The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra is the first community-wide orchestra of adults and student instrumentalists in Bakersfield, California. Located on 34th Street, it was formerly known as the “Kern Philharmonic Society.”
The music group was first organized and conducted by Harold Burt of the Kern Union High School District in the 1920s. It rehearsed once a week as a night class in the school.
The Kern Philharmonic Society was founded in 1946, as the sponsor of the Kern Philharmonic Orchestra, Chorus, and Junior Symphony. The society played its first concert at East Bakersfield High School, and then moved to Harvey Auditorium at Bakersfield High School.
During the period 1974-1975, the Society moved its location once again, this time to Civic Auditorium, and the group's name was changed to “Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra,” in 1982.
Today, the Bbakersfield Symphony Orchestra organizes many regular and outreach concerts including six subscription concerts, a chamber music series, a young people's concert series, and educational programs - the Academic Decathlon.
In addition, the group conducts the Nutcracker Ballet annually in collaboration with the Civic Dance Center.
Three affiliated organizations are also part of the symphony family, with their own concert seasons.
These organizations include the Bakersfield Masterworks Chorale, the Bakersfield Youth Symphony, and Bakersfield Municipal Band.