The History of the
Portland Symphony Orchestra
is Coming Alive Again!

Serving the City of Portland, the State of Maine, and northern New England, the Portland Symphony Orchestra is the largest performing arts organization in Maine. With critically acclaimed performances and broad community engagement, the PSO is widely regarded as one of the top symphony orchestras of its size in the country.

Starting in the fall of 2011 and on through 2014 a substantial effort has been underway to create a comprehensive history of the Portland Symphony Orchestra.

This website records aspects of the PSO's Historical Record, and, under the auspices of researcher-volunteer Henry A. Schmitt (who is solely responsible for its content), is a companion site linked to the Orchestra's long-established website This PSO History site contains:

  1. An exhaustive text history of the PSO and its direct predecessor-ensembles, including many "fun" happenings described in an Anecdote Section accompanying the text
  2. A chronological listing of more than 2000 concert performances -- including: date, type of concert, name of conductor, performance venue, and at least one detail about each concert (i.e., major work performed and/or name of soloist)
  3. PDF scans of respective covers of all available concert programs, also scans of respective program pages listing works performed and names of PSO musicians
  4. JPG scans of annual pre-season promotional brochures (starting with the mailer for the 1938-1939 season; but also including the mailer sent out in 1929!), and
  5. JPG scans of historical pictures involving the PSO.



The Symphony is fortunate to have retained programs from a majority of concerts. However, thorough research of the PSO Archives revealed that many old PSO programs are either missing, or may not all have been set aside and saved during the nine decades that the PSO and its forerunner organizations have existed. Fortunately, a number of longtime PSO musicians have stepped forward and contributed several hundred long-saved programs to the Archives, with some subscribers also having donated old programs. These finds filled substantial gaps, so that the PSO's Permanent Program Collection is now almost 75 percent complete.

You can help!

To be close to 100%, the PSO Archives needs donations of concert programs for more than 500 additional concerts performed since its 1924 inception. Please consider helping this PSO History effort--  think about envelopes or boxes containing programs that you or your family may have saved; check for PSO programs long-hidden away in drawers, closets, your attic, garage or barn.

ALL donated programs will be preserved within the PSO Archives

If you can help or have questions or comments, please contact us at: [email protected].

(updated December, 2015)