Steve Collins is driven by a deep belief in the transformative power of great music and the symphony orchestra’s ability to positively impact community development. He began his tenure with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in 2014, first as the orchestra’s Director of Artistic Operations and Administration, then Executive Director, and currently as President and CEO. During his tenure Collins has successfully guided the HSO through the pandemic crisis, navigated a radically changing cultural environment and financial landscape, and enhanced the HSO’s role as a leading regional arts organization. Collins has served as a champion of artistic development, working with HSO Music Director Carolyn Kuan to infuse performances with digital media content, engage audiences in imaginative ways in-person and online, redesign and contemporize concert series, establish the position of Assistant Conductor, and create opportunities for community collaboration.
Additionally, Collins spearheaded an organization-wide realignment with community resources including the negotiation of critical agreements, the development of closer cooperation between the Board of Directors, staff, musicians, and community partners, and created the organization’s first diversity, equity and inclusion committee, including critical staffing and programming commitments. He has moved the organization toward financial vitality, including the successful completion of a$10M capital campaign and increasing endowed funds by more than 140%. Most recently, Collins was named the 2018 Non-profit Executive of the Year by the Hartford Business Journal and in 2021 received the University of Hartford’s Anchor Award for Impact on Social Responsibility and Civic Engagement. He is the Chairman of the League of American Orchestras Group 3 orchestra executives and an ex-officio member of the League’s Board of Directors. He is also Chairman of the University of Hartford’s Hartt School Board of Trustees and Julius Hartt Musical Foundation.
Formerly Executive Director of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra and Education Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Collins has successfully raised over $4 million in endowment support and project funding, revitalized orchestra operations, and created education programming serving more than 40,000children and families annually throughout Connecticut. Collins also served as Librarian and Educational Consultant for the Greater Bridgeport Symphony, where he implemented the first fully integrated educational program in the organization’s history. Additionally, Collins was Project Manager for Collins Construction Company, where he managed commercial renovation and new construction projects up to 100,000 square feet. Collins is the 2014 Elizabeth L. Mahaffey Arts Administration Fellow, a distinction of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. He also enjoyed performing as a percussionist with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Greater Bridgeport Symphony Orchestras, Goodspeed Musicals, and varied chamber ensembles across the tristate area. Collins holds a bachelor’s degree in Music with a major in percussion performance from the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford.