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 embarks on our 54th season this September with hope, excitement, and a longing for a return to the concert hall.
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.
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.
Led by our intrepid conductor, Martin Majkut, the Rogue Valley Symphony is sailing through our 54th season with hope, excitement, and more appreciation than ever for the support of the best audience in the west.
Martin has served as Music Director of the Rogue Valley Symphony in Ashland, Oregon since 2010. The RVS has experienced a remarkable growth under his leadership and is enjoying an unprecedented level of support and enthusiasm in the community.
Letters from the Maestro
Dear Friends in Music,
With hope in our hearts and minds, your friends here at RVS are gearing up for the potential return of live music in our 2021-2022 season. One of our planned performances during next season dives into the Romantic era’s most famous musical relationship: “The Love Triangle” between Clara Schumann, her husband Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms. The story of their relationship is one of inspiration and joy, one that we very much look forward to sharing with you.
RVS enjoys a love triangle of our own: the composers, whose music we curate and create anew; our musicians, whose tireless work brings the music to life; and our audience, whose energy gives all of the music a deeper meaning. We have the wealth of symphonic music and we have our accomplished musicians, but we are incomplete without you, our wonderful audience. What does music say when it is not shared?
We are fortunate to live in an era where we can share our music making digitally, but the most enchanting musical vistas unfold in our imagination when the music is played live. We wish to create with someone, but also for someone. Seeing and feeling your reactions unfiltered in real time is what completes our love triangle.
As The New Yorker’s art critic Peter Schjeldahl recently wrote: art is “a holiday of the spirit on the crowded calendar of life lived.” We cannot wait to start taking these holidays with you again.
Stay healthy and start getting your ears ready!