In 1948, several faculty members at the former Teacher’s College, now Central Connecticut State University, joined together to plan and form an orchestra in New Britain. The orchestra performed its first concert under the direction of Dr. Etzel Willhoit, President of the College. The orchestra was official organized as the New Britain Symphony Society, Inc. in 1952 by Helen Kilduff, who was at the time the supervisor of music in New Britain’s public schools. Dr. Willhoit would continue to serve as musical director of the orchestra from 1948 until the time he retired in 1967.
After the retirement of Dr. Willhoit in 1967, the orchestra appointed Jerome Laszloffy as the second music director. Laszloffy conducted the orchestra for the next 38 years and continues to hold the title of Music Director Laureate. In 2005, Laszloffy stepped down and was succeed by Jesse Levine.
Jesse Levine, who became music director in 2005, fell ill at the beginning of the 2008-2009 orchestra season. Upon Levine’s recommendation, Maurice Peress served as guest conductor the remainder of that season. Maestro Levine passed away in November of 2009, and in April of 2010 the NBSO appointed Maestro Peress to be the fourth Music Director of the New Britain Symphony Orchestra. At the end of his tenure, the NBSO entered into a collaboration with the CT Virtuosi with Adrian Sylveen as conductor.
During the 2014-15 concert season, Ertan Seyyar Sener was elected the permanent conductor and musical director of the New Britain Symphony Orchestra. During the previous season, Mr. Sener had served as the guest conductor of the New Britain Symphony for their 65th anniversary celebration concert, “On Time”, during which he led the orchestra in works by Charles Ives, Hayden, and Beethoven.