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Date: February 6 (Saturday)

Venue: Virtual from the comfort of your home!

Red Carpet Cocktail Hour (6pm)

Gala Program with Award Presentation (7pm)

Silent Auction Closes (9pm)

Casual Event Experience until 10pm (for those wishing to stay)

Live broadcast from the Woodwinds (29 Schoolground Rd., Branford, CT 06405)

You're invited!

Join our exciting community celebration of music and recognition.

RISE will recognize the perseverance and innovations of your Symphony from the past year. Your NHSO's virtual performances and unconventional in-person concerts are winning over new audiences and engaging our community in ways that were unimaginable a year ago. Our virtual education programs in 2020 are now reaching students in nearly every corner of the globe, offering fresh access to cutting-edge music education content.

Guests are able to choose the fully virtual, or hybrid attendance options. Please note that our hybrid option refers to the combination of our virtual program (enjoyed from home) with an event meal that is either delivered to you or picked up in advance. We prioritize health and safety, following local and national safety guidelines.


Festivities will include:

  • World Premiere of RISE, by NHSO Young Composer graduate Anton Kot
  • Original Dance choreographed by Nikki Claxton and performed by Jah'lil Jeffries
  • Original Music by Wilbur Cross High School students and the NHSO Harmony Quartet
  • A Musical Offering from soprano Harolyn Blackwell
  • Silent Auction
  • Virtual Cocktail hour hosted by Broadway performer Linedy Genao
  • Dinner To-Go available from The WoodWinds
  • A Special Message from Senator Richard Blumenthal


Shari Smith & Robert DiGioia, Gala Committee Co-Chairs

Contact Development Director Dan Camenga with questions or for help in selecting your perfect Gala ticket!

[email protected]

(203) 865-0831 x16

2021 NHSO Wattles Award

The NHSO Board of Directors is proud to announce Mr. Burton Alter as the 2021 Wattles Award winner!

BURTON ALTER is an admired leader among New Haven's not-for-profit boards and an influential thought leader at national advocacy organizations, primarily in orchestral music and music education. Since retiring as an attorney he has served as an officer of the League of American Orchestras and the National Guild for Community Arts Education. In New Haven, he is the President of the Board at the Community Soup Kitchen, having previously led the Board of the New Haven Symphony and the Neighborhood Music School. He has been recognized as a Distinguished Advocate for the Arts (Connecticut Commission for the Arts) and is a Fellow of Berkeley College at Yale University. A graduate of Princeton University and Columbia Law School, Burton served as a Captain in the US Army Military Intelligence service.  When he is not in the Board room, Burton's pursuits include sailing and equestrian activities. His passion for serving the entire community inspired your Symphony's efforts to make music in new places, especially in New Haven's richly diverse neighborhoods.


Burton Alter


Wattles Award background:

The Wattles Award is the highest recognition provided by the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.  Traditionally, this award was known as the NHSO Gala Award and has been given during the annual Gala event.  In recognition of the lifetime impact made by Gurdon and Kathy Wattles, Dr. Keith Churchwell (President of the Board) announced during the 2020 NHSO Gala that the award would officially be known as the Wattles Award in future years. The Board is proud to honor the extraordinary legacy of Mr. and Mrs. Gurdon Wattles by celebrating and recognizing individuals making exceptional and inspirational positive impacts on the mission of the Symphony.

Gurdon and Kathy Wattles were the 2020 Gala Award winners and celebrated with NHSO members and friends on February 15, 2020. We remember Gurdon Bayne Wattles (1935-2020) and salute his lifelong example of kindness, positive vision, and leadership. His passion for life, family, friends, music, and boating remains an inspiration for us all.

2021 Quartet Awards

In addition to the 2021 presentation of the Wattles Award, foundational values of our organization will be celebrated with the "NHSO Quartet Awards."

For 127 seasons, the New Haven Symphony has been dedicated to artistic excellence through the performance of live orchestral music. What began as a dedicated group of community members has evolved into a foundational arts organization for the greater New Haven region. Today, your New Haven Symphony Orchestra proudly advances the values of artistic excellence, education, historical impact, and innovation. These four values are being celebrated at the annual Gala and will be exemplified through the second annual NHSO Quartet Awards.

Quartet Awardees are:

ArtistryHarolyn Blackwell, soprano
EducationDiane Brown & Xia FengNew Haven Free Public Librarians and Community Leaders
History: The late Helen Eugenia Hagan (1891-1964), composer and pianist
InnovationYale University School of Public Health, represented by Dean Sten H. Vermund, MD, PhD

All ticketed Gala guests are asked to pick up their Digital Access Pass for the February 6, 2021 Gala.

To prepare for your Gala event access, please follow the steps found on the associated page by clicking on this button "Digital Access Pass".


Digital Access Pass Instructions


Questions? Contact Dan Camenga at (203) 865-0831 x16 or email [email protected].

Interested in the Signature Drink for the 2021 Gala?

In case you would like to make our 2021 signature cocktail from home, we wanted to pass along the following recipe inspired by our friends at the "soon to open" Black Rock Social House!

Recipe for the Busy Bee

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Hosted By

New Haven Symphony Orchestra
Questions? Please call Dan!


29 School Ground Road, Branford, CT, USA

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