Princeton Symphony Orchestra, The Princeton Festival merge

Princeton Symphony Orchestra Board Chair Yvonne Marcuse and The Princeton Festival Board Chair Benedikt von Schröder (seated, foreground) sign off on legal documents formalizing the agreement to merge their two arts organizations. Standing are merger committee members PSO Board Vice Chair Stephanie Wedeking, PSO Executive Director Marc Uys, and former Festival Board Chair Costa Papastephanou.

Princeton’s two leading non-profit music organizations, Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and The Princeton Festival, completed a strategic merger under the legal entity of Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Inc.

The Princeton Festival will retain its name and continue going forward as an artistic program of the PSO alongside the PSO’s classical, pops, chamber music, and PSO BRAVO! education programs.

Once the merger takes effect this summer, the PSO will possess greater resources than ever before, igniting a brighter future for Princeton filled with live musical performances of the highest quality, according to information provided about the merger.

Both organizations successfully pivoted to online platforms during the pandemic while being mindful of budgets and continued fundraising efforts, according to the statement.

PSO Executive Director Marc Uys said in the statement, “The merger capitalizes on the strong positions and proven resiliency of both organizations coming out of the pandemic. With strong artistic leadership, we will pave the way to a new era of creativity, making high-quality performing arts more available to our community and beyond.”

The Princeton Festival Board Chair Benedikt von Schröder views the merger as a positive move. He said in the statement, “The merger will create a formidable combined organization with the creative, artistic, and financial strength providing a foundation for future growth in a challenging and much changed environment for the arts.”

Multiple Festival board members were nominated to the PSO board this month, and a Festival Advisory Board was created. Two full-time members of the Festival staff will join the orchestra’s veteran administrative team.

PSO Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov said in the statement, “We look forward to a cross-pollination of ideas and resources. Together, our creative team will capture the imagination and spark community dialogue with new music, cutting-edge operas, and fresh musical theater productions. We’re well-poised to earn Princeton a national reputation for live arts innovation.”

The merger came about through the efforts of Uys, von Schröder, Milanov and other members of the merger committee including Costa Papastephanou, former Festival board chair, Yvonne Marcuse, PSO board chair, Stephanie Wedeking, PSO board vice chair, and Michael S. Mathews, PSO trustee.

Boards of both organizations formally committed to the merger on June 10.