The Winona Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1908 by the eminent composer Carl Ruggles (right). Later in his career Ruggles was associated with the group of modernist American composers known as “The American Five,” which included Charles Ives and Henry Cowell. The WSO has also championed contemporary composers by presenting premieres of compositions by James Hoch and Dan Maske.
The WSO disbanded during the Great Depression but was revived in 1965 and has performed every season since then. Its concerts are presented in the Performing Arts Center on the campus of Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota.
Today, under the direction of Dr. Donald Lovejoy (left), the orchestra has grown into a cohesive musical organization of nearly 70 musicians from the community and extended Winona area.
Donald Lovejoy has been the Music Director of the Winona Symphony Orchestra since 2009. He is also the founding director of Chamber Music Winona and the Director of Bands and Coordinator of Brass Studies at Winona State University.
As an orchestral conductor, Dr. Lovejoy has been the music director for the Regina Community Orchestra (Canada) and the Monona Chamber Music Society (WI). He has also been an assistant conductor for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra and the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. As a wind conductor, Dr. Lovejoy has been the Director of Bands at Bethel College (IN) and Saint Xavier University (IL) as well as assistant conductor for the UW-Madison Wind Ensemble, Sinfonietta, and Concert Band. His principal conducting teachers have been James Smith, David Becker, John Paynter, Simon Streatfield, and Howard Leighton-Brown. He has also participated in conducting masterclasses with Herbert Blomstedt, Ian Robertson, Allan McMurray, Thomas Lee, and Eugene Corporon. Since 1985, Dr. Lovejoy has been active as a clinician in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, working with both bands and orchestras at the middle school, high school and college levels.