In The News




The Stratford Symphony Orchestra announces the appointment of Kent Meston as the SSO’s General Manager. Kent will assume this position beginning Jan. 16, 2023 as the current Administrative Director, Chris Sharpe, retires from arts administration to focus on music performance. Kent will work closely with the Board and Artistic Leadership to implement the SSO’s strategic plan which includes weaving the Symphony even deeper into the community.

Board Chair Nancy Stotts Jones said, “Kent is the leader the SSO needs as the orchestra continues to develop its programs and expand its reach. He brings the right set of skills, energy, and vision to this pivotal leadership position. The Symphony is in very good hands.”

Kent has a varied background in business management including 18 years at the British Columbia Lottery Corporation and 5 years as a Director of IT at the Vancouver International Airport. He has been working with business boards for years and is known for developing excellent working relationships. 

Currently a resident of Stratford, Kent is a Director on the Board of the Stratford Perth Community Foundation. He loves attending SSO concerts and has had training as a classical double bassist before changing to a business focus. The SSO is very excited to welcome this talent!


Reconnect Ontario 2022 Brings the SSO Live!


The Stratford Symphony Orchestra announces several public events , enabled by Province of Ontario funding

Media Release: Stratford, Ontario, August 11, 2022 –

The Stratford Symphony Orchestra (SSO) is pleased to announce that it is receiving funding through the Province of Ontario’s “Reconnect Ontario 2022 grant. This grant will enable a variety of “unplugged” public music events to take place through the summer and fall months.

The Reconnect Ontario 2022 program is initiated to support festivals and events with a tourism economic impact to motivate visitors to rediscover Ontario, reconnect people with local experiences and generate increased tourism spending. Following two years of restrictions on public music presentations, this grant will enable the SSO to engage with live audiences through a series of safe experiences. These unplugged events will draw tourists and local visitors, whether in-person or virtually, through innovative programming, and generate positive economic impact for the local community, the region and the province.

“The SSO has always had a strong community outreach presence in Stratford and surroundings. The orchestra is very grateful to receive this funding to enable an expansion of our public programs after a period where all SSO events had to be virtual”, said Chris Sharpe, Administrative Director for the SSO. 
Through this program patrons will be able to enjoy small ensembles from the SSO in various pubic settings, be able to attend open dress rehearsals for the orchestra, experience the SSO’s Youth Orchestra, plus other events that will entertain and educate.

The SSO is a professional orchestra of 50 musicians under the direction of Principal Conductor William Rowson. The Orchestra is very active in Stratford and surrounding areas performing live and filmed concerts; delivering education programs; providing music outreach services; and creating engaging music activities for all ages.


For more information contact:

Chris Sharpe, SSO Administrative Director



News Release
For Immediate Release

Government of Canada supports the Stratford Symphony Orchestra through the Tourism Relief Fund
The Stratford Symphony Orchestra receives $60,000 from RTO4  through FedDev Ontario to attract visitors and support future growth

OCTOBER 6, 2022    Stratford, Ontario    
The tourism sector is vital to the economy and jobs in Wellington County, Waterloo Region and Perth and Huron County. Arts and culture form the basis of the tourism economy for Stratford and the Stratford Symphony Orchestra (SSO) in one of the leading music organizations for the area. With year-round performances and community programs, the SSO draws local visitors and those from afar. As the orchestra pivots back to live performances from the pandemic restrictions, it is, once again, helping fuel the local economy as tourists take in a concert, shopping, dining, and other options that Stratford has to offer. The orchestra employs 50 musicians plus 5 administrators in addition to patronizing local venues and businesses for its needs.

Today, the SSO received a non-repayable contribution of $60,000 from RTO4 to bring music to public spaces and draw visitors to special venues and events. This is part of an overall Government of Canada investment of over $78 million, which includes an almost $10-million top up to FedDev Ontario’s original $68.5-million contribution for 11 Regional Tourism Offices and Indigenous Tourism Ontario.

This Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) investment will help the SSO adapt and recover to attract new visitors and drive economic growth in music performance and education.

