The Great Falls Symphony was founded in 1959 by six musicians including Mary Agnes Roberts, Ernst Eichwald, Wayne Doolen, Paul Shull, William Spahr and conductor Glen Welshon. One year later the Symphonic Choir was formed under the leadership of Mary Moore. The Symphony performed its first concert in 1960 for an audience of family and friends, and has since grown into an organization presenting multiple concert series reaching over 36,000 people annually.
Since the inaugural performance, the GFSA has grown into an organization that traditionally presents a seven concert symphony series, a chamber music series, and a Broadway In Great Falls series. Complimenting these concerts are the GFSA’s full-time resident chamber ensembles, the Cascade String Quartet and the Chinook Winds Quintet; a Youth Orchestra Program including two orchestral ensembles serving northcentral Montana students ages 11 to 19; and an active Education & Outreach Program serving Montana rural and urban communities.
In 2003- 2004, the Great Falls Symphony Association celebrated resident ensemble, the Cascade String Quartet’s 25thAnniversary and brought cellist Yo-Yo Ma to perform with the orchestra. Following this, in a continuing commitment to bringing world-class artists to Montana, the GFSA established its World Artist Series presenting such internationally known artists as violinists Itzhak Perlman, Midori, and Joshua Bell, flutist Sir James Galway, guitarist Christopher Parkening and acclaimed percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie.