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Stamford Symphony Leader Passes The Baton After 39 Years

Barbara Smith-Soroca
Barbara Smith-Soroca Photo Credit: LinkedIn

STAMFORD, Conn. – At the Stamford Symphony’s opening concert on Saturday, the orchestra and the Stamford community will pay tribute to CEO and President Barbara Smith-Soroca, who is retiring from the leadership position she has held for 39 years. 

Soroca came to the organization in 1979, when Skitch Henderson was music director, the orchestra was made up of amateur musicians, and performances were held at Westhill High School. 

”It has been a privilege to have worked with the Stamford Symphony’s musicians, board, and staff for the past 39 years,” said Soroca. “Together, we transformed a community orchestra into the highly respected, fully professional orchestra it is today. We have become the leading arts institution in the area, providing performances, and education programs that enrich the cultural life of the community.”

Under Soroca’s leadership, the orchestra has grown to be the region's pre-eminent music ensemble, employing top professional musicians from the metro area, boasting robust community programs, and performing at the Palace Theatre’s beautifully restored venue. 

Russell Jones, who has specialized in orchestra administration in the U.S. and Great Britain, has been selected as Soroca’s successor. 

The two administrators will overlap until Soroca’s departure in January, ensuring a seamless leadership transition.

The orchestra is also searching for a new music director to succeed Eckart Preu, who concluded his 12-year tenure at the end of last season. 

In 2017-18, five candidates will each have an opportunity to conduct a subscription weekend to help decide who will be the orchestra’s next artistic leader.

The Opening Weekend concerts on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 15, at 3 p.m. feature an all-Russian program led by Lidiya Yankovskaya, one of the five music director contenders. Yankovskaya will conduct Glinka’s Ruslan & Lyudmilla Overture, Rimsky Korsakov’s Symphony No. 1, and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Avery Fisher Career Grant winner Stefan Jackiw.

The organization’s annual fundraising gala — a black and white-themed, black tie dinner — will be held before the concert. The festivities will include tributes to Soroca. 

“We are eternally grateful for Barbara’s faithful and steady leadership, her unwavering dedication, and her extraordinary vision creating and shaping the superb orchestra we have today,” said Alan McIntyre, chairman of the board. “From humble beginnings, Barbara has created a cultural gem, and one of the leading professional regional orchestras in America.”

For tickets more information, visit or call 203.325.1407 or 203.325.4466.

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