Our Organization

About the Akron Symphony Orchestra

Widely recognized for musical excellence and performance versatility, the Akron Symphony Orchestra is committed to enhancing the quality of life of our community through educational and musical excellence.

About the Akron Symphony Orchestra Details

For more than 60 years, the Akron Symphony Orchestra has been a driving musical force throughout Greater Akron.

The Akron Symphony Orchestra is operated by the Greater Akron Musical Association (GAMA). GAMA’s vision is to be embraced and sustained as a community treasure that provides a welcoming environment for all people to experience great music. This vision is realized by operating the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Akron Youth Orchestras, Akron Symphony Chorus, and numerous special outreach and educational programs.

The Akron Symphony Orchestra began in 1949 when Mabel Lamborn Graham received $500 as “seed money” from the publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal with the instruction to begin raising money for a professional, union orchestra. After three years of intense fundraising, spearheaded by Mrs. Graham and other dedicated volunteers, the Akron Symphony’s Classic Series was established in the organization’s first season in 1953 to provide concerts performed by professional musicians of the highest caliber. Guest conductors and soloists of regional and national stature have been an integral part of the Classic Series since its onset, and remain a high priority for the Symphony.

GAMA Strategic Plan

The Mission of the Greater Akron Musical Association is to enhance the quality of life of our community through education and musical excellence.

GAMA Strategic Plan Details


The Greater Akron Musical Association is embraced and sustained as a community treasure that provides a welcoming environment for all people to experience great music.

Artistic Goals

GAMA will maintain and enhance its tradition of outstanding artistic quality and continually improve upon its reputation as a critically acclaimed organization.

  • Increase artistic excellence in measurable ways.
  • Provide imaginative and compelling programming.
  • Support a full spectrum of educational programs.
  • Expand community engagement activities.
  • Continue to improve upon the GAMA’s reputation locally.

Community Goals

GAMA will increase its relevance to and be known for bringing value to the Greater Akron community while expanding its reach throughout the region.

  • Every interaction between GAMA and its patrons will be designed to create the most satisfying “Symphony Experience”.
  • The broader community’s perception of the value that GAMA brings will be enhanced and measured.
  • Stakeholder participation and interaction with GAMA will be measurably increased.

Education Goals

GAMA will be a resource for music education and a driving force for enlightening the public about symphonic music.

  • Increase the impact and reach of the overall organization through the youth orchestras.
  • Enhance the broader community’s perception of the value of GAMA’s education related activities.
  • Advance general community musical understanding and appreciation based on the concept of life-long learning.

Governance Goals

GAMA’s Board of Trustees will be known for its effective governance and admired by its staff, musicians, and volunteers for its dedication, support, and advocacy.

  • Trustees will be knowledgeable and fully engaged advocates of GAMA, participating in and supporting its events and activities.
  • Through its by-laws and traditions, GAMA has a systematic process with which to create and maintain an active, accountable, engaged, appropriately sized and skilled Board of Trustees.
  • The Board of Trustees will articulate clear expectations for the performance of the Music Director and the Executive Director.
  • The Board of Trustees will study opportunities for potential business partnerships and collaborations with other arts organizations for the mutual benefit of the organizations involved.

Finance Goals

GAMA will operate in a financially sound manner and generate funds to meet its organizational goals and to ensure its long-term financial viability.

  • Fiscal planning will encompass a two-year rolling plan.
  • Budgeted spending will not exceed projected revenue in any given fiscal year and actions will be taken in a timely manner to eliminate any deficit.
  • Management reporting will be enhanced to ensure clear, concise and timely information to board and stakeholders.

Development Goals

GAMA will achieve a sustainable contributory base by nurturing and expanding financial giving and volunteerism.

  • Personalize our contributors’ experiences with GAMA to establish a sense of ownership.
  • Establish a giving model that increases contributed income by “X” during this three-year plan.
  • Create programs to touch non-concert goers who can become friends, donors and/or ticket buyers.
  • Use special events that add to the bottom line and are run with minimal impact on staff time and resources.

