About The Orchestra Society of Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s reading community orchestra since 1964


“On a given night, its membership can include Philadelphia Orchestra members, freelance players, conservatory students, retired pros, and amateurs determined to hone their skills to match the professionals who surround them. No one is paid. Conductors who want to try out music they will be conducting elsewhere sign up to work with the Orchestra Society.” – Philadelphia Inquirer


Morris Goldman (1919-2012), Sidney Rothstein (1936-2017), co-founders



President Emeritus Ernest Meyer
Acting President Karl Krelove
Vice President Kevin Lawrence
Treasurer Pete Heinemann
Principal Conductor Jack Moore

The Orchestra Society of Philadelphia (OSP) is an all-volunteer “reading” community orchestra that has a unique place in the musical life of Philadelphia.  Our definition of a reading orchestra is that while the musician often practice their parts in advance, the rehearsal is “one-and-done,” meaning we work through transitions and difficult sections during the first half, and run it during the second, and then start all over with new music at the next rehearsal.  It is not uncomming here for musicians practice their sight-reading skills by playing through new scores without prior rehearsal. Our goal is to create a setting where musicians, both amateur and professional, can play challenging orchestral works in a serious yet low stress environment, providing an opportunity to maintain and hone valuable orchestral performing skills.

Winds section of Orchestra Society of Philadelphia
Winds section of Orchestra Society of Philadelphia

Listen to Susan Lewis of WRTI talk about The Orchestra Society of Philadelphia’s 50th anniversary in 2014 in her piece, Who Needs an Audience? Not the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia.


Cast, condcutor and musicians of Orchestra Society of Philadelphia during Bizet Carmen rehearsal.
Cast, condcutor and musicians of Orchestra Society of Philadelphia during Bizet Carmen rehearsal.

Community and Accessibility: One of the primary missions of the OSP has been to make orchestral music accessible to a broader audience and to provide an opportunity for musicians of varying levels to play together.
Repertoire: The OSP is known for covering a wide range of repertoire, which includes standard orchestral and opera works as well as less commonly performed and new pieces, providing a vast and diverse musical experience.
Educational Role: The orchestra also plays an educational role, providing a platform for amateur musicians to improve their orchestral skills under the guidance of experienced conductors and players.

The OSP holds regular rehearsals every Friday evening at 7:30pm, often featuring guest soloists. It provides a valuable cultural service to the Philadelphia music community, highlighting its success in building and maintaining a musical community that bridges the gap between professional and amateur musicians.



The Orchestra Society of Philadelphia was founded in 1964 by Morris Goldman and Sidney Rothstein with the vision of providing an opportunity for experienced musicians to enjoy the wide variety of orchestral music available. More than fifty years later the Orchestra Society maintains a loyal following and has garnered the respect of musicians in the Philadelphia area and beyond. Check our archives for more information about past programs, conductors and performers.

Listen to A Musical Life podcast episode about OSP by classical pianist Hugh Sung.

What brings us all together is a love of playing symphonic orchestral music.

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