Westport Library and Stamford Symphony’s new partnership a perfect duet

Westport Library and Stamford Symphony have launched a new partnership. Westport Library Executive Director Bill Harmer introduces speakers for the Connecticut 4th Congressional District Debate at the Westport Library's Trefz Forum in Westport, Conn. Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020.

Westport Library and Stamford Symphony have launched a new partnership. Westport Library Executive Director Bill Harmer introduces speakers for the Connecticut 4th Congressional District Debate at the Westport Library's Trefz Forum in Westport, Conn. Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020.

Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

WESTPORT — Stamford Symphony’s wind quintet recently gathered at Westport Library to fill the space with music.

But last Sunday’s performance did more than serenade the patrons. It also marked a significant milestone in a new partnership between the library and symphony, as the symphony expands more into Fairfield County.

“We are delighted to bring the Stamford Symphony to the Westport community,” said Russell Jones, president and CEO of Stamford Symphony, adding the performance was “just a taste of what is to come as we expand our footprint and build upon this partnership.”

The partnership began in October when the library hosted the symphony’s virtual fundraising gala.

Under the partnership, Westport Library serves as the eastern hub for the symphony, which the symphony said strengthens its mission to serve many audiences in Fairfield County and help make music accessible for all ages.

“Although called the Stamford Symphony, the orchestra really serves many communities across Fairfield County,” Jones said. “Nearly half the audience, and 70 percent of donations come from outside Stamford.”

He said they started offering more chamber music and education concerts throughout the county because they learned many people wanted more opportunities to hear the orchestra in their own communities.

This was certainly the case for Westport.

“We have an audience here that is looking for more arts and cultural opportunities,” said William Harmer, the library’s executive director. “Creating community partnerships is essential to what public libraries are all about. It is refreshing to work with Russell Jones and the symphony. Our shared philosophy and approach will make for a great collaboration.”

Westport’s state-of-the-art library and performance space, coupled with the fact that the town doesn’t have its own orchestra, made the library “an obvious location” for the symphony’s eastern hub, Jones said.

“And of course it’s right in the center of the town and easily accessible,” he said. “We could not be more delighted with the great enthusiasm Bill Harmer has shown for this partnership and the incredible cooperation and warm welcome we have received from the whole team.”

Jones said they expect a number of future chamber music presentations to be held at the library.

“Additionally, as we build our work with the Westport Public Schools, we are planning family friendly and student events,” Jones said. “The orchestra is lucky to have a number of musicologists in its ranks, and talks and lectures on music and composers are also being planned.”

He said next season’s full program will be released in May.

Harmer said these types of partnerships are important for the community because they can offer relevant and effective services and programs, especially when it’s a collaboration of equals.

“As such, we are thrilled to be building a long-term relationship with the Stamford Symphony to develop a series of events,” he said. “By complementing each other’s programs and services, rather than duplicating efforts, we can amplify the good work done in a community.”

Harmer said both the library and symphony share this philosophy.

“Collaboration between arts organizations, when done well, can be greater than the sum of the parts,” Jones said. “We hope that by working together we will provide the Westport and surrounding communities more reasons to come to the library, hear great music and attend cross over and collaborative projects that music and the humanities can share.”