In 1932, a composer and WWI veteran named Lamar Stringfield united a gaggle of musicians to form the North Carolina Symphony. By 1935, they’d performed over 140 concerts all over the state.
Their future was uncertain, however, because each musician performed unpaid. Thankfully, the state recognized their contributions to local culture and in 1943 passed the “Horn Tootin’ Bill,” which financially supported orchestras. Thus, the North Carolina Symphony became America’s first state-funded orchestra.
Since its inception, the North Carolina Symphony has placed strong emphasis on music education. Today, about 50 of its 200 annual performances are devoted to students.