|New Haven Symphony Orchestra
Hometown: New Haven
Web site: http://www.newhavensymphony.org
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In late 19th century America, the idea of a symphonic orchestra was reserved only for large municipal centers with considerable financial resources and an abundant population. A city the size of New Haven was considered too small to support such an endeavor. But Morris Steinert, a recent immigrant and music merchant, felt differently about the city's potential and teamed up with Horatio William Parker (then head of Yale's newly founded Department of Music) to form a symphonic orchestra made up of local musicians. January 25, 1895 saw the first performance of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and marked the beginning of symphonic music in New Haven.
Today, the NHSO is one of the oldest orchestras in the United States and presents performances by resident players with world-renowned guest soloists and conductors. Most NHSO concerts take place in historic Woolsey Hall on the Yale University Campus, but the symphony also performs at schools, public parks, and community centers in pursuit of its mission to reach a diverse audience and promote excellence in the performing arts.
In addition to these concerts the NHSO also maintains an active community presence with numerous educational and family programs, Young People's Concerts and performances in outdoor parks throughout Greater New Haven.
The New Haven Symphony Orchestra first rehearsed in 1894 and gave its inaugural concert in January 1895. It is the fourth-oldest symphony orchestra to be formed in America, after the New York Philharmonic (1842), the Boston Symphony (1881) and the Chicago Symphony (1891).
Since its inception, the NHSO has performed regularly in New Haven, most of that time in Yale's historic Woolsey Hall. It has also toured throughout Connecticut and beyond (including performances at Carnegie Hall), has given numerous radio broadcasts, and made the world-premiere recording of the complete five-movement version of Mahler's first symphony. In addition to presenting classical repertoire, the orchestra has a long tradition of performing pops concerts throughout the state.
The stellar roster of guest artists includes such distinguished performers as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Joshua Bell, Van Cliburn, Leon Fleisher, Renée Fleming, James Galway, Glenn Gould, Myra Hess, Kennedy, Yo-Yo Ma, Sherrill Milnes, Nathan Milstein, Birgit Nilsson, Jessye Norman, Itzhak Perlman, Mstislav Rostropovich, Artur Rubinstein, Gil Shaham, André Watts and Pinchas Zukerman. Pops artists have included Dave Brubeck, Judy Collins, Bill Conti, Arthur Fiedler, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Marvin Hamlisch, Skitch Henderson, Wynton Marsalis, Dudley Moore, Buddy Rich, Doc Severinson, Artie Shaw, James Taylor and Sarah Vaughan.
In recent years, the orchestra has fulfilled its commitment to serve a wider audience throughout Connecticut. The orchestra of over 70 professionals, most of whom live and work in the Greater New Haven area, is conducted by its Music Director, William Boughton, and Associate Conductor, Gerald Steichen. Mr. Steichen, a member of the New York City Opera conducting staff, spent several years conducting the national tour of Phantom of the Opera and also conducted the final performances of the longest-running show in Broadway history, Cats.
In addition to playing a wide range of repertoire, the orchestra's mission is to partner the community with education projects that inform and outreach programs that bring music to the widest-possible population.