Symphony in C, formerly The Haddonfield Symphony, is one of three professional training orchestras in the United States preparing musicians and conductors who are on the cusp of world-class careers through concert, educational outreach and professional development programs. The Haddonfield Symphony began in 1952 as a community orchestra allowing amateur musicians to pursue their love of music by performing for the Haddonfield and southern New Jersey community and made its debut performance in January 1954 under Music Director Guido Terranova. Following the debut performance, the orchestra was led by Music Director Donald H. Razey from 1954 to 1958. In 1959, Arthur Cohn was named Music Director, a post he held until 1992 when he became Music Director Emeritus. During Maestro Cohn’s tenure the orchestra drew national recognition from ASCAP for its adventuresome programming and promotion of American music and composers.
During the 1987 – 1988 season, a drastic change in mission took place when The Symphony began providing training and performance opportunities to young professional musicians with the establishment of its Professional Development Internship program. Over the next 13 seasons this program grew to encompass all 78 positions within the orchestra and selected musicians from prestigious universities and conservatories throughout the Mid-Atlantic region including The Curtis Institute of Music, Temple University, The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Princeton University, Rowan University, The Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, and Rutgers University. Alumni of the program now hold positions with major orchestras worldwide including The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
During the 1991-1992 season, the Symphony’s Assistant Conductor position was incorporated into the Internship program, the first position of its kind in the United States to identify rising stars in the conducting field. The first holder of this position, Alan Gilbert, was named Music Director of the Symphony in 1992 and led the orchestra on a path of artistic and educational growth through the 1996 – 1997 season. During his tenure, the Symphony appointed their first Composer-In-Residence, Daniel Dorff, continued its commitment to new American music by initiating its Young Composers’ Competition and opened the South Jersey Performing Arts Center at the E-Centre in Camden.
From 1997 to 2000, Daniel Hege served as Music Director and led the orchestra through a period of significant educational growth with the expansion of the Music Matters! educational programs and the development of career education seminars as part of the Professional Development Internship program. He continued the tradition of featuring American composers on most of The Symphony’s programs.
Current Music Director Rossen Milanov who had previously served as Intern Assistant Conductor under Alan Gilbert was appointed in 2000. Mr. Milanov has led the orchestra in performances throughout southern New Jersey and in their debut at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which led to broadcasts on WRTI’s Sunday Afternoon Concert Series, WHYY’s Sunday Showcase, and WQXR’s McGraw-Hill Young Artists Showcase. In 2004, the Symphony was awarded the national MetLife Award for Community Engagement presented by the American Symphony Orchestra League in recognition of its educational outreach programs serving people with special needs. The 2006 – 2007 season began a new era for The Symphony with the move of its entire concert series to the Gordon Theater at Rutgers – Camden Center for the Arts in Camden, New Jersey. The move has generated a strong new awareness for The Symphony throughout the region and has had the most significant artistic and organizational impact on the orchestra since its transformation from a community orchestra to a professional training orchestra in the early 1990’s. The Symphony’s presence in the City of Camden affirms its commitment to participate in the cultural and economic redevelopment of Camden through the numerous performances and educational outreach programs it will continue to provide throughout the City.
In the fall of 2007, The Haddonfield Symphony became Symphony in C to signal its complete transformation from a community orchestra to the only professional training orchestra in the Mid-Atlantic that provides musical performance training and career development services for musicians pursuing a career as an orchestral musician. Symphony in C has been designated a Major Arts Institution by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and strives to continue making artistic, educational, and economic impact on a regional, national and global scale.