The Oregon Symphony is an American orchestra based in Portland, Oregon. Founded as the Portland Symphony Society in 1896, it is the sixth oldest orchestra in the United States, and oldest in the Western United States. Its home venue is the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in downtown Portland’s Cultural District.
A 90-minute television special produced by CBS affiliate KOIN Channel 6 in honor of the Symphony’s Centennial featured DePreist and the orchestra in a performance of its signature work, Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 In E Minor, Op. 27, and was awarded a Northwest Regional Emmy in June of 1997. It was produced by John Ray and directed by Richard Hammerstrom.
DePreist remained as conductor for 23 years. By the time he left in 2003, he had led the transformation of the orchestra from a small, part-time group into a full-time nationally recognized orchestra. During that period, the orchestra released 17 recordings. Peter Frajola, a principal violinist, who joined the orchestra in the 1980s, said the symphony took “phenomenal musical journeys” with DePreist. “Jimmy” as DePreist was known to locals, became a well known personality in the Portland community. He was the Laureate Music Director of the Oregon Symphony until his death in 2013.