Administrative Staff

Akron Symphony administrative personnel

Administrative Staff Details

Board of Trustees

Greater Akron Musical Association Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees Details

Greater Akron Musical Association Board of Trustees Executive Officers

  • Mike Pasternak, President
  • Kathryn Booth, Executive Vice President
  • Susan Burnoski, Treasurer
  • Kurt Reed, Secretary
  • Todd Rosenberg, Development Chair
  • Kathryn Booth, Finance Chair
  • Bob Zajac, Governance Chair
  • Renee Pipitone, Community Engagement & Education Chair
  • Jessica Korkosz Korzhiletskiy, Member At-Large
  • Kurt Reed, Member At-Large
  • Andre Thornton Jr., Member At-Large
  • Renee Pipitone, Immediate Past President
  • Christopher Wilkins, Music Director
  • Paul Jarrett, Executive Director


  • Laura Beth Arnott, Chorus Rep
  • Sandy Becker-Neidert
  • Dr. Todd Beyer
  • Kathryn Booth
  • Susan Burnoski, CPA
  • Lawrence B. Butler Jr.
  • Michael R. Coudriet
  • Tom Crookes
  • Johnnette Curry
  • Gary Davis
  • Tracy Dowe
  • Bruce Fahey
  • Robert Frutchey
  • Christopher Graham, Orchestra Rep
  • Dorothy Hansen
  • Jerry Irby
  • Jessica Korkosz Korzhiletskiy
  • Quinnie Lane
  • Theresa Lerner
  • Jason Lorenzon
  • Tina Magazine
  • Kim McFarlane
  • Charles Myricks Jr.
  • Pat Nilsestuen, President, Akron Symphony Guild
  • Bryon Palitto
  • Michael J. Pasternak, President
  • James F. Pearson
  • Lucia Pileggi
  • Renee Pipitone
  • Kendra Preer, Ph.D.
  • Julie Pulk
  • Ernie Puskas
  • J. Alex Quay
  • Kurt Reed
  • Todd Rosenberg
  • Jane Schweitzer, Chorus Rep
  • Jeana M. Singleton
  • Laura Steffey
  • Andre Thornton Jr.
  • Dr. Ann Usher
  • Noriko Wilson
  • Donna Zabel
  • Robert Zajac

Trustee Emeriti

  • Norman P. Auburn, Ph.D.*
  • Robert S. Crawford*
  • J. Ralph Gillman*
  • Sue J. Gillman
  • Mabel Lamborn Graham*
  • Jane Kaufman*
  • Bruce F. Rothmann, M.D.*
  • Lola M. Rothmann

Trustee of Note

  • Olive Cairns*
  • William & Margaret Denton*
  • Dorothy Gaylord*
  • Ida Grotz*
  • Joseph S. Lichty, M.D.*
  • Gerald S. McFadden
  • Edward J. Metzger
  • Dorothy Seeger*
  • Irene Shadley*
  • Charles K. Sorkin*
  • Mary Louise Stewart*
  • Helen M. Vawter

Board Alumni Counsel

  • Dr. Linda B. Angotti
  • Patricia M. Albrecht Bracey
  • Lisa Chapman-Smith
  • Thomas Clark
  • Robert L. Culp Jr.
  • R. Fred Damerow
  • Richard Dee
  • Jerilynn Ferguson
  • Sandra Fishel
  • Laura Lee Garfinkel
  • Diana Gayer
  • DuWayne Hansen
  • Dr. Sandra Hazra, M.D.
  • Robert L. Hunt Sr.
  • Mary Ann Jackson
  • Mary Beth Kluge
  • Orlene K. Makinson
  • Diana D. Maurer
  • William N. Melver
  • Jo Ann Oelschlager
  • Guy Pipitone
  • Ernest E. Pouttu
  • Terri L. Nass Reeder
  • Charles J. Reitz III
  • George Rosin
  • Dr. Walter Ruf
  • David Scarponi
  • Theresse Wade
  • James E. Zwisler

