The 1997/1998 concert season was a celebration of the orchestra’s 50th season. A season now consisted of 4 Masterworks, 4 POPS!, and 2 family concerts. Music Director Michael Reason left at the end of this season, and 1998/1999 brought another search for the next conductor. Daniel Swift won the position through his auditions, and stayed with the orchestra through the rest of the decade.
1998 was a financially challenging year for the NSO. As part of its response to this situation, there was an overhaul of the board and staff. The NSO was named Orchestra in Residence at Brock University, and all concerts were moved to the 534-seat Sean O’Sullivan Theatre. This combined with concerted efforts to fundraise ultimately resulted in a positive turnaround for the NSO.
1997/1998 was also the debut of Chorus Niagara as an independent organization. Their board had decided in the previous season that it was in their best interest to separate.
In 2004 the orchestra performed with Anne Murray, both in Niagara Falls and Stratford. The orchestra also developed relationships with the respected theatre companies Shaw Festival and Carousel Players, combining elements of theatre and staged readings in performance, and continued to programme concerts with Chorus Niagara.
By 2005, the season had expanded to include 4 Masterworks programmes, featuring classics of the symphonic repertoire, and 4 POPS! programmes offering lighter fare such as operettas and Broadway shows, performing 12 concerts each year.
The decade featured several artistic triumphs and ended with a season that featured Barbara Mantini and the first appearance of violinist Jonathan Crow with the NSO. Regrettably, the NSO faced another financial crisis at the end of the 2006/2007 season. This resulted in a very public distress call to “Save Our Symphony”. Since then the orchestra has recovered both public confidence and financial stability, setting the stage for the next, more successful decade.
- Michael Reason – 1995-1998
- Daniel Swift – 1999-2008
- Studied oboe and composition at the Conservatory in Trois-Rivières
- Studied history and musicology at Laval University
- Studied conducting with Pierre Dervaux and Jean-Pierre Jacquillat in Paris
1997 Subscription – $90 (student $75)
Single Ticket – $30 (student $25)
2006 4 and 8 concert subscriptions $80-$222
Single Ticket – $25-37
Student – $10