The Contributions of Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to the Educational and Cultural Climate of Atlanta

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Robert Tuley

Advisor Department



This study is of the growth, development, and maturation of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Robert Shaw, Music Director and Conductor from 1967-1988. Emphasis was on the educational implications and the contributions made by Shaw and the Symphony to the educational and cultural climate of Atlanta. Innovative programming, including extensive use of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus, the Composer-in-Residence Program, and the commissioning of contemporary works indicated a strong commitment to American music. Various forms of media, including local and national television programs, a large program of recordings, and regional, national, and international tours were utilized to achieve exposure and to preserve and share this cultural heritage. Participation by a large segment of the community including business people, educators, Blacks, and volunteers was stressed. Educational programs for various age groups, performance opportunities for groups from local and regional educational institutions, utilization of local music educators in leadership capacities, and the example set by Shaw as master teacher were representative of the philosophy of providing experiences in music which would result in the development of aesthetic sensitivity for citizens of the area.