Foundation Committee

  • Charlie Peter, Chair
  • Kathryn Booth
  • Tom Clark
  • Priscilla Grant
  • Richard Harris
  • John Mogen
  • Guy Pipitone
  • Jacqueline Sampsel

* deceased

Akron Symphony Guild

About the Guild

The Akron Symphony Guild provides organized volunteer support for the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Akron Symphony Chorus and Akron Youth Orchestras.

About the Guild Details

The Akron Symphony Guild was established in 1952 to provide organized volunteer support of the Akron Symphony organization, including the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Chorus and Youth Symphony. More than 100 members participate in varied and exciting events and programs to help ensure that symphonic music remains an important part of the Akron Community.

The Akron Symphony Guild provides support to a number of fundraising and concert events including Crescendo, Concerts For Kids, The Lakes Tour of Portage Lakes homes, the Spring Gala, Previews from the Podium and more. The Guild also hosts quarterly social and networking luncheons that are open to the public. 

For more information about the Akron Symphony Guild, call the Akron Symphony office at 330.535.8131 or email asoconnect@akronsymphony.org and you'll be put in touch with an Akron Symphony Guild member, or click on the "Membership" section for additional details.


Membership in the Akron Symphony Guild is open to any person who is interested in music and who endorses the mission of the Guild.

Membership Details

Joining the Akron Symphony Guild means you are committed to taking a role in encouraging an appreciation of music in our community. It’s an opportunity for you to meet and get to know others that share a love of music and value music education. Whatever your talents or level of interest, the Akron Symphony Guild is your opportunity to be part of a leading Akron area arts organization and make a positive impact in greater Akron.

Guild members have four general meetings a year that are open to the public and include an artistic performance, as well as opportunities to meet new people who share a love of music. Guild members are responsible for attending at least two general meetings annually and directly supporting Akron Symphony concerts and events. Active members are also required to volunteer at least 10 hours per year and serve on at least one committee. Dues are $35 for Active members and $75 for Supporting members.

Membership Privileges

As a member of the Guild you share in the events and programs designed to support the Akron Symphony Orchestra, the Akron Symphony Chorus and the Akron Youth Symphonies. You will participate in varied and exciting programs that help insure the musical enrichment of the community.

In addition, you will receive:

  • Announcements of all Symphony concerts and events
  • Invitations to all events sponsored by the Guild, including general meetings, luncheons and dinners, special events, social activities and fundraisers
  • Voting privileges at Guild general meetings
  • The Guild's e-newsletter.

Active Membership Responsibilities

  • Contribute a minimum of 10 hours of volunteer time during the year
  • Serve on at least one committee
  • Attend at least two general meetings per year.

To join the Akron Symphony Guild, call the Akron Symphony office at 330.535.8131 or email asoconnect@akronsymphony.org. You'll be put in touch with an active member about the different ways you can be a part of our musical community through volunteer support.

Guild Executive Board

2017-18 Guild Executive Board

Guild Executive Board Details

President: Karen Budd
Vice President, Fundraising & Volunteer Support: Pat Nilsestuen
Vice President, Membership: Karen Schreckengost
Recording Secretary: Lois Reaven
Corresponding Secretary: Madeline Bozzelli
Treasurer: Roseanne Henderson
Governance Advisor: Sue Gillman
Past President Advisor: Donna Zabel
Archivist and Historian: Jean Schooley
Vice President, Communications: Wendy Turrell
Lakes Tour Chair: Sandy Becker-Neidert
Meeting Arrangements Chair: Laura Lee Garfinkel

Member Events

Details about upcoming Akron Symphony Guild events.

