The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra today announced its programs for the 2010-11 season of classical, Best of ..., pops and family concerts. The season, which kicks off September 14 with a Gala Opening Night Celebration featuring violinist Joshua Bell and soprano Jeanine De Bique, marks the beginning of Jacques Lacombe's tenure as the NJSO's 13th Music Director. The wide-ranging opening night program showcases Lacombe's love of music from orchestral to opera and ballet.
The 2010-11 season exemplifies the high artistic standards and thoughtful programming that have made the NJSO one of the region's cultural treasures; in addition to 12 weeks of traditional classical programs, there are four Best of ... presentations, four pops programs and three family concerts.
Lacombe said, "The excitement for this season is palpable. Over the last few months, I have immersed myself in the opportunity to shape my first season as NJSO Music Director, and I have discovered so much about the cultural richness of New Jersey. It is an honor to unveil a season full of new initiatives, magnificent classics and plenty of surprises. I cannot wait to present this fabulous music alongside our talented musicians, and I am also excited to delve into the NJSO's incredible Education and Community Engagement programs."
The Orchestra introduces many new artistic initiatives throughout its 2010-11 programs, including the New Jersey Roots Project, which celebrates composers born in or influenced by the Garden State. The season also marks the inauguration of a multi-year Winter Festival exploration entitled "Man & Nature: Exploring Elements in Music." The festival's 2011 series, "Water," launches on January 7 and features works from Claude Debussy to Tobias Picker; percussionist David Cossin performs Tan Dun's unique Water Concerto, which features the element itself as an instrument. NJSO Conductor Laureate Neeme Järvi returns to the NJSO podium during the Water-themed Winter Festival to conduct a program featuring Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake Suite, Elgar's Sea Pictures and Dvo?ák's The Water Goblin.
In a season celebrating new works, the NJSO presents Daniel Bernard Roumain's (DBR) Symphony for Dreamers, Dancers and Presidents, a Sphinx Consortium commission, and the Orchestra's three-concert Family series features the world premiere of Bruce Adolphe's Carnival of the Creatures, narrated by the composer.
The NJSO builds on its successful partnership with Opera New Jersey, presenting Madama Butterfly in collaboration with the opera company in February. The Orchestra teams with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center to present the worldwide success Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring-Howard Shore's award-winning score will be performed live by more than 200 musicians, complimented by a screening of the epic film above the stage.
In addition to highlighting several of the orchestra's own principal musicians, the season will feature an outstanding international roster of guest artists including Lang Lang, Yefim Bronfman, Vadim Gluzman, Marc-André Hamelin and Michael Feinstein.
Standard classical subscription programming continues at NJPAC in Newark, the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Richardson Auditorium in Princeton and the Community Theatre in Morristown. The NJSO's successful Best of ... series continues with four creative programs highlighting Mozart, Spanish Flair, Ballet and-this year's Winter Festival theme-Water. The NJSO presents the series at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, bergenPAC in Englewood and the Community Theatre in Morristown.
NJSO President and Chief Executive Officer André Gremillet said, "It has been a privilege to work alongside Jacques as we have crafted his first season as the Orchestra's Music Director. His passion for his new home state and country, and his desire to celebrate it, comes through in every one of the NJSO's 2010-11 concert series. I am so excited for our diverse audiences as they have this chance to become acquainted with such a natural leader and phenomenal musician.
"I am also thrilled with Jacques' commitment to education and his desire to be involved in all of the NJSO's artistic endeavors and programs. Audiences will be able to get acquainted with him during POPS, Classical, Best of ... and Family concerts."
The 2010-11 season is the NJSO's first with Music Director Jacques Lacombe. The new music director has put his own unique stamp on a season featuring innovative programs and a renewed commitment to celebrating the cultural richness of New Jersey.
The NJSO announces the New Jersey Roots Project-a multi-year commitment to performing world-class music from composers who were either born in New Jersey or whose time spent in the Garden State has significantly influenced their artistic identity. This season, the project highlights the music of Robert Aldridge (the world premiere of his Suite from Elmer Gantry, September 14), Edward T. Cone (Concerto for Violin and Small Orchestra, November 27-28; Dover Beach, January 13-16), Peter Maxwell Davies (Caroline Mathilde, June 2-5), Tobias Picker (Old and Lost Rivers, January 7-9), Behzad Ranjbaran (Seemorgh: Persian Trilogy for Orchestra, February 25-27) and Roger Sessions (The Black Maskers Suite, October 28-31).
