Amerigo Marino

Born: Feb. 5, 1925

Music director and conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra for 20 years. At age twelve, the youngest conductor to debut with the Berlin Orchestra. Marino was in the first violin section with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, later working with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra He joined CBS television and radio as a composer and conductor where he worked with celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand and Sammy Davis, Jr. In 1963, Marino was selected along with three other young American conductors to attend the American Conductors Project sponsored by the Ford Foundation Marino has made guest appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, National Symphony, and the Orchestra del Estado de Mexico. Marino was awarded the ASCAP Award for Programming contemporary American Music in 1972 and again in 1977, and The Bell System Silver Baton Award in 1982.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame



In 1964, the fourth music director and conductor, Amerigo Marino, was appointed. Marino came to Birmingham from Southern California where he had been composer/conductor of the CBS Radio and Television Orchestra, as well as first violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. The year before, in 1963, Marino was one of four winners out of a field of 200 of the Ford Foundation Conductors Project.

1966 was a noteworthy year for the orchestra. First, it was chosen as one of thirty-three in the nation to receive a conditional grant of $600,000 from the Ford Foundation. Payable over a ten-year period, the grant required the orchestra to raise a matching amount. A dedicated group of symphony volunteers raised the match in record time. In the same year the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra absorbed the Alabama Pops Orchestra, which had been conducted by Walter Moeck.

The orchestra changed its name in 1979 to the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, reflecting the popular support and enthusiasm for the symphony throughout the state, and to recognize the fact that many of its concerts were played in various locations around the state.


Under Amerigo Marino the scope of the Symphony expanded to include a regular subscription series at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Concert Hall, home of the Symphony since 1973, a Pops series, and a series thirty plus concerts perfomed throughout Alabama.

The Alabama Symphony Orchestra celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1983 with eight regular classical series concerts, eight Pops concerts, fourteen concerts throughout Alabama, and a special annual fundraising concert featuring the world-renowned violinist Isaac Stern.

In a highly publicized move, the Alabama Symphony Association canceled the orchestra's 1984-85 concert season. There was simply not enough money available to continue to operate one of the finest musical organizations in the Southeast. The community responded immediately. A "Save the Symphony" Committee was formed by the Young Men's Business Club and, with an aggressive fundraising drive, over $120,000 was raised and the 1984-85 season was mounted. In addition, a new three-year contract was signed between the Association and the musicians.

Source: History of the ASO

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