From his hiring at the Columbia Broadcasting System in 1933 through 1950,
Bernard Herrmann's name was known to millions of radio listeners primarily
as conductor of the Columbia Broadcasting System Symphony Orchestra.
By 1936 he was
distinguishing himself by programming unusual and rarely-heard works,
and is credited with a number of broadcast premieres (such as the
1947 broadcast of Charles Ives's Symphony No. 3).
Throughout much of the 1940s the Columbia Symphony Orchestra was heard
as the off-season summer replacement for the Sunday afternoon broadcasts of
the New York Philharmonic. This enabled the orchestra to receive a high
profile. During the main part of the season, the orchestra would be
broadcast at various times, usually as part of an educational series such as
"Gateway to Music" or "The American School of the Air" (Sometimes these two
series overlapped). The most significant of these series was "Invitation
to Music" which commenced in April 1943. A 1946 publicity brochure proudly
announces how the orchestra stays away from the standard repertoire of the
New York Philharmonic and explores the unusual, while still engaging notable
soloists and guest conductors.
During most of 1948, Bernard Herrmann was on sabbatical while composing his
opera "Wuthering Heights." As part of a series of across-the-board
financial cutbacks, CBS disbanded the orchestra in 1950.
The lists are assembled from notes and manuscripts found in the
Music Division of The New York Library for the Performing Arts.