The only prominent entertainer who ever lived in Bel Air, Md., was the infamous John Wilkes Booth, but many of history’s best classical music composers come to the small town metaphorically via the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra.
Named the Harford Community Orchestra when it was founded in 1978, the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra was renamed in 1982 after the 464-mile river that flows into the Chesapeake Bay at Harford County’s shoreline. It’s a community orchestra. That means its musicians are Harford County residents who play for the love of music. There are professional musicians in the 100-member orchestra, but they don’t get paid for the orchestra’s performances.
The orchestra’s passion has been expressed in concerts featuring music composed by a who’s who of musicians. Many are recognizable by their last name. Mozart. Beethoven. Bach. Brahms. Gershwin. Tchaikovsky. Copland. Stravinsky. Schumann. Handel. Haydn. Schubert. Ellington. The orchestra, though, does more than play famous music. It often performs concerts featuring multicultural music and “specializes in new and unusual repertoire, often featuring unjustly neglected works,” itswebsite reports.
The orchestra performs six concerts annually. Tickets to four concerts are sold via this PurplePass website. The other two are free concerts for a charity or the public. In recent years, most of the concerts have been in Bel Air, population 10,120. Last year’s six concerts included a tribute to Mozart, an audience participation concert, and a jazz concert with students performing with the orchestra. This website updates the schedule.