Who We Are
Symphony Nova Scotia is truly Nova Scotia’s orchestra. With a home base in Halifax and performances across the province, Symphony Nova Scotia reaches more than 50,000 Nova Scotians of all ages each year with some of the most innovative concerts and educational offerings in the country.
Though Symphony Nova Scotia had its origins with the Halifax Symphony (1897-1908, 1955-1968), the Halifax Sinfoniette (1947-1955), and the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra (1968-1984), the orchestra as we know it began in 1983 with only 13 full-time musicians.
Today, under the thoughtful and dynamic leadership of Music Director Bernhard Gueller, it is the largest employer in Nova Scotia’s cultural community, employing 37 musicians and ten administrative staff, along with over 150 contracted artistic, production and technical personnel. Its talented team has won many awards, including four East Coast Music Awards for classical music.
The orchestra has repeatedly been praised for its versatility and flexibility, performing everything from baroque to pops to jazz with equal finesse. International music veteran Howard Cable calls Symphony Nova Scotia “the most versatile orchestra in Canada,” and the Chronicle Herald says, “They can play it all: Beethoven, Shostakovich, Hatzis and Current, as well as Tommy Dorsey, Scott Macmillan, Rose Cousins, Buck 65 and Natalie MacMaster. We are, in this province, exceedingly fortunate to have them.”
Symphony Nova Scotia also places a high priority on community engagement and corporate social responsibility. Its education programs reach over 15,000 elementary, junior, and senior high school students each year – students who may not otherwise have access to symphonic music. The Symphony also conducts many accessible community programs, including pre-concert chats, performances in local public libraries, and free community concerts.
Symphony Nova Scotia continues to present Nova Scotia’s music to Nova Scotia’s people. From baroque to classical to pop, Celtic, rock, and folk, Symphony Nova Scotia brings you the music you love right here at home.
Quotes About Symphony Nova Scotia
"Symphony Nova Scotia is the most versatile orchestra in Canada!" ~Howard Cable, Canadian music industry legend, conductor, arranger, music director, composer, scriptwriter, and radio and television producer
"Working with Symphony Nova Scotia is one of the highlights of my musical year!" ~Jeanne Lamon, Music Director, Tafelmusik Orchestra
"Prokofiev’s exceedingly difficult score performed with heart by Symphony Nova Scotia, under conductor Dinuk Wijeratne, takes the production to another level entirely, enhancing the emotional impact of the story…" ~Andrea Nemetz, The Chronicle Herald
"Among the performance’s assets were a precise, robust string sound, idiomatic wind playing and, perhaps more than anything, the vigour and intelligence of Gueller’s interpretation" ~Richard Todd, The Ottawa Citizen
"It was a performance for the heart and the imagination... All in all, a fine concert with as much to fire the imagination as to ravish the ear." ~Stephen Pedersen, The Chronicle Herald
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Our concerts are divided by concert series, each with its own style of symphonic music. Get season tickets to all the concerts in a series, or mix and match your favourites with a U-Pick package. Single tickets are also now available for all our performances.
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The generous assistance of these community-minded organizations helps keep symphonic music accessible to all Nova Scotians.
Under age 30? Attend any of our classical concerts for only $15 per ticket (HST included) with the TD Under-30 Access Pass!