“The tourism sector is important to the economy, jobs and livelihoods in Wellington County, Waterloo Region, Perth and Huron County. This Government of Canada investment, through FedDev Ontario and RTO4 will ensure businesses in Perth, like the Stratford Symphony Orchestra, have the tools to enhance experiences and offerings to attract visitors and be well-positioned to drive economic growth in (region).”
The Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“This funding is instrumental in enabling a series of special live projects in the summer and fall of 2022. The SSO has gradually been pivoting back to live performances as pandemic restrictions were removed, and this FedDev support brought our musicians to the public, encouraging tourism and exposing the SSO to existing and new audiences. FedDev has helped put the orchestra back onstage.”

- Chris Sharpe, Administrative Manager, Stratford Symphony Orchestra


“We are immensely grateful to the Government of Canada and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario for the ability to support local businesses and organizations in Waterloo, Wellington, Huron and Perth Counties, like the Stratford Symphony Orchestra. Projects like this will make an impact on the road to recovery and reimagination by allowing stakeholders to make strategic investments in product and destination development.”
                -Andrea Gardi, Executive Director RTO4


Quick facts

  • RTO4’s mission is to develop, enhance and strengthen a results-oriented and sustainable tourism economy through strategic industry partnerships.
  • The Government of Canada’s $5-million investment in RTO4 is part of an over $78-million investment for ITO and TROs in southern Ontario.
  • The Government of Canada’s $500-million Tourism Relief Fund is helping tourism-oriented businesses and organizations recover from the pandemic and prepare for future growth. FedDev Ontario is delivering nearly $120 million of the Tourism Relief Fund across southern Ontario.


News Release: September 14, 2022

Stratford, ON | The Stratford Symphony Orchestra (SSO) is thrilled to announce the concert line-up for
its 18th season, the first fully-live in-person concert experience in several years.
Led by Principal Conductor and Music Director, William Rowson, SSO's 18th season includes six
remarkable concerts consisting of world class soloists, classic and new works, plus the ever-popular New
Year’s and Celtic shows.

“Stratford is known in Canada and beyond for its vibrant arts and culture scene, and the Stratford
Symphony Orchestra sets a high bar in this unique artistic community,” says Rowson. “Our 2022-2023
season offers exceptional concerts with acclaimed international soloists that would not be out of place
in Toronto or New York.”


The season kicks off on Saturday, October 1, 2022 with a concert featuring the phenomenal Israeli-Canadian cellist, Daniel Hass, who will be performing Dvorak’s Cello Concerto. As an added bonus, Hass


will be making a preliminary appearance, performing a solo recital with piano accompaniment at the
SSO’s annual Cows & Classics event. This event takes place on the Murray Family Farm near Mitchell on
Sunday, September 25.

Hass has won many competitions, including the Stulberg International String Competition, the Canada
Council for the Arts Michael Measures Prize, the Juilliard Cello Concerto Competition, and the 2021
Sylva Gelber Music Foundation award.

Other concerts in the season include:

  • November 12, 2022: Salute to Ludwig van Beethoven with Sofia Mycyk, piano
  • January 1, 2023: New Year’s in Vienna featuring vocalists Catherine and Mark Gardner
  • January 28, 2023: Celtic Celebration – with the Clefs of Moher
  • March 4, 2023: Brahms & Dvorak – highlighting the talents of Sarah Pratt, violin
  • May 27, 2023: The Organ Symphony and More – with soloists Laurel Swinden, flute; Jonathan
  • Rowsell, tuba; and Owen Spicer, organ

For those planning to attend all six concerts of the season, the SSO is offering the Season 18 Subscription
Package - six concerts for the price of five. Check out the season trailer here.

To learn more about the SSO and its 18th season visit



Rogers tv and Stratford Symphony team up for Special Broadcast
A Stratford Celebration Premieres Saturday March 5th at 7:30 pm

As the Stratford Symphony prepares to launch its 18th season, Rogers tv has stepped in to support the  orchestra with a broadcast of a special community concert filmed last October.

A Stratford Celebration, the Stratford Symphony Orchestra’s (SSO) first live performance in nearly a year  and a half, will premiere on Rogers Television on Saturday March 5th at 7:30 pm with encore presentations  Sunday March 6th at 12 pm and 6 pm; Thursday March 10th at 12 noon; Saturday March 12th at 9 am; and  Sunday March 13th at 7 pm. For those without a Rogers Cable subscription, the concert will also be  available to watch online on by selecting Waterloo Region.


“We are delighted to bring the orchestra to the wider community,” says William Rowson, the Stratford  Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Conductor and Music Director. “We hope this special broadcast will  present a taste of what’s to come as we prepare for our 18th season.”


