About the Newtown Chamber Orchestra

At a Glance

Established in 1990 as a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing high caliber professional musicianship to the community, the Newtown Chamber Orchestra was founded by Russell Hoffmann, Milton Schwartz, and Craig Smith.  It was incorporated in August of 1990 in Pennsylvania and granted 501(c)(3) status in August, 1991.  The Orchestra is also a proud recipient of the Bucks County Tourism Grant.

The Newtown Chamber Orchestra is proud to be among the excellent arts organizations contributing to the rich cultural tradition of Bucks County Pennsylvania.  The Orchestra offers a selection of musical repertoire spanning from the Baroque to music of the 21st century, well suited for small orchestra.

The ensemble of professional musicians is also joined by local and internationally acclaimed soloists.

In addition to its regular concert season at The Church of God’s Love in Newtown, PA, the Orchestra has performed at Newtown Theatre, as well as other venues in Bucks County, PA.  In keeping with its mission to educate and entertain the public in the art of classical music, speakers introduce performances with relevant notes.  NCO also promotes new chamber orchestra works by contemporary composers, features soloists, and encourages young musicians throughout the area with its annual youth programs:


  • The NCO Young Musicians Competition encourages students in grades 9 – 12 to showcase their talents and love of music by giving the winner the opportunity to perform as soloist with the orchestra.
  • Our annual Kids Connect to the Classics concert is an interactive family concert for young children.  Performances have been supported in the past by Kinder Morgan Foundation, the American Federation of Musicians Musician Performance Trust Fund (MPTF), as well as a gift from Foster’s Jewelry of Yardley, PA.

Our Mission

To present an intimate and culturally enriching experience of chamber music for audiences of all ages and varying levels of music knowledge.

To provide a greater understanding and enjoyment of classical music, both traditional and contemporary, and to retain and celebrate our musical heritage.

To partner with neighboring school districts to educate and nurture children in the living arts by providing free, accessible family classical concerts, in-school performances, and recognition of young musicians in the community.

Our History

The first performance of the Newtown Chamber Orchestra was on September 23rd, 1990 at the George School in Newtown, PA.  In October of 1992, the Orchestra began performing at the Lutheran Church of God’s Love, whose ambience, acoustics, and size are well suited to chamber orchestral music.  As attendance and interest increased, the Orchestra was fortunate to arrange for their concert series to be held at the Bucks County Community College Library Auditorium, a lerger venue with theater-style seating and good acoustics that is also accessible to people with disabilities.  Upon invitation, Newtown Chamber Orchestra later returned to the Lutheran Church of God’s Love.  In addition, NCO presents concerts at the historic Newtown Theatre.

The concert season runs from July 1st through June 30th with a three-concert series.  In addition to its regular season, the Orchestra gives special performances at other sites throughout Bucks County and the surrounding area, including Bristol, Newtown, Yardley, and Fairless Hills, PA.

Founders Dr. Russell Hoffmann, Milton Schwartz, M.D., and Craig Smith

In 2000, the Orchestra accepted an invitation to perform in the Santander Music Festival in Spain, and was honored to be the only American professional chamber orchestra participant in the festival.  The 2013 world premiere performance of “Missa de Profunctis,” composed by the late Samuel Bellardo, PhD., remains a highlight of several premiere performances by the Newtown Chamber Orchestra.  The Orchestra has to its credit a CD entitled “Newtown Live,” a collection of selected works of past concerts taken from the NCO archives.