For many years an orchestra of 50 players, it grew to 70 in the 1960s. Its home was Darke Hall 1929-70 and became the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts in 1970. The orchestra participated in the Regina Conservatory Opera 's annual performances in the 1950s and 1960s. It has appeared occasionally in schools and on tour in southern Saskatchewan.
Preferring the traditional repertoire to the contemporary, the orchestra nevertheless has performed works by Murray Adaskin, Robert Fleming, Pierre Mercure, Godfrey Ridout, and John Weinzweig, and it gave the premiere 24 Aug 1970 of Adaskin's Fanfare. Beginning in the mid-1980s, it has featured works by Regina-based composers such as Elizabeth Raum, Thomas Schudel, and George Andrix.
Regina Symphony conductors have been Laubach 1908-22, Wilson 1923-41 and 1945-55, Arthur Collingwood 1941, John Thornicroft 1955-8, Paul McIntyre 1959-60, Howard Leyton-Brown 1960-71, Boris Brott 1971-3, Ted Kardash 1973-4, Timothy Vernon 1975-6, guest conductors 1976-8, Gregory Millar 1978-81, Simon Streatfeild 1981-4, and Derrick Inouye 1984-9, succeeded by Vladimir Conta. Concertmasters have been Marion B. Kinnee 1926-36, Thornicroft 1936-55, Lloyd Blackman 1955-9 and 1960-75, Elizabeth Boychuk 1959-60, Malcolm Lowe 1975-7, Brian Boychuk 1976-8, Leyton-Brown 1978-89, and Brian Johnson 1989-90, succeeded by Carmen Constantinescu.
In 1976 65 players were engaged for 14 concerts over a 30-week season and at that time most were teachers and students for whom the orchestra was a part-time occupation. Five woodwinds were full-time employees, however, and their duties included many in-school and chamber concerts. By 1991 the orchestra had 55-60 players, 12 of whom were full-time and the balance hired on a per-service basis. The orchestra has been broadcast regularly by CBC radio.
In addition to its eight-concert main series, well-established by the 1981-2 season, the orchestra had by 1991 added three pop concerts, six pairs of chamber concerts held at Government House, and a four-concert orchestral series at First Presbyterian Church. The orchestra has performed with the South Saskatchewan Youth Orchestra (begun in 1977 under the Regina SO's sponsorship), the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the National Ballet, the Regina Symphony Philharmonic Chorus (established in 1973) and Alberta Opera. In May 1979 the Regina SO joined the University of Regina in a production of Madama Butterfly with Maria Pellegrini in the title role and Millar as music director. It was presented in Regina and Saskatoon.
The orchestra has made two recordings: a 75th-anniversary album in 1983 with works by Grieg, Wagner and others (Studio West unnumbered) and a cassette Christmas Past/Christmas Present (private recording) including works by Haydn, Corelli and Rowley.
Author William L. Brandhagen
Leyton-Brown, H. 'Regina Symphony Orchestra,' CanComp, 28, Apr 1968
'Great expectations await the Regina Symphony,' OCan, vol 6, Dec-Feb 1979
Borrowman, Roy. The Regina Symphony Orchestra (Regina 1981)
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