History of the Beach Cities Symphony

As told by Bob Peterson, Charter Member, BCSO (originally from November 2000 & updated recently)

Bob Peterson

Early in the 1950s we performed at Redondo High School’s old auditorium and then, after Mira Costa High School was built, we moved to their new auditorium.  In 1968, when the Marsee Auditorium was opened at El Camino Community College, our symphony became the first symphony orchestra to present a concert on this stage.  We were very privileged and later, when the Los Angeles Philharmonic came to perform here, I talked to musicians who commented on how much they liked the beautiful hall.  Other world famous orchestras have performed on this stage, a wonderful addition to the community.

When the Beach Cities Symphony performed a concert in the 1960s at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion under the baton of then Music Director and Conductor, Louis J. Palange, we noticed the most wonderful feeling of ensemble due to the acoustics of the stage, and we felt the aura of performing where the L.A. Philharmonic does.  We think highly of our venue here and love it dearly, but it was a thrill for us to be at the Chandler.

In all the years of different conductors, each gave the orchestra a personal sound and quality.  Conductor Barry Brisk did this with verve, talent and diplomacy, and we are grateful for his years of leadership. Barry recently retired in May, 2019, and was our longest serving Conductor at 25 years. We are grateful to have the opportunity, during this, our 70th season to experience four different guest conductors: Geoffrey Pope, Paul Piazza, Dean Anderson and Michael Stanley. We look forward to choosing one as our permanent music direct, who can move our success as an orchestra forward.

UPDATE post-covid – BCSO wound up choosing Dr. Geoffrey Pope as their permanent music director and conductor. We are now in our 74th season (and 2nd post-covid season) and we continue to have a blast, bringing four concerts per year to the public for free!

Final words from Bob Peterson: You, the supporting audiences, have made the Beach Cities Symphony a success.  Our goal is to continue presenting free concerts for the community’s enjoyment and appreciation.  For me, personally, it is a great opportunity to perform beautiful music with excellent artist friends who share the same love of music and bring you tonight’s concert.  I thank the Beach Cities Symphony for all the beauty it has brought into my life.

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