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New Haven Symphony Orchestra Helps Bring Classical Music to the Forefront

By Elisha Neubauer

Started in 1894, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra was formed by a small group of amateur musicians in the area. Today, the organization strives to "increase the impact and value of orchestral music for our audiences through high quality, affordable performances and educational programming." They offer special events and concerts, as well as music education events and family friendly programming, aimed at exposing the local community to the wonders of Classical Music.

"The NHSO is deeply committed to music education and offering concerts and programs for musical lovers of all ages," explains Katie Bonner Russo, Marketing Director for the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. "In fact, we present 250 music education events for 30,000 students every year!" The organization offers several unique events all designed to captivate, educate, and enthrall the community. The Family Concert Series is a free concert which is aimed toward young children (starting at age three), making them fun, energetic concerts.

School Night at the Symphony takes place once a season. With this program, students K-12, their families, and school staff are able to attend a mainstage concert for free. The Annual Young People's Concerts are performed statewide directly in school auditoriums. Leading up to the educational performance, they visit the schools throughout the year providing school-approved curriculum and prep sessions to enhance the educational effectiveness of the concert.

When it comes to the music, Russo explains that they only play music specifically written for their instruments. What does that mean? The music you'll hear at the New Haven Symphony Orchestra was specifically composed to be played by strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion instruments. "This music could be as old as the Medieval times all the way through to today, as we regularly commission new pieces of music from current American composers," she tells us.

There is no limit to the genre, however. They play everything from Beethoven to Jazz to Hip Hop to Broadway and literally everything that falls in between. "We work with very talented arrangers to take mainstream music and re-write it for our instruments, so we've played everything from African American spirituals to Broadway show-tunes."

While talking with Russo, she brought a famous quote to our attention that she felt really struck home for the Orchestra. "Author Hans Christian Andersen put it beautifully when he said 'When words fail, music speaks,'" she affirms. "Classical music, like all types of music, enriches us, entertains us and sometimes it even enlightens us."

She continues, explaining what classical music offers in comparison to other genres. "What classical music offers that is different than other musical genres is its collaborative nature," she details. "There is something magnificent in hearing what can sometimes be hundreds of people on the stage together, all pouring their hearts and souls into a performance; this power cannot be matched by any other art form. A live performance of Classical music, whether you are playing it or listening to it, is the ultimate group experience."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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