Santa Maria Philharmonic Society
The earliest formal efforts toward orchestra performance in Santa Maria date from 1925, when local musicians would meet at private homes to play their instruments in house concerts. Business leader G. Allan Hancock, himself a cellist, purchased the Santa Maria Valley Railroad and became active in the region. As a member of his staff, Hancock brought William Edson Strobridge to Santa Maria – Strobridge had been the business manager for the Philharmonic Orchestra of Los Angeles, and had also served as manager of the L.A. Symphony Orchestra. With musicians, organizational knowledge, community support, and Hancock’s music library all on hand, the original Community Orchestra of Santa Maria was born.
By 1920, the Santa Maria Symphony was established, and continued for 40 years, using the name Coastal Valleys Symphony for the last few of those years. The current Santa Maria Philharmonic Society stepped into Santa Maria’s symphonic shoes in 2001, gearing up with live performances and Music Van outreach to school children, even before the first full season of subscription concerts in 2019-2002.
Today’s Santa Maria Philharmonic led by music Director Maestro Michael Nowak, is a significant and valued gem in the performing arts community. As a local professional symphony orchestra it brings live classical music to the Santa Maria community, offering an exciting four concert season of beautiful and inspiring orchestral music, elevating cultural life. The orchestra also provides a robust and outstanding children’s program that brings educational events to thousands of children in the Santa Maria Valley, supplying an essential introduction to classical music.
The mission of the Santa Maria Philharmonic Society is to maintain and strengthen cultural values; to preserve the classical music art form; to enrich musical experiences in the community; to provide fine, live musical performances, and to provide cross-generational educational events in the Santa Maria and surrounding valleys.