Tickets will go on sale shortly for Concert A in April and Concert B in June. Prior to the pandemic, the SSO  was playing to capacity houses at Stratford’s Avondale United Church. The two upcoming shows will be  presented with capacity limits and public health considerations in mind.


“We are fortunate to have such a high calibre professional orchestra in a small town like Stratford,” says  Nancy Stotts Jones, Chair of the SSO’s Board of Directors. “As a registered charitable organization, we rely  on ticket sales, donations, sponsors and grants so returning to in-person performances will help us build  on our strong foundation of community support.”
A Stratford Celebration includes works by Bizet, Dvorak, Bellini, Stravinsky, and Korngold and features a  guest appearance by the acclaimed baritone soloist and Stratford resident Phillip Addis.


The special was filmed and produced by Ballinran Entertainment and directed by Craig Thompson with  the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Trillium Foundation, City of Stratford,  RTO4 and Royal LePage Hiller Realty.

If you would like to learn more about the Stratford Symphony Orchestra, please join our mailing list and  get the latest on upcoming concerts and to purchase tickets. A full catalogue of previously filmed  performances by the Stratford Symphony Orchestra is available for streaming on Canada’s Digital Concert Hall.


For more information contact:


Chris Sharpe, SSO Administrative Director

SSO Offices: 519-271-0990




The SSO Adopts the Stratford Perth Youth Orchestra!

The Stratford Symphony Orchestra welcomes a new family member and expands its youth and education programs


Media Release: Stratford, Ontario, October 15, 2021 –








The Stratford Symphony Orchestra (SSO) is very excited to announce that it is adopting the Stratford Perth Youth Orchestra, now renamed the Stratford Symphony Youth Orchestra (SSYO). This excellent youth ensemble was started in 2010 by cellist Ben Bolt-Martin as a string ensemble that provided an opportunity for young string players to make music as a group and perform for the Stratford community.

Ben is now passing the baton to the talented young conductor Éric Charbonneau, recently seen as Associate Conductor at the Stratford Festival. Éric has always been an active teaching artist and is eager to grow the string ensemble into a full youth orchestra that includes woodwinds, brass and percussion.

“I know the young musicians will be inspired by the excellent musicians in the SSO and will have more opportunities to present music in the community,” says Éric. “I am honoured to lead this ensemble and grateful to Ben Bolt-Martin for laying such an excellent foundation.”

Under the wing of the SSO - a fully professional orchestra - the Youth Orchestra will have opportunities for coaching with SSO musicians, observing SSO rehearsals, and, eventually, participating in joint performances.

SSO Principal Conductor William Rowson states, “As a former youth orchestra member myself many years ago, I know the tremendous value of being associated with a parent orchestra of the stature of the SSO. I’m so pleased to welcome the SSYO to our family!”

The SSYO introduces a vital, new element in the SSO’s mandate for education and creates new outreach possibilities into the community. “Every professional orchestra musician can attest to the range of benefits that come from playing in a youth orchestra, both musical and social. It is the perfect training ground for young people and brings tremendous joy to each musician, their families and the community as a whole,” says SSO Administrative Director, Chris Sharpe.
The ensemble is seeking all orchestral instruments (strings, woodwind, brass and percussion) to add to its current roster. The SSYO welcomes students of all ages from Stratford and surrounding areas who have two or more years of experience playing their instrument.

Currently, the ensemble rehearses on Thursday evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 PM at the Stratford Perth Museum. Musicians 12 years and older must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to be part of the ensemble. For more information please contact conductor Éric Charbonneau at

The SSO is a professional orchestra of 50 musicians under the direction of Principal Conductor William Rowson. The Orchestra is very active in Stratford and surrounding areas performing live concerts, delivering education programs, providing music outreach services, and creating engaging music activities for all ages.


For more information contact:

Chris Sharpe, SSO Administrative Director


SSO Offices: 519-271-0990


Virtual Cows & Classics Returns June 28, 2021!

Stratford Symphony Orchestra’s unique annual concert in the country is back with some fun new twists!


Media Release: Stratford, Ontario, May 15, 2021 –

Well known as a small-city orchestra that makes a huge impression, the Stratford Symphony Orchestra (SSO) is excited to announce that Cows & Classics, one of the community’s favourite annual music outreach events, will be broadcast starting Monday, June 28, 2021 at 7:30 pm.

