Bardavon - Legendary Performers Since 1869









A Brief History of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic

 In 1932, four Poughkeepsie businessmen who were also dedicated string players--George Hagstrom, Sydney Fleishman, Charles T. Miller and Dr. Charles Hoffman formed the nucleus of local musicians that eventually evolved into the Dutchess County Philharmonic Orchestra. With Hagstrom as its first conductor, the orchestra was made up of amateurs and professionals alike, plus a number of music students from surrounding high schools. In 1934, local backing enabled the DCPO to perform its first series of public concerts. By the 1940s, it had grown to 93 musicians. DCPO repertoire was largely classical, including some contemporary music and works by local composers.



In 1945, George Hagstrom stepped down as music director handing the baton over to Ole Windingstad, a European-trained conductor who came from the Bergen Symphony in Norway and the New Orleans Symphony. On October 29, 1953 under the direction of Maestro Windingstad, the orchestra presented a program of two Norwegian composers, Grieg and Sparre-Olsen at New York's Carnegie Hall. It was also during Maestro Windingstad's tenure that the orchestra presented Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf narrated by former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.





By 1959, Claude Monteux, world-class flutist and son of legendary conductor Pierre Monteux, had elevated the orchestra to a fully professional ensemble renamed the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Society, Inc. Under his baton, the HVP became a prestigious regional orchestra serving Dutchess, Ulster , Orange , Rockland and Columbia counties. The Young People's Concerts program we offer today is a direct descendent of the school-day concerts introduced by Maestro Monteux.



Imre Pallo, formerly Director of the Deutsche Opera of the Rhein/Germany and New York City Opera conductor, succeeded Maestro Monteux as Music Director in 1976. Maestro Pallo introduced the first Hudson Valley Philharmonic opera series in 1978, and in 1979 established a pops series modeled after the successful Boston Pops.






Randall Craig Fleischer became the third Music Director of the HVP during the orchestra's 1992 season, its thirty-third year. Under the leadership of Maestro Fleischer, the orchestra evolved into one of the region's major performing arts and educational assets. As has been widely reported, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Society, Inc. sustained a financial crisis in 1998. To save this forty-year old cultural cornerstone of our community, three regional philanthropic foundations stated their willingness to commit substantial support provided the Bardavon would step in to reorganize and reinstate the orchestra. Generous grants from The Dyson Foundation, the Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust, the McCann Foundation and the NYS Legislature through the efforts of Senator Stephen Saland enabled the Bardavon to purchase the assets and name of the HVP. On June 3, 1999 the Hudson Valley Philharmonic officially became a Bardavon subsidiary.


The Bardavon's main challenge for the Hudson Valley Philharmonic is developing new audiences for classical music. Toward meeting this challenge, and equally important in its own right, is the continuing evolution of the HVP Young People's Concerts/Classroom to Concert program, which was redesigned by a Juilliard/NY Philharmonic teaching artist in 1999. Each year, this program provides thousands of regional school children with thoroughly enjoyable hands-on experiences with superb music while also building symphony audiences of tomorrow.



Today, a full season of HVP Symphony Concerts Series performances can be enjoyed in an elegant setting with superb acoustics at the Bardavon and our “second stage”, the Ulster Performing Arts Center/Broadway Theater. The orchestra also makes regular guest appearances at festival venues, including: SUNY/New Paltz PianoSummer, the Bowdoin Park pavilion of Dutchess County , and Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts. Here's to a brilliant future for the region's premier orchestra, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic!


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Download the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Donation Form (PDF Format). Download Now (380 KB)


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Print and fill out the Hudson Valley Philharmonic membership form and mail it to:


35 Market Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601


By Phone


Call Mariella Martin, Member Services, 845 473-5288 x152.

© 2016 Bardavon/UPAC
Last modified: 2011-11-10 13:07:55