artists. It presents a Masterworks subscription concert series, annual Holiday Pops concerts during Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination, and a broad range of pops concerts and special events that attract a wide following and regularly receive critical acclaim. The Symphony also continues to introduce young audiences to classical music in a way they can enjoy and understand. 

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