Each year, Cows & Classics features a remarkable roster of talented musicians from Stratford and surrounding area. Cows & Classics ‘21 has a country fair twist that will include special guest artists The Bookends - a favourite local Celtic band; actor and improvisor Rebecca Northan; singer-songwriter Hannah Thomas; musical theatre star Chloe Weir; Full House Brass quintet; Horns a Plenty horn octet; internationally-acclaimed flute player Liesel Deppe joined by clarinetist, Peter Shackleton; SSO Principal Cellist Patrick Theriault; and SSO’s award-winning harpist Rose Soenen will take you on a musical harp world tour - from Ireland to France to Argentina.

What’s different this year? The entire event will be filmed by internationally-acclaimed Ballinran Entertainment and broadcast on, Canada’s subscription video-on-demand platform for the arts.

Second, this year’s event will be emceed by acclaimed actor, improviser, theatre director, and creative artist, Rebecca Northan. Rebecca is well known to Stratford Festival and Spontaneous Theatre audiences.

Third, there will be several mini-events happening throughout the course of the main concert event.  A variety of artists and artisans from the area will display their remarkable creations and talents, including Stonetown Cheese, Monforte Dairy, Black Donelly’s Brewing Company, metal artists Murals in Metal, furniture maker Bob Hutson from Windbreak Farm, and fabric artist Brenda Krantz. As a special treat, artist Bruce Horak will create a painting on-site in real time, to be auctioned off following the event.

The day will conclude with a live beer and cheese pairing session led by Ruth Klahsen from Monforte Dairy. Audience participation at home is encouraged!

Once again, Cows & Classics is hosted by David and Annamarie Murray at their farm near Mitchell, Ontario. Each year for the past seven years, this outdoor event has attracted hundreds of visitors who come to enjoy great music, delicious treats, and a tour of the Murrays’ spectacular gardens.

From its humble beginnings as a porch concert at the Murray farm, Cows & Classics has continued to grow in every way. “I’m particularly excited about bringing together these artists and artisans,” says David Murray, “all of whom highlight some of the things that make Stratford and the surrounding area a world class destination. I’m also thrilled this event will have a global audience!”

The SSO is a professional orchestra of 50 musicians under the direction of Principal Conductor William Rowson. The Orchestra is very active in Stratford and surrounding areas performing live concerts, delivering education programs, providing music outreach services, and creating engaging music activities for all ages. Cows & Classics is one of its most unique outreach events appealing to all ages. Viewers are encouraged to make a donation in support of the Orchestra’s activities by sponsoring a Guest Artist, sponsoring the Hay Wagon Stage, or donating to have naming rights for one of the farm’s spring calves!


Details can be found at

Cows & Classics 2021 is made possible through funding by Ontario Trillium Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, RTO4 and the City of Stratford. The online concert broadcast is made possible through sponsorship from Ballinran Entertainment and Coventry Animal Hospital and will premiere Monday, June 28 at 7:30pm through


For more information contact:


Chris Sharpe, SSO Administrative Director


David Murray, SSO Office Manager

Stratford Symphony Orchestra Announces Season 16

Premium Digital Mini Concert Series SSO To Go debuts December 5th.


The Stratford Symphony Orchestra (SSO) is excited to announce its unique Season 16 for 2020-21. Unlike in any previous season, the SSO will present SSO To Go, a collection of premium digital mini concert offerings for its dedicated local and growing global audience. This digital package consists of a series of documentary-style films featuring the first-class SSO musicians under the direction of one of the most dynamic conducting talents in Canada, SSO’s Music Director and Principal Conductor, William Rowson. The films are complemented by a series of engaging podcasts produced by SSO partner, the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO).


The production quality of the concert films is second to none, produced by award-winning film and television production company Ballinran Entertainment and directed by Craig Thompson along with a talented team that included sound engineer John Hazen, lighting designer Lorenzo Savoini and technical crew from IATSE Local 357. The audiance-free Avondale Church was transformed into a magical concert setting, with ensembles from the SSO safely performing for the cameras.


SSO Music Director and Principal Conductor William Rowson explains:


“In putting these programs together, I was looking at ways to have our SSO musicians come together in a safe way to allow for great music-making and an engaging concert experience. It was a challenge working around safety protocols and physical distancing, with limits on the number of people involved at any given time.


