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New Haven Symphony Orchestra

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Symphony Orchestras

Mission: Through its live performances of classical music and education programs, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra aspires to exceed expectations, unite communities, challenge, delight, and inspire. We change lives, for the better.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 80,000 concert-goers and 30,000 students

Geographic areas served: Greater New Haven and throughout Connecticut

Programs: exciting Classics, Pops, and Family Concerts, as well as enriching Education programs

Community Stories

11 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been attending NHSO Pops! concerts for a number of years. Jerry Steichen and the NHSO Pops! are FANTASTIC. From Big Band to Broadway and Holiday programming to American standards these concerts have something for everyone. It's quality entertainment for people of all ages! I often bring my daughter and elderly parents and we have a fanstatic night out each and every time. The NHSO is a Connecticut treasure.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My favorite experiences with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra center on the innovative education programs, which reach an astouding number of children each year. As I am a firm believer in music education and its proven benefits, I am delighted each time I get to witness a child’s first experience with orchestral music. The Music and Meditation program, presented by the NHSO and composer Jin Hi Kim, had an immediate and profound effect on each child it touched. I was grateful to bear witness to these effects. It’s not every day one gets to watch a class of rowdy middle school children meditate peacefully and quietly. The look of concentration on their faces is something I won’t soon forget.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

My husband and I attended the Christmas Concert which included a sing-a-long portion. We were very impressed with the quality of the orchestra. We also enjoyed the quality of the school chorus that was featured. We enjoyed the concert very much and plan to attend other New Haven Symphony Concerts.
I thought the banter between the conductor and soloist was a bit juvenile, and the song choices by the school chorus were a bit dreary for a Christmas concert. But we won't hold that against the orchestra.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My experience is new in my role as a NHSO Board Member, but my experience of enjoying their artistic talents goes back to my early years in New Haven. As the fourth oldest Symphony Orchestras in the Country, the NHSO has shown not only endurance but creativity and resourcefulness in it's artistic presentations. It has had too! New Haven is a small city, but the NHSO has been one of its large artistic organizations along with Yale and its artistic functions. This artistic competition between Yale and NHSO has made both better. However, NHSO has to compete with, obviously, a small fraction of the assets of Yale. My point is that NHSO'S artistic talent has been tested over time and in many macro and micro economic conditions. NHSO'S ability to continue draw subscribers is due to the dedicated conductors, orchestra, and staff. Any monetary support in these trying economic times will help!

Board Member

Rating: 5

The New Haven Symphony Orchestra is one of the finest orchestras I have ever had the privilege of working with in my 30 years of working in the classical music field. As a board member and as a musician, I am continually awed by the level of excellence of this group. Not only its musical blend and nuance, but its range of syle in varied repertoire is most impressive and moving. The ensemble's innovative and comprehensive outreach to the community is inspiring young audiences throughout the area. This superb group of musicians has the magnetism that brings the glory of music to whomever is fortunate enough to hear them play.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I often attended free concerts at Yale, then a friend gave me tickets to the New Haven Symphony for my birthday. I had forgotten what a difference listening to a professional orchestra can make. The concert was interesting, the players created an enormous sound and worked so well together. It was an experience on an entirely different level.

I especially look forward to their outdoor performances during the summer and I remember waltzing to the Blue Danube Waltz with my girlfriend (now wife) many summers ago.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am consistently amazed at the level of talent in our Orchestra. Our Music Director William Boughton brings such energy to the stage and he has a real talent for finding the most exciting players and soloists. The Orchestra has never sounded better!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have bought season's tickets for the last three years and have enjoyed every concert. I like the combination of classic and contemporary pieces at many of the concerts. I also like the outreach concerts for children and communities other than New Haven. It's good exposure for the NHSO and it's a great opportunity to for many more people to experience wonderful music. I enjoyed the time when 3 NHSO members came to our school and performed for the children and also allowed them to try out their instruments. I think it's important to keep reaching out to the public.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Aside from their excellent regular programming, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra provides a wonderful program for children. Many of the musicians offer the children a chance to learn about their instruments and to try them many times. During the performance, the conductor will explain a little about the pieces being performed. It is a fantastic introduction to the classics as well as live performance.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been impressed with the NHSO for so many reasons. The performances, led by William Boughton, are world class and the programming is intriguing. The Family Programs are great fun (I bring my two-year old) and the teaching artists are so adept at drawing the children out, helping them try the instruments, and keeping them engaged during the performance. The NHSO's trombonist was able to get my daughter to make a sound on his trombone and she was thrilled. It is wonderful to have a cultural resource of true excellence right here in our backyard.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Soloist Elissa Koljonen shines in NHSO season opener Published in the New Haven Register on Tuesday, September 21, 2010 By David J. Baker NEW HAVEN — Thursday’s season-opening concert by the New Haven Symphony Orchestra got off to a slow start. The audience in Woolsey Hall had to wait a full half-hour past curtain time because, it was announced, one or two key musicians were blocked out of town by storm and travel delays. The incident says something about your 100-piece symphony orchestra, in which 98 or 99 percent of members are not enough to make a quorum. By those rules, how would anything ever get done in a large school, corporation, hospital, or in the U.S. Congress? (OK, strike that last example.) Is an orchestra the only large institution that is not weatherproof? After the long wait, some kind of bubbly entertainment was called for, but instead we heard an academic-sounding almost-symphony by Robert Schumann that called for more patience. The title, “Overture, Scherzo and Finale,” meaning basically “beginning, middle and end,” is about as imaginative as the music itself. With the Violin Concert No. 1 in G Minor (1866) by Max Bruch, things instantly picked up. The tightly focused orchestra under conductor William Boughton played with such care, warmth and rhythmic variety that the performance would have been rewarding even without a soloist at center stage. But it had one, the remarkable Elissa Lee Koljonen, a violinist of charm and technical virtuosity. Her work gained in intensity after some initial competition against thick orchestra sound. She waxed lyrical as well as forceful in the undulating slow lines of the second movement, and the finale found her coolly and stylishly dispatching rapid-fire chords, triplets and staccato fortes. The concert concluded with a whirlwind performance of the colossal Symphony No. 1 in C Minor by Johannes Brahms (1833-97). In an apparent quest for romantic-style drama, the conductor emphasized speed, loudness, sudden shifts and harsh conflicts. Brahms was of course as cerebral as he was romantic, fascinated by structure, detail and —as a devotee of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach — complex counterpoint. Boughton’s insistence on dark, coarsened textures tended to blur the intricacy of the score. By the third movement, signs of carelessness suggested the intensity was taking a toll, but the players constantly bounced back, offering wonderful moments. The audience reacted warmly to the ambitious and exciting finale, in which some passages had a speed and precision, even at crushing volume, that seemed a rare accomplishment.