The 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.

The Orchestra continues to work to enhance music education among the students and citizens of the Aiken community.  Our 2020 Home for the Holidays concert was recorded and subsequently provided to all Aiken County schools for use in their music education programs free of charge.  In addition, prior to the pandemic, the ASO typically performs in the Aiken Symphony Guild’s long established Youth Concert Series before some 2,500 fifth grade students from Aiken and Edgefield counties during the month of February. To learn more about the activities of the Aiken Symphony Guild, please visit their website.

Our Mission

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
Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Thomas Herlong, President
David Allen, Immediate Past President
Doris Begley, Audience Relations Chair
Charlie Call, Treasurer
Sandy Costanzo, Chief Administrative Officer
Dennis Duerksen, Vice President & Secretary
Dr. Donald Portnoy, Founding Music Director & Conductor
David Tavernier, Artistic Advisory Chair
Holly Woltz, DVM, Fundraising Chair


Mary Barnett
Catherine Bedenbaugh
Byron Bush
Prof. Paul Crook
Thomas C. Hofstetter, President Emeritus
Sharon Johnson, Co-President, Aiken Symphony Guild
Jim Oremus
Judy Rector, Co-President, Aiken Symphony Guild
Paul Rideout
Joel Scraper, DMA
Kitty Yundt
Beverley Zigelman

Honorary Members

Stuart Bedenbaugh
E. Owen Clary
Dr. Sandra Jordan, USCA Chancellor
Prof. David Owen
Representative Bill Taylor
Will Williams
Dan Zaloudek


Deedee Vaughters, Executive Director
Wendy Hirsch, Symphony Administrator

To view the Aiken Symphony Orchestra’s privacy policy, please click ASO Privacy Policy 9.10.20


Support Us

With your support, we can continue to bring excellent music to the Aiken community.

Learn How