The Plainfield Symphony Orchestra is operated for educational and charitable purposes by the Plainfield Symphony Society, Inc. The Society’s mission is to prepare and present musical programs; stimulate interest in symphonic music in the central New Jersey area; provide educational opportunities through youth and family-oriented concerts and other educational opportunities; and provide a forum in which talented non-professional musicians can perform in an orchestral setting.
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As New Jersey’s oldest community symphony and the 3rd oldest continuously operating community symphony in the United States, the Plainfield Symphony Orchestra represents the highest standard in musical excellence in programs designed to educate and uplift local audiences. PSO is known for its masterful performances of rarely performed works by master composers, including Mahler and Shostakovich; the sparkling sophistication of the best of Broadway presented in collaboration with leading Broadway performers; and concerts designed for the entire family to create a new generation of symphonic music enthusiasts.
For 102 years, PSO has been “the jewel in the crown of the Queen City,” interwoven with Plainfield’s rich history as one of New Jersey’s oldest and most substantial cities. Through the cultural leadership of the PSO, audiences have enjoyed collaborations with the Young Pianist Competition of New Jersey, the Crescent Choral Society, and the French School of Music. The annual Free Family Concert is PSO’s gift back to the community which has nurtured and supported it since its inception.
PSO has been led since 2009 by Charles Prince, who has led a wide range of international orchestras from the Moscow Symphony to the WDR Orchestra in Cologne and Essen, Germany, as well as the Munich Philharmonic and orchestras in Switzerland, Austria, Finland and Bulgaria. He is a regular guest conductor of orchestras such as the Oregon Sympony Orchestra, the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Kuopi Symphony in Finland, as well as the Canadian Brass with the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. He is equally comfortable with pops music, having served as Associate Conductor for the New York Pops from 1996 to 2003, leading that orchestra on numerous occasions at Carnegie Hall. Charles Prince continues to bring PSO to new and exciting heights of excellence.
PSO performs in the sanctuary of historic Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, a Neo-Gothic styled church which features beautiful stained-glass windows, magnificent wood carvings, and a high arcing ceiling. The Sanctuary also houses an elaborate pipe organ built by Gilbert Adams and comprised of 5,124 pipes and a four-manual console.
The PSO is a multiple-year recipient of funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.