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San Jose Symphony Records
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Records of the San Jose Symphony, which operated between 1878 and 2001 in San Jose, California. The collection includes business records, scrapbooks and programs, photographs, press clippings, and recordings of performances.
In 1878, conductor/musician F. Louis King arrived from England and an Australia tour to lecture in San Francisco, and was hired by the College of the Pacific to head their new Music Department, and a private conservatory. He founded the San Jose Orchestral Society, drawing on many local musicians from the San Jose Normal School faculty and Germania Verein Amateur Orchestra then extant; it was the first classical European-style orchestra west of the Mississippi. He and J. H. Elwood of the Normal School also mounted a giant choral festival in October, 1878, that attracted hundreds of singers, musicians -- and potential audiences -- for the new orchestra. The name was later changed to the San Jose Symphony; it performed under King until 1892, when Herman Brant succeeded him. After World War I, the symphony declined until it was reorganized and combined with the San Jose Elks Orchestra (the two groups shared members); the group continued to perform, decline and reorganize periodically through the 1950s and 1960s under William Van der Heide and Sandor Salgo, until George Cleve became conductor between 1972-1992, succeeded by Leonid Grin. Management and financial problems, crises and scandals periodically threatened the existence of the Symphony over the years; it struggled until 2001 when it could no longer continue. Players and managing director Andrew Bales reorganized the group and saved the instrumental scores, and the Silicon Valley Symphony continued the tradition, playing in the Center for the Performing Arts until opening in the restored California Theatre in 2004. San Jose Symphony conductors: 1878: F. Louis King 1890: Hermann Brandt c. 1937: William Van den Burg 1941-1945: Suspended during war era 1946: Gaston Usigli 1950s: Sandor Salgo 1970: James K. Guthrie 1972: George Cleve 1992: Leonid Grin
32 linear feet
The collection is available to researchers by appointment with the Curator of Library & Archives. Performance recordings are only available for research purposes and must be accessed in-house.