The idea of the Alberta Symphony Orchestra was born in the summer of 2014 when pianist & conductor Emilio De Mercato was on tour in Italy performing with the Musica in Cripta Chamber Orchestra, a formation that he founded.
ASO Founder Emilio De Mercato came back to Edmonton and hosted the ASO’s first official presentation on November 30, 2014. It was at this intimate reception at the Santa Maria Goretti Community Centre in Edmonton that Emilio shared his vision of the ASO.
A few months later, in April 2015, Music Director Emilio De Mercato, together with a group of enthusiastic people, founded the Alberta Symphony Orchestra Society.
In November 2015, the ASO became a registered charity with Canada Revenue Agency.
Support from the first wonderful donors made it possible to commence the ASO’s first season and first two tours – both provincially and nationally.
The Premiere Tour was a series of 10 concerts in 10 cities throughout Alberta.
The Stradivarius Tour in early 2016 consisted of concerts in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. This second tour featured the Stradivarius Violin 1715 “ex Bazzini” for the first time ever in Canada.
Sold-out concerts on both tours solidified the ASO’s dream of being the orchestra for all Albertans. People loved classical music and there was an appetite for more.
In December 2015, the ASO was invited to perform a stunning finale at Celebrate The Season Festival at the Alberta Legislature, breaking the record of 1000+ attendees. The same happened again in December 2016, 2017, and 2018.
In 2016 the ASO led by Emilio De Mercato hosted Symphony Of Hope, benefit concert for Fort McMurray at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, raising money towards rebuilding after the wildfire devastation and towards the Canadian Red Cross.
Those performances throughout the first year of activities, in addition to private events for various organizations, put the ASO at over 30 performances in their first season.
In 2017 the ASO made history with a Tribute to Glenn Gould at Winspear Centre for Music, in partnership with Toronto Symphony Orchestra and with the support of Canadian Heritage. Read Edmonton Journal.
On December 7th, 2019, Emilio was the pianist and conductor of the Alberta Symphony Orchestra for a Tribute to Renoir at Allard Hall Triffo Theatre in Edmonton, on the 100th anniversary of the death of the French Impressionist painter. The event was preceded by a special interview and a performance on CTV Morning Live Show, featuring Canadian soprano Cara McLeod and himself as the pianist.
COVID-19 pandemic hit the ASO and many music organizations around the world. Since then, the ASO has been working on providing relief to the seniors across Alberta through music. As a recipient of the New Horizons for Seniors Program grant, the ASO presented and is continuing to present Engaging Seniors of Alberta in a Musical Relief Wonder Program, a series of online events and virtual performances.