The Glens Falls Symphony aspires to be best in its class among regional orchestras in the United States through excellence in performance, adventurous programming, and diverse community and educational outreach.
For more than three decades, the Glens Falls Symphony has brought fine symphonic music to audiences in the Adirondack region and beyond. The five-concert subscription season is presented from October through May on Sundays at 4 p.m. The symphony’s usual venue is the Glens Falls High School auditorium, an acoustically satisfying, state-of-the-art theatre offering comfortable seating for 1,200 concertgoers. The orchestra is a fully professional union orchestra with musicians hailing from the Capital District, New York City, Rochester, Boston, New Jersey and other locales.
Outside the subscription season, the orchestra presents free summer pops concerts, including the annual July 4th concert with fireworks in Crandall Park, Glens Falls. The symphony also performs children’s concerts at local schools and side-by-side concerts with gifted area student musicians, as part of its important educational programming. For many years, the Glens Falls Symphony Children’s Chorus was a beloved and rewarding program that opened the world of choral singing to local youngsters. The Children’s Chorus is currently on a hiatus for the 2019-2020 season.
Begun in 1977 as a community orchestra at the then-Adirondack Community College, the Symphony incorporated itself in 1983. In 1990, the Board voted to adopt membership in the national American Federation of Musicians (AFM), the professional musicians’ union. This enabled the orchestra to advertise in the national AFM publications for players, enabling the orchestra to recruit from a wider area. In 2000, the current Music Director, Charles Peltz, was hired to lead the orchestra. During the next 18 years, Mr. Peltz, who is an award-winning faculty member of the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, has consistently challenged what it possible for a regional orchestra. His energy, preparation, and artistry have drawn ever-finer musicians to join the orchestra, and have attracted nationally known artists like Sarah Chang and Chris Brubeck to appear as soloists. The orchestra regularly performs at an artistic level expected from orchestras with 2-5 times the budget size. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Joseph Schwantner has referred to the Glens Falls Symphony as “One of the great orchestras of the country”.
Today the Glens Falls Symphony is proud to reside in the smallest city in America to support a fully professional symphony. The orchestra is enjoying the fruits of investment in experienced staff, strategic planning, and in 2017-18, a dramatically increased community engagement effort. The Glens Falls Symphony now creates fun events like story-time readings of music books at libraries and bookstores, a music film series, panel discussions, author events on books related to the concerts, restaurant events that bring patrons downtown, parties for sponsors and donors, and special fundraising events that bring a fresh approach to live music. The simple goal of these outreach initiatives is to make live orchestral music a regular part of civic life in our region. The Glens Falls Symphony is one of the lead cultural institutions in the greater Glens Falls Region.