About the Orchestra

The Pittsburgh Mandolin Orchestra (PMO) is led by composer/arranger/teacher/director Charley Rappaport. Charley has a 40-year tenure participating in both professional and community musical activities within the field of world string folk music. He is world renowned for his broad knowledge and creative interpretations of Eastern European folk music. He has been involved in the founding of groups where this music can be shared with a community of players at all skill levels, ages and socio-economic backgrounds including the Atlanta Mandolin Society, Atlanta Balalaika Society, Houston Balalaika Society, and the Balalaika and Domra Association of America. He also performs at professional venues with his duet, The Great American Gypsies, bringing world string folk music to the widest possible audience. His efforts have brought him both acclaim as a performer and as a mentor of talented players who will carry on the tradition.


The PMO is an organization that is open to all members of the community interested in playing any of the instruments of the mandolin family, as well as the acoustic guitar, bass, and rhythm instruments. The orchestra plays written arrangements of varying styles and difficulty requiring an ability to read music. The PMO is committed to a teaching mission and the development of new talent from within the organization thus anyone interested in seriously pursuing music as an avocation is encouraged to join and get involved from the ground up.

Currently the PMO has approximately 40 members with a wide range of musical experience and knowledge. The diverse interests of the group has led to the spawning of offshoot groups dedicated to specific repertoire such as classical, bluegrass, Irish and jazz. The Pittsburgh Mandolin Orchestra rehearses every Monday evening from 7:00 to 9:30 pm at St. John's Lutheran Church of Highland in McCandless, PA.