Founded in 1855 by Mendelssohn's student, Herman S. Saroni, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra became the third orchestra formed in the United States. The symphony disbanded during the Civil War and both World Wars, but always reorganized during times of peace. In 1949, the organization as we know it today, was formed and has performed for 60 consecutive years. The CSO has been a professional orchestra since the late 1970's and employs as many as 90 musicians for any given concert. Long recognized as one of the southeast's finest musical ensembles, the CSO currently performs at RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.