Rogue Valley Symphony

Our Story

The Rogue Valley Symphony has had the pleasure of performing in Southern Oregon since 1967, when we had one venue in the Medford Mid-High School auditorium and 55 players. Now with more than 70 players and three venues in Ashland, Medford, and Grants Pass, the Rogue Valley Symphony continues its mission to bring a live orchestra experience to where YOU are.

To inspire our audiences and enrich our communities through the live performance of orchestral music. 

To offer access to world class musical experiences and learning opportunities for all.

Excellence: We strive to achieve the highest quality in all we do.
Creativity: We nurture creativity by encouraging innovation.
Collegiality: We promote an ethical, diverse and inclusive work space with open communication and respectful relationships.
Education: We support learning at all stages of life.
Organizational Sustainability: As respectful stewards of the assets in our care, we make knowledgeable, responsible decisions mindful of the future of the organization.


RVS was founded in 1967 by Frederick Palmer, an assistant professor of music at Southern Oregon College. Dr. Palmer had been locating, recruiting and organizing musicians in the Rogue Valley for around two years prior to the first concert which occurred on November 16,1967 at Medford’s Mid-High School auditorium.  The orchestra began with some 55 players and an initial budget for the first year of $4500.  The RVS has been beloved ever since.

For the first few years, the orchestra played four concerts each season, with two performances of each concert rotating among Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass venues.  In approximately 2004, under the baton of Arthur Shaw, the orchestra started offering five concert series consisting of three performances in the three communities.  Maestro Shaw also began offering holiday candlelight performances in local churches and RVS’ first educational programs: a free Saturday morning Discovery Concert featuring a “petting zoo” of instruments, and the Chamber Players program where five professional musicians traveled to local elementary schools in Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Siskiyou Counties. 

Dr. Martin Majkut was hired in 2010.  During his tenure the RVS has more than doubled its annual budget, expanded to six Masterworks series in Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass, initiated the Link-Up education program to bring music education to three grades of children in the Phoenix-Talent school district, and begun the Classical Coaches program which offers professional coaching at the middle and high school levels to augment music education in local public schools. Musical Mentors was added in 2019 to meet the growing need of providing private lessons to students in the region at no charge.  RVS also offers a free student voucher program called Connecting with the Classics, allowing students and accompanying adults to attend performances in Grants Pass and Medford free of cost. In the last several years RVS has been recognized nationally for its innovative programming and commissioning of new artistic works and most recently honored by Ovation TV for resilience during the pandemic and Almeda Fire.