Winter Festival odyssey-"Man & Nature: Exploring Elements in Music." From our earliest origins to the Renaissance thinkers through modern times, humankind has observed its most common and constant companion: nature. Artists of all stripes-from composers to painters, sculptors, writers and photographers-have forged those observations into a universe of works honoring nature's essential elements. Beginning with the Winter Festival 2011, the NJSO launches a multi-year odyssey through the elements, exploring the symbolic power of seemingly simple substances that have inspired composers for centuries. The opening series of this new multi-year winter festival explores the musical characteristics of water. From the rolling swells and open ocean of Claude Debussy's La Mer to the contemplative reflections of Tobias Picker's Old and Lost Rivers, water is depicted both literally and symbolically.
Week I - WATER! From the River to the Sea. Best known for his score to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, composer Tan Dun's unique Water Concerto incorporates the element as a musical instrument for a mesmerizing concert experience. Debussy captures the ever-changing moods of the ocean-serene, playful, turbulent-in La Mer, while Picker conjures a powerful sense of place in Old and Lost Rivers. January 7-9.
Week II - Best of Water. Elusive and enticing, water captures the imagination. January 13-16. See details for this program under the Best of ... heading in this release.
Week III - WATER! Fantasy & Fables. Magical fables in lakeside settings: Dvo?ák's menacing Water Goblin abducts innocent souls; Tchaikovsky's celebrated Swan Lake Suite tells a story of love and transformation. Elgar's Sea Pictures sing of the danger and allure of the ocean. January 21-23.
The Orchestra also explores the rich heritage of American music. Each NJSO series includes works by American composers like George Gershwin ("Summertime," September 14; Lullaby, November 5-7; Cuban Overture, March 17-20), Aaron Copland (Canticle of Freedom, September 24-26; El Salón México, March 17-20; Appalachian Spring, June 2-5), Leonard Bernstein (Fancy Free, June 2-5), Samuel Barber (Symphony No. 1, April 7-10), John Williams ("A Salute to John Williams," April 16-17) and Bruce Adolphe (Carnival of the Creatures, February 12).
The NJSO is one of 13 leading orchestras nationwide that comprise the Sphinx Commissioning Consortium (SCC), an initiative that highlights Black and Latino composers and encourages diversity in classical music. The Sphinx Organization, a national non-profit organization, administers the program. Lacombe leads the NJSO in the SCC's second annual commission, Haitian-American composer Daniel Bernard Roumain's Symphony for Dreamers, Dancers and Presidents. April 7-10.
Further emphasizing both the wealth of artistic talent in New Jersey and the importance of artistic collaboration, the NJSO partners with several New Jersey arts institutions. Opera New Jersey and the NJSO continue a partnership formed last year with a co-production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly in Princeton and Newark. (February 4 and 11). The Orchestra performs with the Westminster Symphonic Choir (September 24-26) and the Montclair State University Chorale and The American Boychoir (May 20-22). It presents the 14th annual UJA Benefit Concert for the United Jewish Communities of MetroWest (May 15). The NJSO also presents multiple programs in collaboration with NJPAC ("Lang Lang with Your NJSO," September 22; "Video Games Live," December 29-30; "Madama Butterfly," February 11; "Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring," June 17-19) and the State Theatre ("A Salute to John Williams," April 17).
Highlights: Classical Concerts
In addition to the abovementioned classical initiatives, the NJSO hosts a superlative selection of world-class soloists-superstars, rising young virtuosos and gifted players from the orchestra itself- to headline its classical concert programs this season.
· Interview Magazine once wrote that Joshua Bell's playing "does nothing less than tell human beings why they bother to live." The star violinist headlines the NJSO's Gala Opening Night Celebration, Jacques Lacombe's first performance as the NJSO's 13th Music Director. September 14.
· Lang Lang, "the most popular pianist on the planet" according to CNN, tackles Beethoven's epic Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor," in a special concert presented in collaboration with NJPAC. September 22.
