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Connecticut News

Stamford Symphony gets a new name after 55 years

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The Stamford Symphony has a new name. It’s now Orchestra Lumos, which is more inclusive to the people of Fairfield County.

The Symphony became a fully professional orchestra in 1974. Over half of their audience comes from outside of Stamford and 75% of their funding comes from outside of the city.

Russell Jones, the CEO and president of the Orchestra, said that having performances in other areas of the county is one of their goals.

“Increasingly, people were saying to us, we don't mind coming to Stamford to the Palace Theatre for the big orchestral stuff, but you never come to our schools, you never come to our library or ever come to our place of worship, or come to our shopping mall during the holidays,” Jones said. “So we thought, yeah, that's true. And we need to really also reach out to everybody in the community.”

The orchestra is planning on offering 20 free concerts from Greenwich to Bridgeport. They also renamed their chamber music series to the Small Space Series. The sites for some of those performances will be the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan, the First Presbyterian Church of Stamford, Westport Library, Stamford Museum and Nature Center and the First Congregational Church of Greenwich.

Music Director Michael Stern put the program together.

“We've got more musicians giving our subscription concerts onstage than ever before and Michael has invited world-class artists like Alisa Weilerstein, and of course, the amazing Joshua Bell who’s probably the world's greatest violinist right now,” Jones said. “They're coming to Stamford and you’d normally have to go to New York to hear these people and they're now coming to Fairfield County.”

Jones said an important goal for the Orchestra was to expand their education programs because having resources in schools helps the kids with their academic work and grow their social skills.

“We've always worked with Stamford public schools but we're going to be working with Westport and New Canaan Public Schools, Darien we're working with,” Jones said. “So big expansion of us being in the classroom and getting so many more kids. At the other end of the county, we were approached by the Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestras for help with coaching their top players, so that's been an explosion of work.”

Jones said Lumos is also offering more after school programs and working with children that have special needs. They’re spending $200,000 on education this year. That’s a significant increase from 2019 when they spent $35,000. Their after school programs are free for the students.

Stamford Symphony is an underwriter of WSHU Public Radio.