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The New Haven Symphony Orchestra's (NHSO) mission is to provide a symphony of the highest artistic standards, performing a broad range of repertoire to a wide and diverse audience; to provide quality educational experiences for all ages; to perform regularly in the Greater New Haven region; and to serve as a leader in the cultural life of Connecticut.
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, RenÃ©e 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, AndrÃ© 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.
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.