The Asheville Symphony was born of a passion, formed in 1960 by a group of volunteer musicians — its early concertos filling the halls of local churches and school auditoriums. At that time, and for several years after, the Symphony had no manager and no resident conductor — only a handful of passionate performers that wished to share the classics (and their talents) with the community.

Over the next ten years, the Symphony grew both in size and popularity, adding a part-time resident manager and conductor, forming the choral and youth ensembles, creating the Symphony Guild, developing a regular season with subscription sales and introducing paid guest artists to the mix. It was during this decade that the Symphony found its home, on stage at the 2,354-seat Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, where it still performs to this day.

In the late 1970s, the Symphony picked up even more steam, paying all of its musicians for the first time, hiring its first full-time manager and, in 1980, its first full-time resident conductor, Robert Hart Baker, whose 24-year tenure dramatically increased the orchestra’s size, quality and exposure in the community. When Dr. Baker announced his retirement, the Symphony launched a search and audition process that, after two years, found a match in Daniel Meyer, who was hired as the organization’s music director in 2004. Highlights of his tenure include launching the hugely popular Asheville Amadeus festival, releasing two recordings — Asheville Symphony Sessions and Mozartistic — and bringing in international stars Emanuel Ax and Midori for performances with the symphony.

Twelve successful years later, in 2016, the process began again, as Meyer prepared to conclude his tenure with the Symphony. After launching a search that garnered nearly 400 applications and programming a season of competitive auditions, the Asheville Symphony selected Darko Butorac to lead the orchestra. Butorac conducted his first Masterworks concert as the Symphony’s new music director in September 2018.

Asheville’s arts-focused community — home to generations of writers, musicians and artists — has sustained the Asheville Symphony for nearly 60 years, embracing the orchestra’s endless creativity, artistic expression and collaborative explorations.


The Asheville Symphony Orchestra performs and promotes symphonic music for the benefit, enjoyment and education of the people of Western North Carolina.


  • Year founded: 1960

  • Budget size: $2 million

  • Orchestra size: 70 contract musicians

  • Masterworks Series concerts per year: 7

  • Related programs: Asheville Symphony Chorus, Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra, Asheville MusicWorks, Asheville Symphonettes, Symphony Talk, Music in the Schools

  • Signature beers:

    The Righteous and Barbaric Souls Imperial Stout brewed by Burial Beer Co. (Asheville Amadeus 2019)
    Wolfgang 1756 Vienna Lager brewed by Highland Brewing (Asheville Amadeus 2015; 2017)



Daniel Crupi
Executive Director

Jessica May
Director of Development

Madeline Womack
Development Manager

Sally J. Keeney
Orchestra Manager

Cynthia M. Roop
ASYO General Manager

Sherry Blakely

Hannah Williams
Patron Services & Office Manager

Mary Ellen Dendy
Marketing Strategy Consultant

Claire M. Allen
Marketing Manager & Creative Director

Michael Di Trolio
Principal Librarian

Paul Stroebel
Stage Manager




Michael Andry, President
Sue Luther, President Elect
Bolling Farmer, Past President
John W. Ellis, Secretary
G. Edward Towson, II, Treasurer
George Dambach, Artistic Affairs Chair
Irene Stoll, Nominating & Governance Chair
Bill Gettys, Finance Chair
Olivia Zahler, Development Chair
Mary Kirby, Human Resources Chair


Jack Anderson
Michael Andry
Mr. Thomas C. Bolton
Mrs. Sallie Broach
Dr. Nancy J. Cable
Dr. John Cuellar
George Dambach
John Donahoe
John W. Ellis
Lynne Eramo
Dr. Bolling Farmer
Adarrell Gadsden
Bill Gettys
Fred Groce
Stan Ingber
Mary Kirby
Gerald Kitch
Pam Lowe-Hoyte
Sue Luther
Elizabeth McCorvey
Carol McCollum
Patrick O’Cain
Jeffrey Owen
Irene Stoll
James S. Thompson
Sandra Tompkins
Ed Towson
Sarah Van Gunten
Olivia Zahler 

George M. Bilbrey, Jr. M.D.*
J.K. MacKendree Day
Joyce R. Dorr, Ph.D.
George F. Goosmann, III
Karl S. Quisenberry, Ph.D.*
John J. Sherman, Jr.
W. Herbert Smith, Jr.

The Asheville Symphony is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation registered in the State of North Carolina.