Erie Philharmonic

Erie Philharmonic top

Your support today helps the Erie Philharmonic bring life-changing musical experiences to thousands of children and families in need from across the region, whether it be through free performances, piano donations, pre-school residencies, instrumental petting zoos, free educational concerts or groundbreaking virtual reality experiences.  Your donation makes an immediate and powerful impact.

Organization description

The Erie Philharmonic is one of the oldest professional ensembles in the country, established in 1913, and is consistently recognized on a national level as one of the top orchestras in its budget size.  With a season that features five symphonic concerts, eight pops concerts, numerous summer programs, in-school outreach programs, four free Youth Concerts and more, the orchestra reaches upwards of 40,000 people across the region annually.

The mission of the orchestra is to strengthen our community and region by providing high quality live orchestra concerts and programs that enrich, entertain and educate people of all ages.  Starting in the 2015-16 season, following an entire staff turnover, the orchestra made a conscious decision to focus all activities on these three central tenants. Over the subsequent four seasons, this focused, mission-driven approach has led the orchestra to become an unrivaled presence in the community, presenting life-changing musical experiences for audiences of all ages, including: 

  • Pianos donated to more than 40 individuals in need
  • Three 60-day long-term residencies for local underserved preschools, supported by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts
  • Free Youth Concerts presented for thousands of students accompanied by a detailed, standards-driven curriculum
  • Instrumental petting zoos and in-school presentations from Grammy-winning artists 

Additionally, the orchestra has recently completed a groundbreaking virtual reality orchestra project and has been recognized on a national level by Good Morning America, the Huffington Post, Forbes and NEA Arts.

Erie Philharmonic 1
Erie Philharmonic 2
Erie Philharmonic 3


How will donations be applied?

Donations received from the United Arts Fund will go to help support our educational outreach programming, including:

  • Continuation and expansion of our groundbreaking portable Virtual Orchestra experience in which participants virtually sit on stage during a Philharmonic concert (see included pictures in outreach packet)
    • Expansion of the experience to include 20 wireless headsets as well as updated hardware
    • Creation of the first-ever Guitar Hero-type conductor videogame in which students can learn how to conduct while in a virtual reality environment
  • In-school outreach visits from two Grammy-winning artists
    • Edgar Meyer, bass soloist – November 16, 2019
    • Mark Steven Doss, baritone soloist – April 4, 2020
  • Continuation of our piano donation program in which we donate pianos to families who are not able to afford instruments otherwise
    • The Philharmonic covers all costs associated with moving and tuning these pianos
  • Expansion of our nationally recognized Youth Concerts to nearly 8,000 students
    • We have expanded this program to now include four concerts due to increased demand from schools and teachers
    • Concert is free for students
    • Erie Philharmonic pays all transportation costs for Erie’s Public Schools
    • New collaboration with Carnegie Hall’s Link Up program, including detailed lesson plans, Common Core and National Arts standards, etc.
  • Continuation of free runout concert for the Meadville community at Allegheny College on April 5, 2020, including a full performance of Beethoven’s powerful Symphony No. 9
  • Continuation of our Bruce Morton Wright Chamber series, a collection of free concerts and recitals in performance venues that the full orchestra would not be able to visit, i.e. churches, libraries, etc.