The Early Years of the New Haven Symphony, Founded in 1894

Thursday • June 27, 2013

New Haven, CT (June 27, 2013) The New Haven Symphony Orchestra (NHSO) is America’s fourth-oldest orchestra.  Its founder, Morris Steinert, planned to launch a hoop skirt factory but realized hoop-skirts were out of fashion.  He eventually made his fortune selling pianos.

Steinert’s first orchestra disbanded after a concert deteriorated into a drunken spree where the bass player collapsed on the floor. 20 years later he tried again and the NHSO first performed on March 14, 1895 with 40 musicians. “Papa” Steinert found himself covering deficits after each concert. Henry Farnam held a meeting where forty-one “Guarantors” pledged their support.  Among them were Mr. & Mrs. Eli Whitney, Henry F. English, and Yale professors E.P. Dana, Samuel Sanford, and Horatio Parker.  The NHSO became the first American orchestra to be funded by the community it serves.

In celebration of the NHSO’s 120th season, Music Director William Boughton has created a program rich in diversity, combining the familiar with the unfamiliar alongside the new.  This year, over 115,000 listeners will enjoy the Symphony’s events and broadcasts, including 34,000 children benefitting from its Education programs.

For more information about the 2013-14 season or to receive a brochure, contact the NHSO Box Office at 203.865.0831 x10 or visit