Symphony celebrates eighty-five years performing


Stockton is home of the Ports minor league baseball team, the Thunder minor league ice hockey team and surprisingly the third oldest, continually operating, symphony in the state.

The Stockton Symphony has been active since May 1926.

How many people have actually been to a performance?

Attending a symphony concert is beneficial for two reasons according to Peter Jaffe, conductor of the Stockton Symphony.

One cannot reproduce the quality of a live performance via CD or MP3.

It is also rare to have the opportunity to attend the world premiere of a piece of music.

The symphony was founded by Italian immigrant Manlio Silva, a graduate of the Conservatory of Chiavari.

The symphony continued to grow over the years.

Under conductor Kyung-Soo Won the symphony transformed itself from a community orchestra to a professional orchestra. Won was the conductor for 27 years, beginning in 1967.

In 1994 Jaffe became the conductor. Jaffe is an accomplished violinist, violist and keyboardist. He has also acted as the concertmaster for the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.

The Stockton Symphony marks its 85th season this year with two world premieres.

The first premier was “Accordion Concerto” written by Max Simoncic, a music professor of Delta College, in Nov. 2011. The second world premier was “Uzu and Muzu” by Avner Dorman, an Israeli composer, this week.

“Uzu and Muzu” was played for the first time Thursday. A repeat performance is Saturday March 10 at 6 p.m. in the Atherton Auditorium.

“[Uzu and Muzu] has the potential to become the Peter and the Wolf of the 21st century,” said Jaffe, “being part of a world premier is a lot of work.”

The musicians have to practice a lot more. While the conductor has to be in constant communication with the composer. If possible the symphony would rehearse with the composer present, in order to make any changes.

The Stockton Symphony has recently been working with the school districts in the area to introduce todays youth to the symphony. The “Stepping Out” concerts are the perfect way to do so.

“These concerts have reached over 6,800 students up and down the valley,” said Jaffe. “The students may have not seen or heard a live performance before.”

The most recent “Stepping Out” concert was held March 2 at the Atherton Auditorium.

Dorman, the composer of Uzu and Muzu, went to local schools to show the students the process of making the music, as part of the “Stepping Out” concerts.

Tickets to the Stockton Symphony are available at the Delta College box office located in the first floor of the Locke Center, or online at