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Atlanta Symphony Orchestra visual arts materials

Collection number: ahc.VIS452

Scope and Contents

This collection contains photographs of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) in Atlanta, Georgia, from the 1920s through the 1990s. The photographs document orchestra directors, musicians, personnel, guest musicians, concerts, and activities. Locations depicted in the photographs include Peachtree Street, Atlanta Municipal Auditorium, the Woodruff Arts Center, the Swan House at Atlanta History Center, Chastain Park, Carnegie Hall in New York, and unidentified locations.


  • approximately 1920-1999, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This material is protected by copyright law. (Title 17, U.S. Code) Permission for use must be cleared through the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Licensing agreement may be required.

Biographical / Historical

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) is one of three artistic institutions within the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The first iteration of the orchestra was formed in 1923 with Enrico Leide (1887-1970) serving as conductor; by the end of the decade, the orchestra had dissolved. The orchestra was revived in 1945 as the Atlanta Youth Orchestra with Henry Sopkin (1903-1988) as its conductor, a role he served in until 1966. In 1967, Robert Shaw (1916-1999) took over as the music director. In 1975 the ASO began producing recordings and subsequently won twenty-seven Grammys and awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). The ASO became the first American orchestra to release a digital recording for commercial release in 1979 with Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor. Yoel Levi (1950- ) replaced Shaw as music director from 1988 through 2000. In 1991, ASO toured Europe for the first time, and in 1996 it played during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. In 2001 Robert Spano (1961- ) served as its fourth music director until 2021, and in 2022 Nathalie Stutzmann (1965- ) became the first woman music director of the ASO.


130 image(s) (54 black and white negatives, 37 color slides, 24 black and white photographic prints, 12 color negatives, and three color photographic prints)




This collection is arranged alphabetically by titles supplied by staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1994, with subsequent additions

Related Materials

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra collection, MSS 424, Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra records, MSS 777, Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center

Dorothy Haverty Grove papers, MSS 97, Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center

Atlanta Arts Alliance records, MSS 584, Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center

Bias in Description

As archivists, we acknowledge our role as stewards of information. We choose how individuals and organizations are represented and described in our archives. We are not neutral, and bias is reflected in our descriptions, which may not accurately convey the racist or offensive aspects of collection materials. Archivists make mistakes and might use poor judgment. In working with this collection, we often re-use language used by the former owners of the material. This language provides context but often includes bias and prejudices reflective of the time in which it was created. The Kenan Research Center’s work is ongoing to implement reparative language where Library of Congress subject terms are inaccurate and obsolete.

Kenan Research Center welcomes feedback and questions regarding our archival descriptions. If you encounter harmful, offensive, or insensitive terminology or descriptions, please let us know by emailing Your comments are essential to our work to create inclusive and thoughtful description.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2023.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra visual arts materials
Carey Shellman
June 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305