Our Story

Founded in 1931, The Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest is one of the nation’s oldest community orchestras. The Illinois Council of Orchestras recognized its continued excellence in recent years, achieving in 2011 and 2018 the Community Orchestra of the Year Award in addition to naming Music Director Jay Friedman its Conductor of the Year.

Read the entire History of the Orchestra here [pdf].


The mission of the Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest is three-fold:

  • To provide the opportunity for orchestral and vocal musicians to perform symphonic works together at the highest possible level of artistry;
  • To provide the opportunity for all of the members of our diverse local community to experience symphonic music in live performances of high quality; and
  • To foster the appreciation, understanding, and enjoyment of symphonic music by present and future generations.