Editor’s note: The Princeton Symphony Orchestra was one of the region’s small number of performing arts venues that continued presenting during the pandemic. In a response to the question, “What did you do during COVID-19?” PSO manager of marketing and communications Carolyn Dwyer noted the following:

During the pandemic, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra board and staff realized quickly that fearless ingenuity, strong artistic relationships, and reliable community partners would be required to navigate a new world of distanced performances with remote viewing.

They also saw opportunities for connecting with new audiences no longer hampered by distance, pivoting to provide streamed virtual concerts in lieu of live performances and connecting with patrons through online chats and Zoom receptions.

The PSO had people tuning in from all over, particularly after it launched a new presented series showcasing South Africa’s Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble.

A new partnership with the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey was announced, and the PSO’s Holiday POPS! concert aired 10 times with special segments including the Princeton High School Choir and dancers from the American Repertory Ballet.

The PSO provided live music in the warmer months through a new chamber series at Morven Museum & Garden with socially distanced, marked-off pods.

Perhaps the biggest, and best, pairing to come out of the pandemic, is the recently announced merger of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and The Princeton Festival, another arts group which held its own during the pandemic.

Under the leadership of the PSO’s Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov, the combined organization is primed and ready to continue to expand its audience reach and virtual muscle while leading Princeton out of the pandemic and into a new era for live arts.

For a recap of Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s first live indoor concert in nearly 18 months and a preview of things to come, see Susan Van Dongen’s review on page 7.

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