About

The Amherst Symphony  provides Amherst and Western New York communities with a series of four free concerts a year from October to April. All (4) concerts are performed at the Amherst Middle School, 55 Kings Highway, Amherst, NY. The October and April concerts are presented Sunday evenings at 7:00pm, with pre-concert events at 6:15pm. December and February concerts aim at family involvement with themes relevant to children, and are presented on Sunday at 3pm with pre-concert at 2:15. Each concert provides a variety of music designed to appeal and entertain those of all age groups and musical backgrounds. Outstanding talented special guest artists, often from the area, are featured at each concert. The concerts are family community "happenings" at an exceptional high artistic level.
The orchestra is actively involved with school outreach programs to inspire young musicians and engage future audiences. The orchestra is involved in Amherst’s community life, by participating in such public activities as the annual Arts in Amherst day, Taste of Williamsville day and a Summer POPS concert .
The purpose of the community orchestra experience is to provide a friendly atmosphere for volunteer, professional and amateur musicians of all ages and exciting guest artists who create the joyful sounds that are symphonic music. The musicians represent many different professions and many different western New York communities; they play for the love of making good music.

History


Recipient of the 2006 Outstanding Organization Award
from the Arts Council in Buffalo and Erie County
Named Outstanding Organization in 2014 by the Town of Amherst
Arts and Culture in Public Places Committee

The orchestra was founded in September 1946 by Dr. Joseph Wincenc as part of the Adult Education program of the Amherst Central school system. The orchestra was quickly adopted as a project of the Amherst South (Eggertsville-Snyder) Rotary Club and was supported by them as a town-wide community organization until 1950 when the Amherst Symphony Orchestra Association, Inc. was established. Dr. Wincenc conducted the orchestra through the first 50 years, retiring in 1996.
The Association Board, the Association Advisory Board and the Friends Committee (formerly Womens Committee) join us from all walks of life, and fill vital roles, actively employing their varied interests and expertise.
Four concerts are presented at the Amherst Middle School each year as well as an outdoor summer concert in August as part of the Town of Amherst's Concert Series held at Bassett Park. All concerts are given without an admission fee, though free-will donations are gratefully accepted.
For the past 30 years the Friends Committee has been a partner with the Rotary Club of Williamsville in presenting a scholarship to a local high school senior music student. In addition, the Symphony is involved in Western New York's robust community life by having a presence at such public activities as The Taste of Williamsville and Walk the Village. The orchestra's highly successful musical adoption of an area school each year for the past 18 years has brought the gift of music up close and personal to thousands of students over those years.
The players have always been volunteers who join for the sheer love of music making. They come to us from every imaginable walk of life, though many are professional musicians and/or music teachers. Guest artists who have been invited to solo with the ASO would make an impressive A-list anywhere in the world. And, of course, most have deep Western New York roots, either native or transplant. Many young artists who have since become well known had their early solo experience with the orchestra at Amherst Symphony concerts.

Dr. Joseph Wincenc (1916-2003)


Steeped in music from the age of five when he took his first violin lesson in Buffalo, Joseph Wincenc graduated from Bennett High School. Following graduation from Oberlin Conservatory, he received a fellowship for study at the State Conservatory in Prague, Czechoslovakia where he obtained a Master of Music degree. He returned to Buffalo to play with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, eventually as concertmaster. Later he received his Master of Arts degree from Columbia University and extended his studies at State University College at Buffalo and at New York University. Following a Julliard Summer Fellowship at Chautauqua, he played in the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra for five years.
Foregoing a professional career as a violinist, he taught briefly at Amherst Central High School and then became professor of music at State University College at Buffalo in 1947. A recipient of an honorary doctorate from Canisius College in 1978, he had the rare honor of being awarded the title “Distinguished Teaching Professor” by the State University of New York. He was the recipient of many other citations, awards and honors.
His development as a conductor included training at Berkshire Music Center and invitational workshops conducted by the American Symphony Orchestra League. A frequent guest conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra through the years, he also worked with Joseph Krips as its associate conductor for several seasons.