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John Shepard

revised by Michael Mauskapf

Organization founded in 1930 “to train American orchestra musicians in orchestral techniques and repertoire, providing them with the necessary experience and level of expertise to enter professional orchestra careers.” Originally called the American Orchestral Society and later reorganized by Mary Flagler Cary, Franklin Robinson, and Léon Barzin, the Association gave its first concert at Carnegie Hall on 28 October 1930, making it the oldest training orchestra in the United States. Barzin, who later became founding music director of the New York City Ballet, led the Association until 1958 and again from 1970–76. He remained involved with the organization into his 90s, and an annual award has been given in his honor. The orchestra has not only explored the standard repertory but has also given more than 60 world premieres, 25 American premieres, and 60 New York premieres. It has rehearsed and performed under such guest conductors as Aaron Copland and Bernard Haitink, and has accompanied soloists such as Emanuel Feuermann, Myra Hess, Philippe Entremont, and Itzhak Perlman. During World War II, the orchestra played at army camps and hospitals and gave 25 war-bond concerts over the New York radio station WQXR. It was the official orchestra of the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto in ...