· "Marc-André Hamelin ranks among the small handful of performers in every generation whose abilities defy the imagination," says The Toronto Star. The pianist returns to the NJSO stage for a performance of Mozart's lively Concert Rondo in D and Strauss' witty Burleske. March 24, 26-27.
· Vadim Gluzman "hot-wired the heart" of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto "so it felt intensely alive," reported The Star-Ledger after the violinist's 2008 performance with the NJSO. Gluzman returns to perform Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. April 7-10.
· Yefim Bronfman, the Grammy Award-winning pianist whom The New York Times says possesses a "chameleonlike ability to subsume himself in the music," plays Brahms' First Piano Concerto. November 5-7.
· Di Wu, who dazzled NJSO Best of ... audiences in 2008 with a sensitive reading of the second movement of Beethoven's Second Piano Concerto, performs Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2. October 28-31.
· Ray Chen-the youngest participant in the 2009 Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition-garnered the Belgian competition's first prize. The 20-year-old Curtis artist brings youthful passion and mature virtuosity to Mendelssohn's irresistible Violin Concerto with NJSO. September 30-October 3.
· Concertmaster Eric Wyrick, a favorite of NJSO audiences, solos in a colorful concerto by Edward T. Cone, the prominent Princeton composer and theorist, as part of the New Jersey Roots Project. November 27-28.
· Best of Mozart highlights the talents of NJSO principal musicians: Bart Feller (flute), Robert Ingliss (oboe), Lucinda-Lewis (horn) and Robert Wagner (bassoon) perform Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for Flute, Oboe, Horn and Bassoon, while Karl Herman (clarinet) performs a movement from the composer's Clarinet Concerto.
BEST OF ...
The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra is unique among major American ensembles in bringing its programs to a diverse array of communities around the state. Ever responsive to the needs of its audiences, the NJSO inaugurated its four-concert Best of ... series during the 2008-09 season, adding fresh opportunities for New Jersey listeners to hear the Orchestra in a unique performance setting. The series was a great success in its first two seasons, exceeding projected ticket sales.
Best of ... programs are thematically based, offering both connoisseurs and newcomers an opportunity to experience the joys of classical music. Narration and theatrical elements provide context and entertainment. Each Best of ... program lasts approximately 75 minutes, offering complete works and movements-some familiar, some rare and unusual-from larger pieces in the NJSO's repertoire.
The Best of ... series has been tailored to the needs and preferences of listeners in each of these four communities. The NJSO performs each program in a matinee performance at bergenPAC in Englewood and in evening performances at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton and Community Theatre in Morristown. In a successful initiative, the NJSO will offer Trenton subscribers the option to purchase a pre-concert supper at the War Memorial.
· Best of Mozart: Beyond the mystique of Mozart-his astonishing precocity and early demise-lies the music itself, revealed here in its kaleidoscopic moods. A heavenly serenity infuses the themes of the Clarinet Concerto and his last symphony, "Jupiter," while his First Symphony, composed at the age of 8, bursts with youthful energy. October 14-17.
· Best of Water: Elusive and enticing, water captures the imagination. Handel's festive Water Music paints a scene of courtly elegance, while Smetana's "The Moldau" reminds us of the powerful nostalgia that a river can evoke. Strauss's Blue Danube Waltz is both lilting and engaging; Mendelssohn's "Fingal's Cave" vividly depicts the rugged coast of Scotland. January 13-16.
· Best of Spanish Flair: This sizzling program reveals the soul of Iberia. Romantic selections from Bizet's Carmen and Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez offer a view from the Old World. Latin-American rhythms pulse through Gershwin's Cuban Overture, Copland's El Salón México and Falla's Three-Cornered Hat. March 17-20.
· Best of Ballet: Ballet has the power to transcend time, place and even the force of gravity. It can tell stories or simply express the essence of music. Best of Ballet brings together an alluring selection of choreographic favorites, including excerpts from The Nutcracker, The Firebird, Appalachian Spring, Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun and Fancy Free. June 2-5.
· Happy Holidays with the Canadian Brass: This fun-filled program of carols and classics celebrates the sounds of the season. By popular demand, the spirited brass quintet Canadian Brass returns with its special brand of lighthearted humor and holiday spirit-fun for the whole family! December 11.