One of the silver linings of having to program for smaller orchestral ensembles is that we’re able to play a lot of really great music that we love, but which is not normally considered part of our repertoire.  One example of this is Baroque music, which hasn’t been performed that much by the SSO.  The same is true for Renaissance music and contemporary works. We also wanted to feature as many local artists as possible. The programs are fun, they tell stories and are full of great music!”



Each SSO To Go instalment explores an interesting theme through music performance, illustrative commentary, insightful interviews, and bonus content, all of which can be enjoyed in the comfort of the viewers’ homes. The first instalment to make its online premiere will be Music in the Round on Saturday, December 5 at 8:00 pm, featuring the brass section of the SSO, joined by members of London, Ontario-based ensemble, Brassroots.


Subsequent film releases will include a festive, orchestral Christmas program; a fascinating exploration of the history of the famous tune Greensleeves, featuring guest artists Terry McKenna (lute) and Laurel Swinden (flute); Music in the Time of Plague-themed programs; and an instalment called Harmoniemusik that will feature SSO woodwind players performing the music of Mozart and Beethoven.


Each of the SSO To Go concert films will be accessible to anyone with an internet connection for a low pay-per-view fee, either by individual concert or by subscription to the full six part series. Students will be able to enjoy them for a reduced fee. The complementary SPO Great Music podcast series is offered free of charge.


SSO To Go Pricing:


Single Tickets: $10 minimum per household per concert (7-day viewing window)
6-Pack Subscription of all six concerts: $50 minimum (= one for FREE!) per household (6-month viewing window)
Students: $7 per concert or $30 for a 6-Pack Subscription to all six films




Season 16 is made possible through funding by Ontario Trillium Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, RTO4 and the City of Stratford.


For more information contact:

Chris Sharpe, SSO Administrative Director



Ontario Trillium Foundation Keeps the Music Alive!

Media Release: Stratford, Ontario, March 14, 2022 –

Stratford, ON: The Stratford Symphony Orchestra (SSO) continues to serve its community - despite pandemic restrictions - thanks to vital funding in the form of a $75,100 Resilient Communities Fund grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) in 2021. In place of traditional live concerts and education/outreach programs, a generous OTF grant enabled the SSO to digitally pivot in the short term while supporting a long-term strategy of alternative programming, new delivery platforms, and hybrid models for music performance and education/outreach.

“The Stratford Orchestra Symphony is an important cultural institution in our community,” Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece said. “This Ontario Trillium Foundation grant will help people engage with musical performance.”


The Resilient Communities Fund program was developed to help non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Over the last few months, the grant enabled the SSO to release a set of “SSO To Go” filmed mini-concerts through, Canada’s digital subscription platform for the arts. These films brought the SSO musicians, conducted and narrated by Conductor William Rowson, to a global audience. Several podcasts created by the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra complement these films with informative and educational background material. The OTF grant has also enabled the creation of several education and outreach programs, including a set of “Virtual Cushion Concerts” for kids; streaming SSO concerts to local seniors’ retirement communities; and online music lessons for high school music students, taught by expert SSO musicians. These free music lessons benefited many isolated students and led to one French horn student being accepted into music programs by three universities!

“The Symphony is eternally grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, who’s generosity has enabled us to overcome the challenges of this pandemic and bring musical light into our community’s life,” said Chris Sharpe, SSO Administrative Director. “Our pivot into digital platforms could only have happened with this funding.”

The SSO is a professional orchestra of 50 musicians under the direction of Principal Conductor William Rowson. The Orchestra is very active in Stratford and surrounding areas performing live and filmed concerts; delivering education programs; providing music outreach services; and creating engaging music activities for all ages. For more information, please visit:

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. Last year, nearly $112M was invested into 1,384 community projects and partnerships to build healthy and vibrant communities and strengthen the impact of Ontario’s non-profit sector. In 2020/21, OTF supported Ontario’s economic recovery by helping non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.  Visit to learn more.

For more information contact:
Chris Sharpe, SSO Administrative Director


Wightman partners with Stratford Symphony to broadcast Cows & Classics Concert.

SSO event to be broadcast on Wightman’s Community TV.

