A discussion in the fall of 1948 between Dr. Etzel Willhoit and three other faculty members of what was then Teachers College of Conn (now CCSU) resulted in the eventual creation of the College-Community Orchestra which is now the New Britain Symphony Orchestra. Plans of action were formulated and published by the Herald (New Britain’s newspaper). Interest spread, auditions began, financial support was secured, and the idea for a symphony orchestra became a reality.
In June of 1952 the New Britain Symphony Society was organized by Helen Kilduff, Supervisor of Music in the New Britain Schools, with a 36-member volunteer Board of Directors. With subscription income and the raising of more funds, the Society began to reach its goals on enlarging the orchestra, increasing the number of rehearsals and concerts, securing the best musicians and engaging guest artist. Appearing with the New Britain Symphony were such world-renowned artists as Eugene Istomin, Itzhak Perlman, Andre Watts, Leroy Anderson, Robert Merrill, Peter Serkin, Benny Goodman, Gary Karr and many others
The first concert in the spring of 1950 was directed by Dr. Willhoit who retired in 1967 followed by the appointment of Dr. Jerome Laszloffy. He held the position for 38 years, retiring at the end of the 2004-2005 season. 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. At the end of his tenure, the NBSO entered into a collaboration with the CT Virtuosi with Adrian Sylveen as conductor.
During the 2014-2015 season, Ertan Seyyar Sener was elected conductor and musical director of the New Britain Symphony and served for three seasons.
The New Britain Symphony Orchestra, for the 2018 – 2019 season welcomes Maestro James Sinclair, Maestro Kalena Bovell, Maestro Netta Hadari, and Maestro Edward Cumming as guest conductors.