The new Aiken Symphony Orchestra, a not-for-profit IRS 501 (c)(3) organization, brings a dramatic enhancement to the music culture of Aiken. Dr. Donald Portnoy has brought together an ensemble of some of the best professional classical instrumentalists from South Carolina and nearby Georgia. On par with a number of regional orchestras from larger nearby towns and cities, the Aiken Symphony Orchestra greatly adds to the vitality and sophistication required of Aiken in order to attract new businesses, employees, and recent retirees to our community.
In addition to the Orchestra’s classical and pops concerts, a new Chamber Orchestra series of three concerts has been added to the 2019 – 2020 season! The Orchestra continues to work to enhance music education among the students and citizens of the Aiken community. Every year in February, the Orchestra performs in the Aiken Symphony Guild’s long established Youth Concert Series before some 2,500 fifth grade students from Aiken and Edgefield counties. To learn more about the activities of the Aiken Symphony Guild, please visit their website.
The Aiken Symphony Orchestra endeavors to provide artistic leadership to the greater Aiken community through the presentation of symphonic music that educates, entertains, and enriches the human spirit.
In April 2011, a professional symphony orchestra was assembled by Maestro Donald Portnoy to accompany world famous Metropolitan Opera star Frederica von Stade in her farewell concert held at the USCA Etherredge Center in Aiken. Originally named the “Orchestra of the Midlands,” its core musicians were among the finest professional symphony orchestra players residing in South Carolina and Georgia.
We are most pleased that Aiken has gained its own professional symphony orchestra. Befitting its new identity as “Aiken’s own,” the old name, “Orchestra of the Midlands” has been retired. In its place is a new identity, the “Aiken Symphony Orchestra.”
Aiken Symphony Orchestra Directors
Board Members/Executive Committee
Thomas Herlong, President
David Allen, Past President
Dennis Duerksen, Vice President & Corporate Secretary
Doris Begley, Audience Relations
Sandy Costanzo, Chief Administrative Officer
Dr. Donald Portnoy, Music Director & Conductor
Beverley Zigelman, Treasurer
Dr. John Bigger
Prof. Paul Crook
Thomas C. Hofstetter, President Emeritus
Sharon Johnson, Co-President, Aiken Symphony Guild
Judy Rector, Co-President, Aiken Symphony Guild
Dr. Holly Woltz
E. Owen Clary
Dr. Sandra Jordan, USCA Chancellor
Representative Bill Taylor
Deedee Vaughters, Executive Director
Wendy Hirsch, Symphony Administrator