Person:Russell Gerhart

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Russell Gerhart

Russell Gerhart Conducts album cover (Record Album)
 Conductor for Huntsville Symphony Orchestra

Born:March 26, 1902, Altoona, Pennsylvania
Died:February 18, 1972, Huntsville, Alabama
Buried:Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, Alabama


•  Son of William Gerhart and Lily Miller. - Alabama Deaths Index

•  Husband of Martha Caum Gerhart (1901-1978). - Alabama Deaths Index

•  Father of Pamela Gerhart. - University at Buffalo

•  First resident conductor, Huntsville Symphony, 1959-1971; Founder and Conductor, Huntsville Youth Orchestra; Originator of "Pops in the Park" ; Citation from President Nixon; Conductor, Altoona, Pennsylvania Symphony; Conductor, St. Louis Philharmonic. - Record

•  "Russell Gerhart studied violin with Ralph Lewando, Carl Malcherek, Elias Breeskin, and Mischa Mischakoff. He studied conducting with Serge Koussevitsky at the Berkshire Music Center. Gerhart and his wife Martha formed the Gerhart String Ensemble in Altoona, Pennsylvania, which grew into the Altoona Symphony Orchestra. He also served as conductor of the Saint Louis Philharmonic and Huntsville (Alabama) Civic Symphony. " - University at Buffalo

•  September 1959 - "Russell Gerhart was engaged as the first resident conductor at a salary of $3,000. Gerhart stated that Huntsville's 'great opportunities for musical growth and development' attracted him to the post. In a short time, he transformed the ensemble into 'a musical organization that can be taken seriously' (Huntsville Times) and articulated his vision of a professional orchestra in Huntsville."

      May 1971 - "Russell Gerhart retires due to declining health."
     February 1972 - Russell Gerhart died in Huntsville.
     Served as conductor from 1959 until 1971. - HSO

•  Huntsville Youth Orchestra Will Play At Coffee Sunday
     "Russell Gerhart, conductor and 'builder of orchestras,' will bring his expertly trained Huntsville Youth Orchestra to Florence for Its annual spring concert.
     The performance, sponsored by the Coffee High School band as a special treat for music lovers, Is slated for April 26 at 3 p.m.
     Gerhart's lifetime of experience includes conductor, clinician and teaching of stringed instruments.
     In 1959 Gerhart became the first resident conductor of the Huntsville Civic Symphony, an ensemble now numbering 80 musicians.
     In November of Gerhart organized the Huntsville Youth Orchestra as an incorporated, non-profit group. The orchestra played its first rehearsal on Jan. 24,1962. Since that time weekly rehearsals have been held, culminating each season in a formal concert in May and concerts in surrounding towns.
     Gerhart's early studies were under Mischa Mischa Mlschakoff, under faculty members of the Julliard School, and in a small group selected to work with the late Serge Kousscvilsky.
     The St. Louis Dispatch has described Gerhart as a 'builder of orchestras', a statement borne out by the existence of civic orchestras in Altoona and Johnstown, Pa., the St. Louis String Ensemble and the Huntsville Youth Orchestra, all of which he founded.
     He has made many appearances before professional, semi-professional and community orchestras. He has gone, both as guest conductor and clinician, to such centers as Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Toronto, the University of Arkansas, the University of Alabama Festival of Contemporary Music, and All-State orchestras in Illinois. Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New York and Alabama." - Florence Times Daily

Related Links:
•  Alabama Deaths Index - Page viewed through an paid subscription.
• - Page owned by Alison Trimble and can be viewed only with an paid subscription.
•  Find A Grave - Paged created by Heather and photo of grave site by Susan Bennett.
•  Florence Times Daily - Article titled "Huntsville Youth Orchestra Will Play at Coffee Sunday" in Florence Times Daily, April 20, 1970.
•  HSO - The history page for Huntsville Symphony Orchestra.
•  Record - A Dream Come True: The Story of Madison County and Incidentally of Alabama and the United States, Volume 2, by James Record, printed in 1978, pages 303 and 674.
•  Record Album - Russell Gerhart Conducts Huntsville & Goldmark Symphonies.
•  University at Buffalo - Bio for his daughter, Pamela Gearhart.

Russell Gerhart-Florence Times.jpg

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