Music Director Jacques Lacombe and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) present a special concert program at Carnegie Hall tonight, May 9, at 7:30 p.m. as part of the second-annual Spring for Music Festival. The performance marks Lacombe's Carnegie Hall debut. Pianist Marc-André Hamelin performs Busoni's Piano Concerto. The NJSO gives the Carnegie Hall premiere of Weill's Symphony No. 1, "Berliner," and soprano Hila Plitmann joins the Orchestra for Varèse's Nocturnal. Both the Busoni and Varèse works feature the men of the Westminster Symphonic Choir.
The NJSO is one of six orchestras the Spring for Music Festival selected to perform at Carnegie Hall in the festival's second year; Spring for Music features a performance by one orchestra each night for six nights, May 7–12. Open to orchestras across North America, the festival allows selected orchestras to showcase their artistic philosophies through distinctive and creative programming.
"I like innovations in programming, and this festival is exactly about that," Lacombe says. "The Spring for Music concept allows you to be inventive. I built this program around the massive Busoni piano concerto with Marc-André Hamelin. I've performed the concerto with Marc-André in the past. The Busoni concerto is a marathon for the pianist, and in this type of repertoire, he is one of the best performers in the world."
For the first half of the program, the NJSO Music Director selected works by Kurt Weill and Edgard Varèse, who both studied with Busoni in Berlin. "Busoni was an interesting man; he was a well-established composer, performer, pianist, conductor and teacher. I thought it would be interesting to explore the role he played as a teacher," Lacombe says. "I decided to pair Busoni's piano concerto with the work of two of his students who went in totally different directions in terms of musical aesthetics. Busoni must have been a great teacher to have been able to work with these strong personalities and guide them in their own personal directions."