The NJ Festival Orchestra (formerly Westfield Symphony Orchestra) was founded in1983 by a group of Westfield citizens who believed that the expression of history and culture through the performance of symphonic music adds value to the quality of community life. Its mission is to promote the world’s legacy of symphonic and operatic music to Westfield, Union County and New Jersey residents, involving them in a diversity of professional musical experiences including performance, education and mentoring.
During its history, the NJ Festival Orchestra has appeared at Carnegie Hall on three occasions, accompanied such renowned artists as Leon Fleisher, Earl Wild, Shlomo Mintz, and Eugene Istomin and has presented eighteen premieres of contemporary music as well as performances of pillars of the symphonic and operatic repertoire. 2006 saw the inaugural concerts of SOPAC Viruosi, NJFO’s chamber ensemble at the newly constructed South Orange performing Arts Center in N.J. and in 2007 NJ Festival Orchestra returned to Carnegie Hall in collaboration with the Raul Wallenburg Foundation and United Nations Under-Secretary General Shashi Tharoor. Critics and audiences have repeatedly hailed the orchestra’s opera-in-concert performances and the its innovative education programs have become models in the state and have been featured on New Jersey Network’s “State of the Arts” program.
The NJ Festival Orchestra has demonstrated a dedication to living composers and to new music throughout its history. Since its inception, the orchestra has presented more than 20 world and United States premieres. Maestro Wroe has heightened this commitment by emphasizing the importance of involving composers in new music activities.
The NJ Festival orchestra is committed to bringing in ever growing audiences, forging new and exciting artistic relationships and continuing to bring the highest quality performances of both standard orchestral repertoire, 21st century compositions and programs that stretch the boundaries of traditional classical performances. In addition to an adventurous subscription season, , popular concerts near and far, and a rousing New Year’s Eve celebration, the WSO sponsors educational and music therapy programs throughout the state of New Jersey.
The NJ Festival Orchestra has been awarded a Citation of Excellence from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for seven consecutive years.