top of page
Flute Player in Orchestra

About the Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra

The Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra (formerly Tehachapi Community Orchestra) is a non-profit symphony based in the mountain community of Tehachapi, California. David Newby, our music director, has conducted the award-winning orchestra since the 1999-2000 season. The Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra is fully supported by private donations and fundraisers held throughout the year.

The Orchestra began rehearsals with a dozen musicians, which quickly grew to 25 or more players.  By May of 1998, the Board had auditioned four applicants for the position of Music Director and hired Raymond David Burkhart from Pasadena to fill the position.   Musicians from as far away as Lancaster, California City, and even Bakersfield began coming.

After thirteen years of performing in Tehachapi, the orchestra had improved so much to the point where either it was going to be the "Granddaddy of all Community Orchestras" or it needed a name change. Hence, the name "Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra" was chosen by the Board of Directors to reflect the achievements of the past decade. As we go forward, however, the orchestra's philosophy will not change. We will continue to be the people's orchestra, offering all of our concerts for free, so that everyone in the community will be able to enjoy our concerts. We will continue to play 5-6 concerts per season, while sponsoring the Tehachapi Strings Orchestra, our intermediate-level teaching orchestra, conducted by our concertmaster. We will continue with our teaching mission of turning Tehachapi into a center of excellence for string playing. Presently, there are over 200 people studying strings in Tehachapi and we would like to add to that number.

Conductor | Music Director

David Newby

As a scholarship conductor at the Aspen School of Music, David Newby worked with Fiora Contino who appointed him Assistant Conductor of the Peoria Civic Opera. That year, he performed as a finalist in the Scarritt Conducting Competition. He served as Director of Vocal and Choral Music at Culver Military Academy, where his ensembles consistently won top honors. As Music Director of the Summer Opera Theatre at Indiana University, South Bend, his performances of La Bohme (Puccini) and Tales of Hoffmann (Offenbach) earned critical acclaim. 

His dissertation on Oedipus Rex (Stravinsky) received the 1996 Julius Herford Prize for Distinguished Research from the American Choral Directors Association and was hailed by The Choral Journal as "a major contribution to the study of Stravinsky's music." He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Illinois State University. At the Indiana University School of Music, he earned a masters degree in theory, and masters and doctoral degrees in conducting. He was profiled in Where Music Lives, a documentary on the Indiana University School of Music.

David Newby has conducted the Tehachapi Community Orchestra since the 1999-2000 season. He is also Professor of Music at Antelope Valley College where he directs the orchestral and choral programs and oversees the Associate of Arts in Music degree program. Under his direction, the Antelope Valley Symphony Orchestra and Master Chorale merged in 1998, a union of two esteemed organizations, each with its own rich performance tradition. In addition to his position as Artistic Director for the AVSOMC, David Newby furthermore directs the Antelope Valley College Orchestra.


Historical Highlights

Timeline Coming Soon!

Photo Gallery

bottom of page