Member Events Details

Friday, April 6: Combining Jazz and Classical Music: From Gershwin to Modern Day

Cleveland Jazz Orchestra Artistic Director Paul Ferguson will give a brief history of endeavors to meld these two distinctive genres of music at the Symphony Guild’s spring luncheon meeting. Later that month, Mr. Ferguson will lead the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra in a performance with the Akron Symphony Orchestra on April 14 at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall.

The public is invited to join Guild members at Papa Joe’s Restaurant, 1571 Akron Peninsula Road, 44313, for Mr. Ferguson’s entertaining program. The event starts at 11:30 a.m. A buffet lunch of Lucca chicken, pasta with marinara sauce, green beans, salad and dessert will be served. Reservations are $25 each and are required by Monday, April 2, by calling Roseanne Henderson at 330.673.1531.

Friday, April 13: Open Rehearsal with the Akron Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra

The Akron Symphony Guild will host an informal occasion to watch two great orchestras prepare in rehearsal the evening before their joint performance on Saturday, April 14. The open rehearsal begins with complimentary appetizers and a cash bar at 6 p.m., followed by the fascinating opportunity to see how two different musical styles are combined into one seamless musical concert.

The open rehearsal event is free, but reservations are needed. RSVP to the Symphony Office at 330.535.8131 by Monday, April 9.

Concerts for Kids

This series of concerts for preschool children is held in venues throughout the city over a week in early May. Guild members serve as ushers for each program, assist the children with craft projects and provide
refreshments for Orchestra members and volunteers.

Spring Gala

The John S. Knight Center is the place to be on Saturday, April 21, 2018, for the Symphony’s annual Spring Gala.

Lakes Tour

The 21st Boat Tour of Homes on the Portage Lakes, the Guild’s largest and most successful fundraiser of the year, will be on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

Plans are in the works for other get-togethers, parties and special events and programs that will happen throughout the year. The Guild’s e-newsletter will have complete information as it becomes available.

Education & Engagement

Community Outreach

Programs designed to engage our community

Community Outreach Details

PERFORMANCE ENSEMBLES: A variety of small ensembles are available for performance at community events. Download the ensemble request form below to learn more about how music by Akron Symphony Orchestra musicians can enhance your event.

HEALING ARTS: The Akron Symphony partners with healthcare providers and musicians to nurture and utilize the healing power of music in healthcare settings. Healthcare providers are invited to sponsor choral and instrumental ensembles to perform within their facilities and as part of their programs.

ADULT EDUCATION FOR COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS: Music Director Christopher Wilkins and musicians from the Akron Symphony are available to provide entertaining and informative dialogs on a variety of topics.

For more information, contact Fran Goldman, Director of Artistic Operations, at 330-535-8131.

In-School Ensembles

Sponsor one of our hands-on music programs for your school

In-School Ensembles Details

Your PTA/PTO may be interested in sponsoring a program at your school. In-School Ensemble Programs offer elementary students an up-close-and-personal concert experience through programs that includes an introduction to the instruments with a lively hands-on discussion and enjoyable, recognizable pieces that demonstrate important musical concepts. Our programs are designed to address the Ohio Department of Education Music Standards. For a list of available programs and pricing options contact Fran Goldman, Director of Artistic Operations, at 330-535-8131.


Classes and programs designed to help improve your musical skills.

Workshops Details

INSTRUMENTAL & VOCAL WORKSHOPS designed to enhance the skills of music students are available. Our professional musicians and conductors are available to work with students in your school.

CHORUS PROGRAMS: Members of the Akron Symphony Chorus and Gospel Meets Symphony Chorus are available for outreach and educational programs.

For more information about available workshops, contact Fran Goldman or Brenda Justice at 330-535-8131.

Concert Programs

Specials and events focused around the Akron Symphony Orchestra

Concert Programs Details

PREVIEWS FROM THE PODIUM: One hour prior to each of the Akron Symphony’s Classic Series Concerts, Maestro Christopher Wilkins will provide insights about the music and composers featured on the evening’s program. He is often joined by other performers, soloists or composers for this relaxed yet informative talk.

