Founded in 1904, the Salem Philharmonic is a 50 piece professional orchestra that performs a series of free concerts every winter. The orchestra performs "pops" style concerts featuring classical music and show tunes.
In the 1940's the Salem Philharmonic's conductor was Claude Phillips, music director at several local schools. On his passing, Richard Boisvert took over as director and then was succeeded by the present able conductor, Alan Hawryluk.
Under Claude Phillips, the series was funded by the Reed Fund and concerts were held at the YMCA building on Essex St. even being broadcast on local WESX radio. When the YMCA converted its auditorium to a gym, the orchestra moved to local churches, including the First Universalist Church on Bridge Street. In 1976, when the new Salem High School was built, the orchestra found a permanent home.
Alan Hawryluk has been director of the Philharmonic since 1971 and encourages Salem High School musicians to sit in with the regular members and also invites them back later as professionals. Since the 1980's, with curtailed grant money, the orchestra is performing less concerts than before. All the concerts are free and are enjoyed greatly by Salem residents.
In early 2014, Alan Hawryluk retired as director of the Philharmonic, after 43 years conducting. John Koza was named the new conductor and music director. Mr. Koza will conduct the Winter Concert Series of 2015 on these dates: Jan. 11, 25 and Feb. 1.
- Vertical File in Salem Collection - Salem Philharmonic
- Legendary Locals of Salem Alan Hawryluk, p. 102
- "Devoted to music: Salem Philharmonic welcomes new conductor" Salem News, Jan. 8, 2015, p. 9
- "Getting their Phil...fans eagerly await season opener" Salem Evening News, Jan.7, 1995. p.1
- "Opening of Salem Philharmonic brings back memories" Salem Evening News, Dec. 12, 1995. p. B5
- The Jewish Community of the North Shore by Alan S. Pierce and Avrom J. Herbster, p.123 (photograph from 1940's)