Symphony magazine article

The July-August 1996 issue of Symphony, a magazine distributed to members of the American Symphony Orchestra League, featured a story about corporate orchestras titled "Workplace Harmony" (pp. 99-100). One of the authors, Sara Austins interviewed Herb Gellis and George Yefchak from the HPSO, as well as representatives from the Toshiba Philharmonic, the Microsoft Symphony Orchestra, and the 3M orchestra.

A few brief excerpts...

Since 1989, the [100-member Toshiba Philharmonic Orchestra] has built a solid reputation in music-rich Tokyo, performing under the baton of professional conductor Yoshinori Kawachi. This spring, its members paid their way to the U.S., performing at Toshiba campuses in Irvine and Nashville and ending their trip with a concert of Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Dvorak at Camegie Hall...

Only in Japan, you sigh... But not so fast. Cursory research by Symphony turned up a handful of American counterparts to [Toshiba]... At Hewlett-Packard's San Jose campus, a software engineer and amateur violinist named Herb Gellis received more than 40 responses when he put out the call for musicians to perform at an arts fair he organized. "I accidentally ended up creating a symphony orchestra," Gellis laughs."

...The Mayo Clinic and 3M Symphony Orchestras receive annual grants from a company activity fund--and 3M's includes funding for an annual Christmas concert that has cost as much as $30,000.

...Still, most corporate orchestras aren't aiming for Carnegie Hall just yet. Just as an office throws different personalities together, corporate orchestras bring together musicians with a "ridiculous range of experience," says George Yefchak, principal conductor of the Hewlett-Packard Symphony Orchestra...