Tue May 16, 2017

NJ.com: ‘Passion and precision combine in season-best performance’

NJ.com writes that “the NJSO -- under maestro Xian Zhang -- delivered one of their best concerts of the season, and certainly the most impassioned performance of any one piece, thanks to their guest soloist, Jennifer Koh,” in its review of the Orchestra’s May 13 performance at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank.

The outlet writes:

Koh's playing throughout showed a range of colors and personalities, from sweet to downright earthy. What's more, she performed in a state of total focus, rarely looking up to the audience, but rather looking down intensely at her instrument, her cropped bob of black hair whipping around her as she played ...

The American-born violinist made her debut with the NJSO eleven years ago. Since then, she has recorded numerous CDs, toured as a soloist in Philip Glass' "Einstein on the Beach," and last year was named Musical America's "Instrumentalist of the Year." She's a dynamic artist, and credit goes to Zhang and the NJSO -- not just for booking her for these concerts, but for matching her talents.  This was a performance that brimmed with passion and musical insight.

After intermission, Zhang and NJSO had a hard act to follow, but they did with forceful but polished account of Schubert's Symphony  No. 9 in C-major ... With Zhang conducting, the long symphony flew by with crisp, articulate phrasing and firm tempi. It's a masterfully written piece of music, and Zhang made the development and emergence of Schubert's themes clear, without ever sound stuffy or overthought ...

Overall, this was also one of the NJSO's best efforts of the season. Not surprisingly it earned a big ovation from the audience who no doubt would have stayed for more music rather than face the stormy night outside.

» Read the full review at www.nj.com