Mission Statement

The mission of the Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Society, Inc. is to provide performance and listening opportunities of quality orchestral music for Merrimack Valley musicians and audiences. In addition, we are committed to the nurturing and encouragement of young musicians by providing performance opportunities, training, and scholarships for the advanced study of music.


The orchestra was organized in August, 1961 by Joseph Ierardi and other musically minded engineers from the Raytheon Company in Andover. Raytheon was most interested in this cultural endeavor and donated $500.00 to promote the organization.

Mr. Ierardi had a wide musical background and was chosen to be the conductor of the orchestra. Mostly by word of mouth, musicians in the Merrimack Valley area were invited to a rehearsal. Classically trained amateur and professional musicians alike responded, eager to become members. Due to the cooperation of the Musicians' Union Local 372, A. F. of M., both union and non-union musicians were allowed to play together.

In 1962 the Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Society, Inc. established the following aims:

  1. To acquaint listeners with masterworks of orchestral literature.
  2. To give professional orchestral training and to offer additional ensemble opportunity to qualified young musicians in the area.
  3. To present Youth Concerts and to offer opportunities for young, talented area soloists.
  4. To award Scholarships to outstanding area High School musicians who are furthering their study of music.

In the fall of 1967, Mr. Ieradi had to leave due to engineering commitments. He was followed by Nicholas Van Slyck. Well known as a conductor, composer and pianist, Mr. Van Slyck was Director of the Longy School of Music in Cambridge and a member of the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Later, he founded the New School of Music in Cambridge. He resigned as Music Director in 1982 due to illness and died soon after. A new high of musical excellence was brought to the Philharmonic under his tenure.

After many guest conductors, George Monseur was chosen to be the orchestra's third Music Director and Conductor in the fall of 1984. His credentials include Maestros Leopold Stokowski and Leonard Bernstein among his teachers, a full fellowship in Orchestral Conducting at Tanglewood and a Beebe Foundation Award for advanced study in Europe. He currently chairs the Conducting Department at Berklee College of Music and is Artistic Director for the American Foundation of Musicians and Composers. During his tenure, the orchestra has continued to grow both in size and musicianship as the result of his leadership and pursuit of excellence.

Music Director & Conductors

Louis Stewart (Interim Music Director), American Conductor, composer and pianist was born in Aberdeen Washington in 1944 and received his Bachelor of Music from Whitman College in Washington; his Masters of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston;and his Doctor of Music Arts fron the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. His Teachers have included Willis Stevens, Robert Goldsand and John Ogdon in piano and Frederik Prausnitz and Arilio Poto in conducting. > Specializing in new music, Louis Stewart has conducted and played premieres in New York, Seattle, Boston and Baltimore and has gueste conducted in thre United States and Southeast Asia. He has been a piano soloist in concertos with numerous orchestras including Merrimack Valley Philharmonic and the Panama City Pops Orchestra.

His awards have included a Meet-The-Composer Grant shared with Tim Anderson and Robert Macht for the ballet. Mutable Grounds, performed by the Baltimore Improvisation Ensemble and Naked Feet Dance Company. Stewart's scores in print include Fantasy for Two Pianos and Movements for String Trio, published by Frank Warren Music. His text, Music for Martha Graham, is published by the Uniersity Microfilm International. His latest show, Shanghais Lil's has just completed a recent run in New York by the Pan-Asian Repertory Company. Louis Stewart is currently an Associate Professor on the Faculty of Berklee College of Music.

George Monseur, Conductor Emeritus, attended Arizona State University, Boston Conservatory of Music and received a Master of Music degree from The New England Conservatory of Music. He received a full fellowship in Orchestral conducting at Tanglewood and the Frank Huntington Beebe Foundation Award for advanced study in Europe. Mr. Monseur's teachers have included Maestro Attilio Poto, Dr. Richard Lert, Maestro Leon Barzin, Maestro Leopold Stokowski, and Maestro Leonard Bernstein.

Currently Mr. Monseur is Professor of Conducting Studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Artistic Director of the American Foundation for Musicians and Composers. He is past conductor of the Brookline Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Monseur has been Music Director of the Merrimack Valley Philharmonic since 1983. His pursuance of excellence has raised the Philharmonic to new and greater heights. He is dedicated to the education of our young people by offerng them opportunities to solo with an orchestral accompaniment. The Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Society is proud and honored to have him for 35 seasons as our Music Director.

Endowment Fund

In June 2001, Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Society, Inc. created a permanent endowment fund for the purpose of supporting the operational needs of the orchestra. The principal of the fund is held in trust in perpetuity and invested by the President and Treasurer under the direction of the Board of Directors' Investment and Endowment Committee.

The MVPS Inc. Endowment Fund is available as a means for those who desire to make gifts or bequests to the MVPS that will have a lasting effect and benefit to the orchestra and will also help ensure the continuance of classical music for years to come. Some contributors have made gifts in recognition of or in memory of loved ones while others simply have contributed to express their enthusiasm for live classical music performance.

If you are interested in making a donation please send a check payable to the MVPS Inc. Endowment Fund and send to

MVPS, Inc.
PO Box 332
Haverhill MA 01831

The MVPS is a tax exempt corporation under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service code and, accordingly, all donations are tax deductible.

Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Society


Bruce Guttman, President
Paul Dunlap, Vice President
Claire Arakaki, Treasurer
Diane B. Tiezzi, Secretary

Board of Directors

Claire Arakaki
Stacey Channing
Margaret Dunlap
Paul Dunlap
Bonnie Glazier
Bruce Guttman, Librarian (ex officio)
Janice High
Liz Kosta
Marjorie Nelson
Jennifer Onello
Austin Pond
Diane B. Tiezzi, Scholarship Chair
Alison Yankowskas, Co-Operations Manager
Clif Banner, Personnel Manager

Advisory Board

Rene DeSimone
Phyllis Forsyth
William C. Forsyth
Diane Lafond

Special Volunteers

Brooke LaMonica, Brochure and Program Booklets
Margaret Dunlap, Ticket Chair
Paul Dunlap, Program Notes
Bonnie Glazier, Program Ads
Janice High, Silent Auction Chair
Diane Lafond, Mailing List
Marjorie Nelson, Orchestral Committee Chair
Jennifer Onello, Publicity
Chuck Kosta, Webmaster
Danny Reynolds, Stage Manager
Diane B. Tiezzi, Scholarship Chair