About the Symphony

Under the leadership of acclaimed Dr. Ronald Schafer, the Central Pennsylvania Symphony, a non-profit organization, is embarking on its 31st season of delivering a varied repertoire of classical and modern symphonic music.

Our Mission

The Central Pennsylvania Symphony serves our community by providing a varied repertoire of high-quality classical, modern, and popular symphonic music in a manner that is accessible to diverse audiences.


For over thirty years, our dedicated and talented musicians have entertained audiences and captured the imaginations of people of all ages across central Pennsylvania. Research has proven that the arts  uniquely provides social and academics benefits, throughout a person’s school, work, and life.

The Central Pennsylvania Symphony is a non-profit organization striving to be the best volunteer symphony orchestra in the region while providing cultural experiences to our community.


Dr. Ron Schafer, a native Pennsylvanian, has spent most of his musical career teaching and conducting in the Central Pennsylvania area. During this time he served for 36 years as String Specialist and Director of Orchestras in the Derry Township Public Schools, Hershey. He recently retired as Music Director and Conductor of the Harrisburg Youth Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for forty-two seasons.

Ron has served as conductor of the Messiah College Orchestra, The Hershey Symphony Orchestra, The Central Pennsylvania Symphony, and The Harrisburg Opera Orchestra. As an Adjunct Professor and Instructor, he taught string methods and music enrichment courses for Elizabethtown College, Lebanon Valley College, and The Pennsylvania State University. During his career he was a popular Guest Conductor and Adjudicator for County, District, Regional, and State Orchestra Festivals in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York. As Conductor and Administrator for the “American Music Abroad” organization, he traveled and conducted six summer tours of Europe with its orchestra, performing in many renowned concert halls and locations. A violinist, and former member of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, Ron holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from West Chester University, and a Masters and Doctorate Degrees from The Pennsylvania State University. While pursuing his graduate degrees at Penn State, he served as Assistant Conductor of the Penn State Symphony, and studied violin and viola with Raymond Page of the Alard String Quartet.


Ron lives in the Hershey area with his wife, Debi, and canine family, Jesse, a Bearded Collie and Katie, a Tibetan Terrier, both retired champion show dogs. His strong interest in automobiles and sports cars over the years has not waned, and he continues to enjoy participating in driving events with his Porsche at racetracks throughout the mid-Atlantic region.