The Paducah Symphony Orchestra (PSO), founded in 1979 and based in Paducah, Ky., exists to bring the rewards of great music to a growing and diverse regional audience. The PSO, the orchestra-in-residence at the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center, encompasses a wide range of ensembles, including the professional orchestra, Paducah POPS, auditioned 65-member symphony chorus, multi-county 60-member children’s chorus and Ensembles in the Schools, a music education program. Mr. Raffaele Ponti is the artistic director and conductor. Dr. Brad Almquist is the director of choruses. The PSO celebrates its 34th Anniversary during the 2012-2013 season.
Orchestra members, all professionals compensated on a per service basis, are drawn from 27 communities in Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Tennessee. The PSO has performed several times for the Paducah Summer Festival, attracting audiences of 10,000 – 12,000 people. The PSO had the distinction of backing up the Moody Blues in a concert at Cape Girardeau in 1994 and Amy Grant at the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center in 2007. The Paducah Pops has performed at Kentucky Dam Village State Park, Fohs Hall in Marion, Hopkinsville, Marshall County High School, Winchester, Murray, Southeast Missouri State University and Southeast Illinois Community College.