History of the Laredo Phil
In 1980 a group of community leaders passionate about music, and desiring to improve the quality of life for the community, leading to an increase in business location and tourism, incorporated the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Throughout the 36 years that the orchestra has been in existence the orchestra has performed concerts, provided educational opportunities for young musicians in the community, improved the quality of life for the city, and provided the City of Laredo with promotional and cultural opportunities for the local citizens and tourists.
The musicians of the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra are fully professional musicians within the city of Laredo – including music educators from LISD & UISD, TAMIU, LCC and independent musicians. Because of the shortage of professional string players in the City of Laredo, traditionally the LPO has brought in 20-30 musicians from out of town to Laredo to fill out the roster. These musicians come from the Valley, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin and Houston.
For a period – approximately 1984 – 1988 – the orchestra sponsored a youth orchestra, which was later cut. Since 2003 the orchestra has sponsored youth education concerts (Rising Stars), has used the Public Access Channel to educate the community about orchestral music. The Laredo Philrestored the Laredo Philharmonic Youth Orchestra through a grant from the D.D. Hachar Charitable Trust Fund and with the support of LISD in Fall 2010 providing weekly rehearsals for 50 young musicians in grades 7 – 10 from both LISD and UISD.
In 2003 the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra entered into a collaborative agreement with Laredo Community College and Texas A&M International University. Through this agreement the two educational institutions provide administrative support to the orchestra and fund the Music Director position, who also serves as a faculty member at TAMIU. The orchestra is a member of the League of American Orchestras – the governing body for all professional orchestras in the United States – and in 2007 and 2014 the LAO awarded the Laredo Phil the ASCAP Award for Innovative Programming. The orchestra is recognized as one of the leading proponents of modern music – especially concertos written in the past 20 years, and has attracted the attention of internationally recognized soloists who come to Laredo to play with the orchestra. Recent examples included Wesley Baldwin – cellist, from Tennessee – Classical Mystery Tour – Beatles look-alike band from California, and Pip Clarke (violin, California). In coming years the orchestra will include performances by, Paul Jacobs (New York) and Jolyon Pegis (Dallas), Joachim Reinhuber (Germany, piano) who will all do masterclasses for Laredo students in addition to the performances with the Laredo Phil.
Each year the Laredo Phil – in support of its’ mission – works with area hoteliers to secure accommodation for its’ musicians who travel to Laredo to perform with the orchestra. Approximately 25-30 hotel rooms are need for two or three nights in support of each concert.