Media Release: Stratford, Ontario, July 3, 2020 –

Wightman is pleased to announce a partnership with the Stratford Symphony Orchestra (SSO) for a broadcast of Cows & Classics, a favourite annual community music event. This year’s event, featuring internationally renowned music artists, was produced and filmed live at the David and Annamarie Murray farm by Ballinran Entertainment on June 22, 2020, without the usual live audience.

Wightman will broadcast this concert on Wightman Community TV channel 6 on Thursday, July 9 at 9:00 pm and again on Saturday, July 11, at 6:00 pm.

“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with Stratford Symphony Orchestra for the Cows & Classics broadcast, and we look forward to sharing this unique content with our community,” said Marketing Manager Hope Reidt.

The performers for this music event include operatic stars Roger Honeywell, James Westman, and Phillip Addis, all accompanied by pianist Emily Hamper; musical theatre stars Marcus Nance, Franklin Brasz and Barbara Fulton; pianist and composer Paul Shilton; the SSO’s principal horn Andrew MacDonald with international flautist Liesel Deppe; solo violinist Ji Won Baxter, SSO member and winner of the Emerging Artist Competition; Stephen Russell, renowned actor formerly with the Stratford Festival for over 35 years; and David Murray on piano. The musical performances take place on the Hay Wagon Stage in a unique rural setting.

Wightman, a family-owned company founded in 1908, specializes in Fibre to the Home and Business technology, capable of providing multiple gigabit internet speeds, as well as high definition TV service with the latest user features, and home phone service. Wightman is currently constructing Fibre to the Home and Business throughout Stratford.

The SSO is a professional orchestra of 50 musicians under the direction of Principal Conductor, William Rowson. Now looking forward to its 16th season, the SSO is very active in Stratford and surrounding areas performing live concerts, delivering education programs, providing music outreach services, and creating engaging music activities for all ages. For more information, visit

Cows & Classics is produced by Ballinran Entertainment, a Stratford-based film and television production company, that has been producing content for audiences around the world for 25 years. “We are pleased to be working with the Stratford Symphony to bring this project to the screen,” says Director and Producer Craig Thompson. “Stratford has a wealth of musical and theatrical talent, who like us, choose to live here and want to share their creativity with the world. This project shines the spotlight on Stratford when our community needs it the most.”


For more information contact:

Hope Reidt, Marketing Manager 

Chris Sharpe, SSO Administrative Director


The SSO Pivots to Educate Digitally

The Stratford Symphony Orchestra continues youth and education programs despite pandemic restrictions


Media Release: Stratford, Ontario, June 1, 2020 –

The Stratford Symphony Orchestra (SSO) may not be performing live concerts for some time but has received funding that enables its education programs to continue. Thanks to a generous grant from the Stratford Perth Community Foundation (SPCF), the SSO will start using digital platforms to deliver music education to anyone with internet service.

While the SSO originally intended to visit local schools with live music presentations by some of its musicians and Conductor, William Rowson, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted innovative ways to reach the students and their families at home until schools reopen safely.

One innovative offering is that of music lessons for any high school music students who have their instruments at home. Most of the SSO musicians have experience teaching private music lessons and this can now be done through any mainstream video conferencing software. These long distance lessons are being offered free of charge thanks to the SPCF funding of this program.

SSO French Horn player Randi Patterson says, “This is an excellent way for young musicians, stranded at home, to continue to develop by studying with SSO musicians remotely. All that’s required is an instrument and an internet connection. I know my horn students will be eager to take advantage of this, and their families will enjoy having music in the home.”

Another way to deliver music education through digital platforms will be through filmed music programs. The SSO intends to film small ensembles of SSO musicians, under the required health and safety mandates, in programs that will combine music with educational components. One of these will be based on the successful Cushion Concerts series that was previously held at Stratford Public Library. These short presentations, filmed by SSO’s partner Ballinran Entertainment, will be geared to the very young and delivered over the internet.

Another film project will bring small ensembles from the orchestra together to film a set of thematic music programs that is introduced by educational narration from SSO Conductor, William Rowson. The education aspects will provide an interesting music appreciation to complement the music offerings. Plans are developing for these filmed mini concerts to be delivered over a digital platform currently being developed by Ballinran Entertainment.

The SSO’s mandate for education and outreach remains strong despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, with the potential to reach even more people outside of the local area. “The SSO is now pivoting to a global stage thanks to the expertise of our partners and funding from sources such as the Stratford Perth Community Foundation. The possibilities are very exciting!”, says SSO Administrative Director, Chris Sharpe.


