Symphony of the Mountains was formed in 1946 as the Kingsport Civic Symphony. Twenty-seven musicians attended the first rehearsal and the number grew rapidly to more than forty. The first concert was free to the public and neither the conductor nor any of the musicians were paid.
Today Symphony of the Mountains serves the entire Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia region as well as our own Blowing Rock, NC. It is a fully-professional orchestra of more than 65 musicians, drawn from the Tennessee region as well as symphony orchestras in Asheville, Roanoke, and beyond.
Cornelia Laemmli Orth is in her tenth season as conductor of the Symphony of the Mountains. Born and raised in Switzerland, she received master’s degrees in piano, music education and choral conducting from universities and conservatories in Zurich and Winterthur. She also holds a master’s degree in orchestra conducting from Northwestern University.
She also has conducted the North Shore Chamber Orchestra, the Northwestern University Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, appeared as guest conductor with the Northwestern Philharmonia and served as assistant conductor of Northwestern University’s Opera Company.
She served as associate conductor and later principal guest conductor of the Knoxville Symphony (2002-08) and music director/conductor of the Oak Ridge Symphony (2005-2010). She also frequently appears as a guest conductor at Appalachian State University.
In celebration of Cornelia’s tenth year as conductor of Symphony of the Mountains, the orchestra traveled to Switzerland to do concerts in conjunction with nationally known artists and Swiss natives, The Kruger Brothers.