The New Haven Symphony Orchestra, by Morris Steinert

“The committee that asked for my co-operation in bringing into life a new orchestra in New Haven appeared to me to be in earnest, and this encouraged me to once more indulge in one of my old passions, and the result was the organization, some six years ago, of the ‘New Haven Symphony Orchestra,’ a body of sixty musicians, who have given a series of concerts of the highest order, once a year in the Hyperion Theatre. Among this band, I am proud to state, are two of my children, Heloise (Mrs. S. B. Shoninger), who has the honor to be the second concertmeister, and Rudolph, who plays first oboe. This orchestra, which is bound to live and prosper, has given a great impulse to the musical culture of our city.

In connection with this band, it would be an injustice not to mention the name of a man who furnishes New Haven with all that smacks of drama and music. And while I don’t care to write his biography, as it might outshine and put into the shade my own, I consider it pertinent to refer to Mr. G. B. Bunnell as a proper person to be mentioned in my reminiscences. And though his early training came under the tutelage of P. T. Barnum, where he probably received his first instruction in music, and as the Barnum school may be much in advance of the Wagner, his usefulness has not been antagonistic, although I owe him much for his interest in my work.”
-Excerpt and (top) image courtesy of the Internet Archive, “Reminiscences of Morris Steinert,” by Morris Steinert, Jane Marlin, 1900

“It was an important year in New Haven, musically speaking. The Yale School of Music conferred its first degrees and American composer Horatio Parker was named the school’s Battell Professor of the Theory of Music. He became the school’s dean a decade later. When the Dorscht Lodge musicians appeared at Steinert’s door in December seeking help in forming a full-fledged orchestra, Steinert obliged. Parker was invited to the group’s first rehearsal, which took place at an M. Steinert & Sons storefront at 777 Chapel St., and he conducted the nascent New Haven Symphony Orchestra’s first public performance on January 25, 1895, at Carll’s Opera House on Chapel Street. The earliest surviving concert program erroneously indicates that the New Haven Symphony Orchestra’s debut performance took place on March 14 of that year. Tickets were $.25.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the New Haven Independent, “NHSO Celebrates 120 Years,” by David Brensilver, Jan 2, 2015

-Image courtesy of the Whitney Library / New Haven Museum, New Haven Symphony Orchestra Records, 1895
-Image courtesy of the Whitney Library / New Haven Museum, New Haven Symphony Orchestra Records, 1901
-Image courtesy of the Whitney Library / New Haven Museum, New Haven Symphony Orchestra Records, 1912

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