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A Brief History:
the Riverside County Philharmonic: 50 years of great music!

Fifty years ago this year, a group of musicians formed the Riverside Symphony.   Players included local music students, teachers, business owners, homemakers, even a bomber pilot.  Some were professional musicians while others were not.  What knit them together was their love of music and an appreciative community eager to support their efforts.  The Symphony’s debut concert took place April 7, 1959 at Ramona High School and was a sell-out.

From that beginning, and every season since, the now 72-member all-professional Riverside County Philharmonic has drawn cheering audiences from all over the Southland to its classical and pops concerts.

The orchestra has been acclaimed by local and out-of-town critics for compelling performances, for its unique programming and exceptional roster of guest soloists. On several occasions, reviewers have dubbed the Philharmonic: “Best orchestra in Southern California.”  Much of the credit for the Philharmonic’s success belongs to late Music Director Patrick Flynn, who for more than 18 years carefully guided the group’s development into the ensemble it is today.

Currently the orchestra presents a season of four Saturday evening performances and two Sunday matinees in its home venue, the historic Riverside Municipal Auditorium. The Philharmonic is also in high demand throughout the region, including Cerritos, Lake Elsinore, Fallbrook, Rancho Cucamonga, and Temecula.  It also performs the annual Concert for Heroes at Riverside’s National Cemetery as a part of 4th of July observances.

In 1998 the Philharmonic established the Adventures in Music program for Riverside and San Bernardino County schools, annually bringing the magic of music to thousands of youths.  Continuing its long history of community collaboration, in 2008, the Philharmonic inaugurated a unique partnership with Performance Riverside, co-presenting programs from their respective seasons as part of the Target® Family Series. 

Under the direction of a committed Board of Directors and a new Foundation comprised of community leaders, the Riverside County Philharmonic continues its mission to be one of the leading orchestras in the Southwest.  Just like the orchestra’s first musicians, today’s Philharmonic seeks to inspire every segment of the community with the love and excitement of great music.

The Riverside Philharmonic with the late Patrick Flynn conducting


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The Inland Empire/Riverside County Philharmonic, Patrick Flynn, Music Director