Founded in 1998, the Sonoma County Philharmonic is a full size symphonic orchestra conceived from and supported by the communities of Sonoma County. Created by a group of musicians dedicated to reinventing the American symphony orchestra on sustainable democratic principles, we have grown from our modest beginnings as the Cotati Philharmonic, to become the premier professional volunteer orchestra in the North Bay Area.
Since that time, we have given sixty-eight concert events for over 35,000 audience members in service of our mission: to make the beauty of music and the power of community alive and available for everyone. This has been accomplished on an all-volunteer basis by the orchestra of 60-75 professional volunteer musicians and scores of dedicated and passionate non-musical volunteers from around Sonoma County and the North Bay area. Unlike other similarly sized and seasoned orchestras throughout the United States, our events are decidedly inclusive of people of every walk of life and provide great programming that people can understand and relate to.
We exist because of our commitment to bring the great music of our cultural heritage to those who either can’t afford to attend regular concerts or who wouldn’t attend because they might feel excluded or uncomfortable in the conventional setting of a symphony concert. In addition to experienced music lovers, we serve thousands of children, seniors, high school and college students, and parents who bring their whole families to enjoy great music together at consistently “sold out” concerts.
Many music professionals and lay members of the audience have favorably compared their concert experiences with us to the Santa Rosa Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony. The orchestra has debuted several new works and has featured soloists from among Sonoma County’s leading performing artists.
In October of 2007 the Orchestra was voted top in the Classical Music Category by the readers of the Bohemian newspaper in the Annual North Bay Classical Music Awards.
What’s a surefire opening work for a symphony concert? A Rossini overture? Bernstein’s Candide? Gershwin? The Sonoma County Philharmonic’s opener Nov. 12 hit a home run with the sprightly Dance of the Hours from Act Three of Ponchielli’s Opera La Gioconda.
On paper the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Oct. 1 concert didn’t seem too attractive – an all-American composer program, maybe the usual Copland, maybe an Adams overture, some Gershwin and an obligatory short contemporary work that faded from memory by the concert’s end.