Noteworthy Facts

The Symphony’s first rehearsal on September 18, 1947 was held in the band room of North High School in Phoenix on Thomas and 7th Street

The 77 musicians at that rehearsal were paid $1.50 per rehearsal and $5.00 for each concert

Our first season had just 4 shows, all at the Phoenix Union High School auditorium – today, we play over 150 concerts in Symphony Hall, Valley schools and throughout the Metro area

Concertmaster Steven Moeckel was once the principal soprano of the Vienna Boys Choir. We’re glad he picked up the violin!

Music Director Emeritus Hermann Michael, born in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Baden-Württemberg Germany (try saying that ten times fast!), had no formal conducting training, though he did study cello and piano at the Stuttgart Conservatory…which goes to show that music is a magic that we study and feel

Complementing his love for music and conducting, Music Director Michael Christie is a passionate and avid pilot, flying a Mooney single-engine aircraft when he’s not on the podium

Did you know that Michael Christie used to live in Australia? He loves the slang they use Down Under! One of his favorites: “I’m off, like a bride’s nighty!”

Michael’s musical “ah-ha!” moment that inspired him to study conducting was hearing Mahler's 3rd Symphony broadcast live from Carnegie Hall during its centenary concert in 1991

One of Michael’s favorite pieces to conduct is Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. He loves rhythmically charged music as well as work based on folk music. What’s your favorite piece?

Resident Conductor Joseph Young picked up the trumpet in sixth grade, and that’s when he began learning that music isn’t just an individual activity: it’s a team sport and a social classroom that taught him valuable lessons in cooperation, leadership and self-esteem.

For the first time in history, Arizona Opera, Ballet Arizona and The Phoenix Symphony are partnering together to host TRIO, an Inaugural Gala celebration that combines each organization’s annual fundraising event in support of Performing Arts Education and Outreach. Join us at Symphony Hall on Friday, February 8, 2013 as Arizona’s finest performing arts organizations come together to present a spectacular evening that includes an exclusive Trio performance, extraordinary dinner, entertainment and much more! Purchase tickets online at For more information please call 602-495-1999.

Ever wondered about your favorite Symphony musician? The inspirational stories behind how they came to the Symphony family? Some historical trivia? We’d like to tell you about it! Find us on Facebook and Twitter or email your questions to and look out for answers in next cycle’s “Noteworthy Facts”.