Founder & Executive Director Gregory W. Heltman was born in Los Alamos and grew up in Santa Fe. He began playing the trumpet at age nine and continued his studies with Gene Kuntz, former trumpeter with the Metropolitan Opera and Santa Fe Opera orchestras.Greg graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree cum laude from the University of the Pacific, where he studied with Dale Fjerstad. He then moved to the New York area where he studied with Mel Broiles of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. In 1981 he moved to Venezuela, where he taught trumpet for the famous “El Sistema” Orchestra de Juvenile program. Then, he and his wife Elaine moved to Israel for two years, where he was a member of the Israel Sinfonietta.
In 1984 they moved back home to Santa Fe, where he founded The Santa Fe Symphony that same year. From 1988–1999, while The Symphony was becoming established, he was also an Elementary School Music Educator for the Santa Fe Public Schools. Greg has performed with the Stockton Symphony, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and The Santa Fe Opera, and was principal trumpet and Assistant Orchestra Manager with the Hidden Valley Chamber and Opera Orchestra.
In addition to performing on the trumpet, Greg is the Director of the Santa Fe Concert Band as well as the Executive Director of The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. The Heltmans have a son, Mark, who has recently begun his college years.
What a wonderful joy it is to take a break from our day-to-day digital world and be fully immersed in a live Symphony concert at The Lensic. It is the connection between our musicians on stage and you, our audience, that truly brings great music to life. As we share the performance with family and friends, neighbors and visitors—young and old alike—the music lets our spirits soar, touches our hearts, and inspires our imaginations.
In this season’s program book, we are proud to highlight the many ways The Symphony brings that experience to our community and Northern New Mexico, as well as nationally through the PBS LearningMediaTM online library. Every year we present over two dozen performances, ranging from our subscription series at The Lensic to free youth programs for Santa Fe–area schools, performances at retirement homes and senior centers, and holiday concerts for everyone at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.
While selecting the photos of youngsters, instrumentalists, horisters, and guest performers to tell our story, we couldn’t help but smile. We feel so much appreciation for our ticket buyers and supporters who, together, provide the financial capacity for our musical endeavors. As ticket sales and special events only account for about forty percent of our budget, we can’t thank you, our patrons, enough for filling the gap.
Whether you are a first-time ticket buyer or have attended our concerts since our debut in September of 1984, I warmly invite you to enjoy another year of great music with The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus.
Gregory W. Heltman
Founder & Executive Director
Just as Greg handles the day-to-day logistical and artistic operations of The Symphony, our Principal Conductor Guillermo Figueroa directs The Symphony Orchestra itself in the majority of our season concerts, beginning in January 2017.