Between the years 1964 through 1969, the
fourth floor gallery of the Newark Public Library on Washington
Street was host to the Little Symphony of Newark. It was a 50 piece
community orchestra comprised of amateur, professional and student
musicians from Newark and its suburbs. It even attracted musicians
from New York City.
The orchestra presented free concerts 2 times each year to standing
room crowds. At the time that the LSN was formed, there were a great
number of Newark residents that followed the orchestra very closely.
The now defunct Newark Evening News covered its complete activities
because the music columnist and reporter , the late Alan Branigan
was a violinist in the orchestra.
The Library not only hosted the LSN, but also provided major funding
for its operation. The provision of music, printing the programs,
furnishing the program notes, ushers, publicity and stage management
was all generously provided by the Newark Public Library. All who
were connected to the LSN looked forward to its performances as
they were major cultural events which featured local musicians playing
major symphonic works. Players ranged from high school students
to one player who was over 90 years of age and was a member of the
Boston Symphony during WW 1.
It was a great environment for the performance of classical music.
Unfortunately the riots ended the era of the Little Symphony of
Newark as players refused to come to the city for rehearsals and
concerts. Today the LSN is remembered by few as it had a rather
Ira Kraemer, former music director and conductor