OPEN REHEARSALS: Select concert rehearsals are open for students and community members to attend as part of a school or community outreach program. Check our Concerts page for details.

CONCERTS FOR KIDS is designed for children ages 2-6 years old. Programs are attended by area preschools, childcare centers and families with young children. The concepts, listening and interactions fostered through these performances strengthen a wide range of learning and developmental experiences for children. Programs address the child development and early learning framework including creative arts expression, initiative and curiosity, attentiveness, receptive language, literacy knowledge through storytelling and the portrayal of events, characters and stories through acting.

In May 2017, Eric Benjamin will lead the orchestra in a 45-minute program that features the full orchestra in various venues throughout Summit County. Pre-concert educational and teacher resource materials may be downloaded here.

LINK UP – THE ORCHESTRA ROCKS – March 21, 2017, 9:45 and 11:15 AM at the Akron Civic Theatre
One universal element of music is rhythm. Composers and musicians play with elements of musical time, creating patterns of sound and silence that are expressive and exciting. A consistent groove can unite musicians, singers, and audiences in an experience of listening and performing together. Through the Link Up repertoire, hands-on activities, and a culminating interactive performance with a professional orchestra, we will discover how the orchestra rocks.

Repertoire includes Orff’s O Fortuna from Carmina burana, Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4, Holst “Mars” from The Planets and Stravinsky’s “Dance of the Adolescents” from The Rite of Spring.

Approximately 3,000 students from public, private, charter and parochial schools from throughout Summit County participate in the Akron Symphony’s Link Up program each year. Link Up is a highly participatory program that invites students to learn about orchestral repertoire through a yearlong, hands-on music curriculum. Utilizing materials provided free-of-charge by Carnegie Hall, teachers guide students in exploring music through a composer’s lens, with students participating in active music making in the classroom; performing repertoire on recorder, violin, voice, or body percussion; and taking part in creative work, such as composing their own pieces inspired by the orchestral music they have studied. The collaboration culminates with the two performances at the Akron Civic Theatre, providing students the opportunity to sing and play the recorder along with the full Akron Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Assistant Conductor Jacob Sustaita. The performances are free and open to the public subject to seating availability.

Teachers from participating schools are welcome to participate in the Link Up 2016-17 Season Planning Webinar at 5 PM on July 27, 2016. Contact Orzella Matherson or Fran Goldman at 330-535-8131 for more details. Participating teachers should plan to attend the Link Up, The Orchestra Rocks Professional Development Workshops scheduled for September 29, 2016 and January 25, 2017.

The Akron Symphony is one of more than 90 national and international organizations selected to participate in the Link Up program in partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI). Link Up’s national partnerships grew out of the program’s ongoing work with New York City schools, through which Carnegie Hall has engaged hundreds of thousands of students in musical learning since its inception in 1985. For more information about the Link Up program and Carnegie Hall, visit www.carnegiehall.org/linkup.

Need a Speaker?

Our artistic and professional leadership is eager to talk to your group about a variety of music-related topics.

Need a Speaker? Details

Members of the Akron Symphony / Greater Akron Musical Association executive and artistic staff, Board of Trustees, orchestra and chorus are available to talk about Akron Symphony programs, music, the lives of professional musicians, careers in music, and their own leadership roles within the orchestra and the community. Our representatives are available to visit:

  • Schools and classes
  • Arts organizations and advocacy groups
  • Community music programs
  • Civic engagement organizations
  • Corporations and small businesses
  • Leadership groups
  • Membership organizations
  • Foundations
  • Boards of Directors/Trustees
  • Economic development groups
  • Government entities
  • Media
  • Anyone else interested in what we offer

If you would like to have us speak with your community group, organization or class, please contact Executive Director Paul Jarrett or Education and Community Engagement Coordinator Orzella Matherson at 330-535-8131.