Brief History

The orchestra was organized in August, 1961 by Joseph Ierardi and other musically minded engineers from the Raytheon Company in Andover. Raytheon was most interested in this cultural endeavor and donated $500.00 to promote the organization.

Mr. Ierardi had a wide musical background and was chosen to be the conductor of the orchestra. Mostly by word of mouth, musicians in the Merrimack Valley area were invited to a rehearsal. Classically trained amateur and professional musicians alike responded, eager to become members. Due to the cooperation of the Musicians' Union Local 372, A. F. of M., both union and non-union musicians are allowed to play together.

In 1962 the Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Society, Inc. established the following aims:

1 To acquaint listeners with masterworks of orchestral literature.

2 To give professional orchestral training and to offer additional ensemble opportunity to qualified young musicians in the area.

3 To present Youth Concerts and to offer opportunities for young, talented area soloists.

4 To award Scholarships to outstanding area High School musicians who are furthering their study of music.

In the fall of 1967, Mr. Ieradi had to leave due to engineering commitments. He was followed by Nicholas Van Slyck. Well known as a conductor, composer and pianist, Mr. Van Slyck was Director of the Longy School of Music in Cambridge and a member of the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Later, he founded the New School of Music in Cambridge. He resigned as Music Director in 1982 due to illness and died soon after. A new high of musical excellence was brought to the Philharmonic under his tenure.

After many guest conductors, George Monseur was chosen to be the orchestra's third Music Director and Conductor in the fall of 1984. His credentials include Maestros Leopold Stokowski and Leonard Bernstein among his teachers, a full fellowship in Orchestral Conducting at Tanglewood and a Beebe Foundation Award for advanced study in Europe. He currently chairs the Conducting Department at Berklee College of Music and is Artistic Director for the American Foundation of Musicians and Composers. During his tenure, the orchestra has continued to grow both in size and musicianship as the result of his leadership and pursuit of excellence.

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