Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra


Our Mission

The ACSO is dedicated to connecting and engaging the greater Atlanta community through music. Comprised of local musicians of all ages and backgrounds, the ACSO offers free concerts to the public. By performing multiple symphonic and chamber ensemble concerts at various venues, the ACSO not only provides access to free music for the metro Atlanta community but also fosters connections among community members through the universal language of music. Additionally, the ACSO offers talented young artists the unique opportunity to perform with a symphony orchestra through its annual Ruth Kern Young Artists’ Concerto Competition. The future of the ACSO is one of continued outreach and accessibility.

Click here to learn more about how you can support the orchestra.

We want to hear from you!

Take our short programming survey on the types of music that are of interest to you. This will will help us to create the best concert experience for you. We appreciate your feedback!

Thank you! Your friends at the ACSO.

Our History

The Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra (ACSO) was conceived in the summer of 1957 under the auspices of the Atlanta Music Club (AMC). At that time, there were very limited orchestral opportunities for serious instrumentalists in Atlanta. Mrs. Charles Chalmers, AMC President (1956-1960), worked with AMC members Mrs. Ruth Dabney Allen and Ms. Ruth Kern, a local music educator and violist, to establish a community orchestra to further the progress of talented amateur musicians in the Atlanta area.
Ms. Kern emphasized that it was the responsibility of the teachers of the city to see that serious music students and adult musicians had an opportunity to rehearse and perform symphonic music.


In the fall of 1957, at the invitation of the AMC, an ensemble of seventeen players convened at the home of Mrs. Andrew Fairlie to explore the possibilities for a new community-based orchestra to perform symphonic literature. The Atlanta Community Orchestra (now the ACSO) was officially founded in 1958. The ACSO’s first free public concert was performed on May 12, 1958, under the baton of Maestro Harry Kruger.
More than half a century later, the ACSO continues to provide symphonic orchestral training and performance opportunities for serious Atlanta-area musicians and quality, free symphonic performances for audiences around metro-Atlanta and the State of Georgia. For more than forty years, the ACSO has held an annual Young Artists’ Concerto Competition (YACC), giving dedicated music students the opportunity to perform solo works with the orchestra. The Ruth Kern YACC is named in honor of Ms. Kern, founding ACSO member, for her dedication to both music education and the orchestra.

Today, the ACSO provides the citizens of metro Atlanta and other Georgia cities with multiple concerts each year at no admission charge.