All SSO digital projects have been made possible through generous funding from the Stratford Perth Community Foundation. the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, RTO4 and the City of Stratford.

The SSO is a professional orchestra of 50 musicians under the direction of Principal Conductor William Rowson. The Orchestra is very active in Stratford and surrounding areas performing live concerts, delivering education programs, providing music outreach services, and creating engaging music activities for all ages.

For more information contact:

Chris Sharpe, SSO Administrative Director

SSO Offices: 519-271-0990



Stratford Symphony Orchestra concert set to bring 'Darkness Into Light' more than two years later


A Stratford Symphony Orchestra concert filmed more than two years ago feels eerily prescient today.


Entitled ‘Darkness Into Light’, the theme was chosen because the works performed were inspired and informed by a period of turbulence. Local production company Ballinran Entertainment was there to gather footage for a short promotional video and ended up filming the entire show at Stratford’s Avondale United Church.


When a global pandemic forced the orchestra to cancel its final two shows of the 2019-20 season, the decision was made to stream that March 31, 2018 performance on Mother’s Day.


Read the full story in the May 6, 2020 edition of the Stratford Beacon Herald.

Annual Phantom Ball fundraiser a COVID-friendly way to support the Stratford Symphony Orchestra


It was never intended to be an event that could be held during a viral pandemic, but the Stratford Symphony Orchestra’s annual Phantom Ball fundraiser is a COVID-friendly way to support the organization during the coronavirus crisis.


Read the full story in the April 19, 2020 edition of the Stratford Beacon Herald.

Cape Breton's Natalie MacMaster to perform in concert with Stratford Symphony Orchestra


Cape Breton fiddler and step-dancer Natalie MacMaster will perform with the Stratford Symphony Orchestra at the Avon Theatre in Stratford on January 25, 2020.

Read the full story in the December 20, 2019 edition of the Stratford Beacon Herald.

Stratford Symphony Orchestra announces lineup for 15th anniversary season


The Stratford Symphony Orchestra has announced the six concerts, from October through May, that will make up its 15th season.


Read the full story in the May 22, 2019 edition of the Stratford Beacon Herald.

What's Up Stratford?


David Murray from the Stratford Symphony Orchestra joins host Peter Maranger to talk about their upcoming season (Season 15) and some of the big name performers coming to play with the orchestra.


View the interview in its entirety on Rogers TV, What's up Stratford April 2019.

Stratford Cracks Top-10 Culture Days List


Stratford has once again been recognized for its Culture Days excellence.


The organizing body behind the annual nationwide event recently released its top-10 lists of cities and towns from this fall’s festivities and the Festival City was ranked eighth in the population under 50,000 category. Eileen Smith, regional Culture Days co-ordinator, said it’s no surprise Stratford made the list.


Read the full story in the November 12, 2018 edition of the Stratford Beacon Herald.

Province To Honour Stratford Senior


Eleanor Kane is a member of the Volunteer committee and longstanding supporter of the SSO. We are thrilled at this recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the City of Stratford.


Read the full story in the November 4, 2018 edition of the Stratford Beacon Herald.

Culture Day Hits Right Note


The goal of Culture Days is to make the arts accessible to everyone and to offer new experiences.


An event called Conduct Us, hosted by the Stratford Symphony Orchestra Saturday afternoon at the Normal School, accomplished this feat. It attracted an intrigued group of people who had little-to-no experience waving a baton and leading a collection of talented musicians. 


Read the full story in the September 30, 2018 edition of the Stratford Beacon Herald.

Stratford Symphony Orchestra Unveils 14th Season


With six concerts and a diverse slate of guest performers and conductors planned for the worship hall at Avondale United Church, the Stratford Symphony Orchestra’s 14th season is sure to have something for everyone.

Read the full story in the May 18, 2018 edition of the Stratford Beacon Herald.

Classical music at rural setting a unique fundraiser


When the Stratford Symphony Orchestra board of directors was looking for a new fundraiser four years ago, board member David Murray quickly offered up his and his wife Annamarie’s farm just outside Mitchell as a possible venue to showcase local musical talent.


Read the full story in the July 11, 2016 edition of The Mitchell Advocate.


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