Arts, Culture, and Humanities


Alive through great music!

Hartford, CT


To enrich lives and community through great music

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Stephen Howard Collins

Main Address

166 Capitol Avenue

Hartford, CT 06106 USA


music, education, arts, engagement, community





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Symphony Orchestras (A69)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra has been providing musical excellence in the greater Hartford area since 1934. Given its longevity, it is easy to feel comfortable with what the organization contributes to the community. However, in June of 2015, the HSO adopted a Strategic Framework, a document by which to govern our organizational, financial and artistic development. Five key initiatives were identified, all engineered with the ultimate goal of becoming a more patron-centric organization as opposed to an inward-looking organization. To support this endeavor, our artistic vision and programming has changed to be more responsive to our community. The Hartford community has changed dramatically since our inception, ethnically, economically, ideologically. It is our desire to use music as a tool to bring neighbors, communities and the general populace together through our talents, ideas and outreach.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization



Music Education and Community Engagement

Talcott Mountain Music Festival

Sunday Serenades

HSO: Intermix

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Through intensive audience surveys, focus groups, feedback from non-HSO performing arts patrons and nationwide industry research, the HSO brings a more eclectic mix of composers, guest artists and musical genre to the traditional stage and to the unique venues - all while remaining dedicated to preserving the great traditional repertoire. Beyond our Masterworks, Pops, Sunday Serenades, Talcott Mountain Music Festival, Family series, Musical Dialogues, Musician's Care and HSO:Intermix series of concerts, the HSO is initiating a vital collaboration with local, established partners to create Listen, Share, Celebrate, an initiative in which musicians and community partners facilitate sharing stories and music of the community's cultural heritage. Exploring and embracing our similarities and differences we will forge bonds, overcome traditional barriers and create and perform music together. Beyond heritage and music research, and the music that will be created as a result of that exploration, historical documentation and exhibition will be created and available to the public as the HSO reaches its 75th anniversary.

The HSO Music Education and Community Engagement team will work closely with three partners, Hartford Public Schools, Connecticut Historical Society and HartBeat Ensemble. Each partner's programs reach varied ethnic, economic and religious constituencies, and all honor the diverse artistic and cultural depth of the greater Hartford community. Timelines have been produced that will provide goals for each organization and the individuals (mostly high school students) who will be fully engaged with each. Goals include research by students into their family and community musical history, bringing that information to the HSO Music Director and a composer and using the information to create new music. Other students will create sound recordings of music and oral history. That same information will be used to document and create a musical heritage exhibit at the Connecticut Historical Society, which has the ability to be portable and viewed throughout the community over a period of time.

The HSO has been reaching people of all ages and backgrounds, through music education, ensemble performances in unique venues and other forms of community dialogue, for many years. Working closely with Hartford Public Schools was initiated in 2012 when the HSO introduced the Link Up program to them (participatory, school year program for 3-6 th graders, with culminating concert featuring the HSO). That program is now fully integrated into the HPS arts curriculum. The HSO has built strong relationships with other arts and cultural organizations throughout its existence. These bonds made it easy for all of the Listen, Share, Celebrate partners to agree that this project will serve each very well and be a tremendous cultural asset for the community as a whole.

Specific to the Listen, Share, Celebrate project, the Music Education and Community Engagement team will provide surveys at each created performance and the exhibit which will analyze various key measures. Observational assessment during the process, especially while working with high school students, will be critically important to insure that the project is exciting, directing and enabling them to be sincerely engaged and excited by what they are learning and creating. Patron turnout and responses at the various events will also provide vital feedback, ideas, and suggestions for modifications of the current programs, and future activities.

To date, and for this special project, all partners are on board and are creating timelines by which to begin the project at the start of the 2018 school year. Applications for funding have been sent to a wide variety of corporate, foundation and individual donors, and the National Endowment of the Arts.

External Reviews



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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable