Few North American cities of Stratford's size can boast a symphony orchestra as accomplished as the Stratford Symphony Orchestra.
The Stratford Civic Orchestra was founded in 2004 by educator and arts manager, Yootha Neller. Her goal was to establish a fine orchestra within the Stratford community to present excellent performances with a broad stylistic range. Since that time, the SSO has presented an annual season of live performances of classical and contemporary music, with a special emphasis on Canadian composers. The SSO has become an integral part of the region's arts community, collaborating with other cultural and educational organizations and participating in community events.
Now in its fifteenth season, the SSO has impressed audiences with its virtuosity and variety of musical offerings. Nothing compares with live music, delivered with the joy, passion and skill that talented musicians bring directly to their audience. Concert after concert, audiences have given standing ovations to tell the orchestra how much they appreciate the music and the musicians.
Through its Emerging Artists Concerto Competition, the SSO has put the talents of young musicians on public display. Each year aspiring local and area artists compete for the opportunity to appear with the Symphony as a featured soloist. Winners have gone on to rewarding careers in music performance.
The SSO also presents an annual series of Cushion Concerts, offering young people an up-close look at the musicians and the instruments of the orchestra, in partnership with the Stratford Public Library.
Behind the scenes, a board of directors and dozens of skilled and dedicated volunteers support all aspects of the SSO’s operations. Funding support for the Orchestra comes from ticket and subscription sales, donations, fundraising events and sponsorships.