George Hardesty, who founded and led the 28-member ensemble that evolved into the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, died Thursday July 17. He was 89.
Hardesty was the first conductor of what was known as the Columbus Little Symphony when it was formed in 1951. Two years later, he became its concertmaster and assistant conductor. He remained in that post for 19 years, followed by 17 years as a principal and second violinist and five years as a part-time player. He retired from the orchestra in 1994.
He also taught at Ohio State University for 39 years.
Rowlesburg, W.Va., native started playing the violin at age 9 and graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oberlin College. He taught music at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill., and Shorter College in Rome, Ga., before moving to Ohio State.
He also played in the Chautauqua Symphony in New York and taught music at Interlochen, Mich.