About the SSO

The Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra, a non-profit community orchestra, serves the Harford County community and provides opportunities for local musicians to perform challenging classical repertoire. It was founded in 1978 by Sheldon Bair as the Harford Community Orchestra. In 1982, the name was changed to the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra. It is composed of 75 all-volunteer amateur and professional musicians that come from all walks of life and professional endeavors. In fact, over 700 county residents have played with the SSO since it began. The SSO presents a four-concert subscription season in addition to one or two “pop” al fresco or benefit events.

The Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra specializes in new and unusual repertoire, often featuring unjustly neglected works. In fact, the SSO has developed a reputation for performing such music. Examples are multi-cultural music by composers such as William Grant Still, David Amram, Benny Russell, and James Lee III. Our audiences enjoy the variety of offerings, and the music director explains the music to be performed from the stage. Composers often attend and provide pre-concert lectures.

The SSO is currently in Its 47th season. As Maestro Bair looks to the future of the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra, he plans to continue to welcome promising young conducting students to the podium.


  • December 2021 Maestro Bair expanded his compositional repertoire by arranging three traditional Christmas pieces for Steel Pans, Strings and Percussion
  • Side-by-side concerts, held In May, began with Harford County student members of the All-County Orchestra and the Harford Youth Orchestra
  • Carmina Burana with the Deer Creek Chorale, Harford Choral Society, Towson University Choral Society, Towson High School Chamber Choir, The Frederick Children’s Chorus, All Children’s Chorus of Annapolis (2014)
  • Carnegie Hall (2009)
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral (2007)
  • Bach St. John Passion with the Penn State Concert Choir
  • David Finko’s viola and double bass concerto with members of Cleveland Symphony Orchestra
  • All-Eastern MENC Convention in Baltimore
  • MMEA convention (1998 and 1999)

World Premiers

  • Sheldon Bair – ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas (2021)
  • David Osbon – Dearly Ransomed Soul (2019)
  • James Lee III – Yoshiyahu (2018)
  • Jonathan Graybill – A Winter Celebration (2018)
  • Sheldon Bair – This We’ll Defend (2018)
  • Kile Smith – Susquehanna, An Overture for Orchestra (2017)
  • Jesse Ayers – Fire of the Living God (2011)
  • Stacey Zyriek – I Choose the Mountain (2010)
  • Henry Cowell – Vox Humana

American Premiers

  • Malcom Arnold – Symphonies No’s 1 and 9

Guest performers

  • Kinga Augustyn, violin
  • Leah Crowne, Opera Susquehanna
  • Christopher Dillon, piano
  • Emmanuel Borowsky, viola
  • Francis Borowsky, cello
  • Cecylia Barczyk, cello
  • Elizabeth Borowsky, piano
  • Kara Iwanowski, piano
  • Larry Noto, narrator
  • Carolyn Black-Sotir, soprano
  • Stacey Mastrian, soprano
  • Eric Zuber, piano
  • Victor Khodyko, viola
  • Joel Weszka, clarinet
  • Linda Leanza, violin
  • Yuja Wang, piano
  • Richard Cassilly, tenor
  • Edinburgh String Quartet
  • Barry Tuckwell, French Horn
  •  Alexander Skwortsow, violin

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