Maud Winthrop Gibbon and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra


Orchestra | Image via Pexels

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Today we are throwing it back to the 1920s — a time where women were voting + establishing orchestras. 🎶

Maud Winthrop Gibbon was born in Charleston in 1885 + grew up in a family that allowed her to travel, ultimately leading her to develop a deep love for music.

After studying music in New York, returning to Charleston to appear in small musicals, and travelling Europe, Maud once again planted her roots in the Holy City. Upon her return in 1917, she set out to expand the Musical Arts Club, which was an organization she had previously been a part of.

Two years later, Maud, along with Martha Laurens Patterson, Marie Baker, and Dr. Mary V. McBee, founded the Charleston Musical Society — a series of Sunday concerts that featured a variety of musicians. During this time, Maud also led a youth orchestra to promote music education in local schools.

Maud left town when the musical society was impacted by the Great Depression, but returned + created the Charleston String Orchestra in 1936. Because of the financial challenges the community was facing, Maud took it upon herself to do everything she could to see the organization thrive, including handwriting scores, paying the bills + operating out of her home.

The Charleston String Orchestra held its first concert on Dec. 28, 1936 at Hibernian Hall. The musical organization flourished + expanded, and by the end of 1942 it was known as the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO).

Today, CSO still upholds its mission to enrich the cultural life of South Carolina’s Lowcountry with high-quality performances of symphonic and chamber music, and unique and engaging music education opportunities throughout the region.”


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