The Asheville Symphony Orchestra was established in 1960. They’re a group that performs and promotes music for their enjoyment and education of the people of Western North Carolina.
Being established in 1960, the orchestra didn’t have a conductor or manager. Between 1960 and 1970, as the group was growing, they gained a part time resident manager and conductor along with paid guest artists.
Playing in schools and churches turned to playing in a 2,354 seat auditorium called the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. It was by 1978 that the orchestra’s first full time manager was hired. It was then by 1980 that the first full-time conductor was hired.
Now with a full-time conductor and manager, The Asheville Symphony Orchestra collaborated with a group of musicians and created the The Asheville Symphony Sessions. For the orchestra, the album is like “a musical love letter from Asheville to the world.”
Within the album listeners will hear a variety of genres such as folk, bluegrass, R&B, and jazz. Some of the musicians on the album include include Doc Aquatic, Electric Owls, Free Planet Radio featuring Lizz Wright, Lovett, Matt Townsend, Rising Appalachia, Shannon Whitworth, and Steep Canyon Rangers.
“This album serves as a soundtrack for the city,” says ASO Executive Director David Whitehill. “The Asheville Symphony champions great music, and we’re very fortunate that there is great music being made here. Not many communities of this size have the kind of resources— including the symphony musicians, recording engineers, producers, publicists, arrangers, session musicians and recording studios—that we have in Asheville.”
“This album is life-sized art, produced here in our community. After 32 years of making records in New York and Los Angeles, this is one of the coolest projects I have worked on,” says producer Michael Selverne. “Working together, I believe that we have created an incredibly musical record that reflects the spirit and the soul of our community.”
“It was amazing to see the bands’ reactions as they heard the symphony musicians bring the orchestral arrangements of their songs to life. This project is the collaborative effort of more than 150 people coming together to create something that is uniquely Asheville,” says Jessica Tomasin, Echo Mountain Recording’s studio manager. “I love the idea that we are connecting musicians from varying backgrounds and musical genres in our own community.”
Check out the making of The Asheville Symphony Sessions below:
Asheville Symphony Orchestra