Our history

The Edmonton Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in September 1971 by a prominent violin teacher, Ranald Shean. The group grew quickly and in 1972 adopted the name The Skyline Symphonette. Robert Cook, Music Director of the Provincial Cultural Development Branch, was its first conductor. 

In the early years, the group established itself as a community orchestra, playing in nursing homes, hospitals, malls, and at the Provincial Museum. Funds were initially provided through members’ fees and donations, but in time it became evident that funding beyond these sources was required. Thus, in 1980, the group became a registered charity. Our official name is the Edmonton Philharmonic Society; however, we also use the name Edmonton Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Since the orchestra was founded, we have had a number of fine conductors. Robert Cook, Dr. Manus Sasonkin, Eric Hanson, Dan Breda, Kirk Muspratt, John Unsworth, Dr. George Naylor, Diane Persson, and Aaron Au have all worked with us. We are indebted to them for their patience and excellent direction. In September 2011, we were very fortunate in being able to engage Murray Vaasjo as Music Director.

We have supported our fellow musicians by commissioning and performing music written by local composers. We regularly feature Edmonton soloists in our spring concerts.

 © Edmonton Philharmonic Orchestra 2015