Dr. Susan Haig was the 4th Musical Director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra (WSO), becoming the first female to hold the position. During her 10-year term (1991-2001), Haig elevated the profile of the WSO on a national level, and established a reputation for being innovative and collaborative.
Under Haig’s direction, the WSO fulfilled a number of accomplishments. In 1992, the Windsor Symphony Orchestra Chorus was officially incorporated into the WSO organization.
The following year, the WSO became the first orchestra to perform at the CBC Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. In partnership with the University of Windsor, the WSO helped to organize the first Windsor Canadian Music Festival in 1995-6. In 1997, the WSO performed as the feature orchestra at the Cabot 500 Festival in Newfoundland, and two years later Haig directed the WSO’s first full-length album recording. For her contributions to art and culture in Windsor, Haig was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in the Humanities from the University of Windsor, as well as the Mayor’s Award for the Arts. Haig also received national recognition for her cultural influence when she was presented with Canada 125 Citizenship Medal in 1992.
Haig was born and raised in Summit, New Jersey. She earned a Bachelor of Music Theory from Princeton University, and then pursued graduate work at Stony Brook University in New York where she completed a Master of Music degree in Piano and Conducting, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting. Prior to her work with the WSO, Haig held a number of positions with prestigious musical ensembles, including the Juilliard American Opera Centre (1981-83), the Minnesota Opera (1983-84), the New York City Opera (1984-86), the Santa Fe Opera (1986), the Canadian Opera Company (1986-88), and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (1988-89).
Since leaving the WSO in 2001, Haig has been the Musical Director for the South Dakota Orchestra, Associate Conductor for the Florida Orchestra in St. Petersburg, and is currently serving as conductor of the South Orange Symphony Orchestra in New Jersey. She is also the founder and creative director of CivicStory. This non-profit news organization in New Jersey produces short videos which highlight citizens’ positive impact on their communities.
“Biography.” Susan Haig (n.d.).
“Creative Team.” CivicStory (n.d.).
“The History of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra.” Windsor Symphony Orchestra (n.d.).