Playing a Critical Role in the Region
Since its founding in 1982, Portland Columbia Symphony has become a staple of Multnomah County’s arts scene, bringing 62 paid core musicians together each year to perform a classical subscription series and myriad education and outreach events for audiences based in both Portland and Gresham. What started out as a volunteer orchestra formed by Jerry Leudders would soon become an incorporated non-profit organization, when John Trudeau took over as PCSO’s music director and conductor in 1986. Huw Edwards served in that same role from 2000 to 2012, before Steven Byess took the reins in 2014 after a national search.
Playing a critical role in the artistic landscape of the Portland Metro area, PCSO provides affordable and comfortable concert environments for audiences of all kinds, while also providing competitive, creative jobs and opportunities for the area’s leading freelance professionals, music educators, and newly established conservatory-trained musicians. As the only orchestra that performs regularly in East County, PCSO is a growing presence in the Gresham area, reaching record audiences each season.
We value Excellence, Community, Personal Connection, and Accessibility.
The mission of the Portland Columbia Symphony is to present quality performances of standard, worthy but rarely performed, and new orchestral works, through the presentation of national, regional, and local composers, soloists, and musicians in concerts and outreach settings September through May. Its primary goal is to gather artists and audiences in friendly, affordable, and accessible concert experiences that spark authentic engagement and deepen peoples’ connections to classical music. PCSO seeks to amplify the audience experience through the design of culturally and locally relevant programming, an inclusive narrative, and educational programs that engage all corners of our community.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at PCSO
Portland Columbia Symphony recognizes that orchestral music traditions have historically been shaped largely by privilege, exclusivity, and bias. Guided by the belief that our artform is strengthened and made more meaningful when it is accessible and representative of our diverse, changing communities, we commit to changing the narrative in the following ways:
- Creating space onstage each season for all who seek creative expression via the orchestral arts, including, but not limited to, living, local, female, and minority composers/collaborators.
- Adopting systems and practices that acknowledge the varying needs of a diverse audience, including disadvantaged, minority, and at-risk populations and those from differing socioeconomic, ethnic, and age groups.
- Recruiting personnel, especially at the leadership level, who bring diverse viewpoints and backgrounds to elevate minority voices, bring willingness to expand institutional perspective, and bring balance to the decision-making process.
As we work to create a welcoming, accessible, and relevant concert experience for the widest possible audience, we recognize that the path to greater inclusivity is neither routine nor predictable; we therefore commit ourselves to fostering a culture of curiosity, learning, and adapting for the sake of our art form and community.
(Adopted January, 2020)
Make a difference at PCSO
Curious, talented, and open-minded individuals keep Portland Columbia Symphony going and growing on all levels. As artists and arts administrators, we recognize that our best, most creative work happens when we learn from our diverse perspectives and experiences; we are an equal opportunity employer.
Community Advisors/Orchestra Members sought for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Advocacy Group
Portland Columbia Symphony has formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advocacy Group as a roundtable summit of organizational and community stakeholders that meets to collectively and collaboratively work toward the following goals:
1) To re-focus the orchestral arts as a relevant and meaningful public service rather than a privilege enjoyed and controlled by a distinct and homogeneous few;
2) To address and correct issues of bias and inequity, both within the organization and the industry at-large;
3) To eradicate elitism and foster a broader culture of belonging;
4) To celebrate and advocate diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the organization.
The pilot group is designed to be representative of the full spectrum of stakeholders, including executive, artistic, and Board leadership (1 member of each), members of the orchestra (2 members), staff (2 members), and members of the community (1-2 members). Specifically, we seek BIPOC community members from a range of arts backgrounds and experiences. We understand that the experiences of BIPOC Oregonians in the arts are different in important ways from those of white Oregonians, and we know that being in community with BIPOC people is vital to our ongoing accountability and survival as an organization. We ask all members to commit to a one-year term. In contrast to Board leadership and paid staff, members of the community and musicians serving on the committee are entitled to compensation for their time and expertise.
These positions are open until filled.
Read our DEI Statement (adopted Jan. 2020)
There are currently no administrative openings.
There are currently no openings in the orchestra.
Request a Ticket Donation
Portland Columbia Symphony is pleased to offer local non-profit organizations donated ticket vouchers to help with auctions and fundraisers. Vouchers are good for two tickets to one PCSO concert, and are valued at $70 each.
Note: If you’re a social service organization looking to support clients with concert tickets, visit our Community Connections page instead.