NJSO Special Announcement

A Message from Music Director Xian Zhang

To the patrons of the NJSO,

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

I wanted to share an important NJSO update about the new ways we wish to connect with you during this time of social distancing.

Due to the effects of this horrible pandemic, the NJSO has been left with no choice but to cancel all scheduled live in-person concerts and events through June 2021. This is not news I am happy to share; I very much want to be on stage with our musicians performing live in concert for you. But your safety, along with the safety of our musicians and staff, is most important, and we must continue to develop ways to engage with you. I know many of you are affected by the concert cancellations.

Please visit this webpage to learn your ticket options for these canceled concerts. As an attractive incentive for you to help during these challenging times, all donations of canceled concert tickets will be matched by the Ryan family. On behalf of the entire NJSO, I thank Art Ryan and the Ryan family for their generous creation of this $500,000 Ryan Family Challenge!

NJSO Virtual 20–21

We do have great things on the horizon, even though we cannot see you in the hall at this time. I am excited to announce NJSO Virtual 20–21. This specially designed digital season will include new virtual orchestra concerts, NJSO at Home videos and a number of other exciting programs.

We will kick off on October 29 with the debut of a new full-orchestra video featuring the final movements of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. This was my first time virtually conducting our NJSO musicians since the pandemic started, and it was inspiring to be a part of its creation. While we are not on stage for this video, music creates an amazing connection, and I think you will find joy in listening to this powerful piece.

Announcing Virtual Concert Programs

I’m thrilled to announce that the NJSO will be back in Prudential Hall at NJPAC in October. A socially distanced reduced-size orchestra will perform together on stage for the first time this season. We wish you could be there with us, so we are doing the next best thing to make you feel part of the action: we’ve partnered with Newark-based DreamPlay Media to produce virtual concerts! This will be nothing like you’ve seen from the NJSO, and best of all, it will be free for you to enjoy on your preferred social media channels and the NJSO website.

In the first program, which will debut on November 19, we will give the world premiere of Daniel Bernard Roumain’s i am a white person who ____ Black people, a new NJSO commission. We’ll perform Michael Abels’ Delights & Dances with soloists from our friends at the Sphinx Organization. This program will also feature the Adagietto from Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major, K. 136.

The program we will share on January 14 will feature an audience favorite—Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings. For Coleridge-Taylor’s Deep River, we have an extra-special treat to say thank you to all our audiences across the state. For the very first time, I will perform on the piano during an NJSO concert, joined by Concertmaster Eric Wyrick on violin. Rounding out the performance will be Still’s Mother and Child and Puccini’s I Crisantemi.

February will bring our third annual Lunar New Year Celebration! This event has meant so much to me, and I’m so glad that we will be able to offer such an experience to all communities of New Jersey. We will once again partner with the Peking University Alumni Chorus and Starry Arts Group Children’s Chorus to provide a very rich program. In addition to the digital concert on February 6, we’ll have virtual activities celebrating Lunar New Year traditions all week leading up to the performance! I hope all of New Jersey will celebrate this great holiday with us.

More Great Programs & Collaborations

I am thrilled to share two exciting new artistic partnerships. Our musicians will perform scenes from Michael Raphael’s Emmett Till oratorio in collaboration with Trilogy: An Opera Company, a Newark-based opera company that highlights works by Black composers. And, in the first part of a collaboration with the Paper Mill Playhouse, NJSO musicians and Broadway veteran Rema Webb will give a virtual performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

The NJSO Youth Orchestras will begin their 30th anniversary season in October with virtual rehearsal sessions, under the leadership of Artistic Director José Luis Domínguez. In addition to working on orchestral repertoire with NJSO musician coaches, the ensembles of the Youth Orchestras will contribute to a yearlong creative composition project. We will share student performances on digital platforms throughout the season, culminating in a celebration of this magnificent milestone for the program.

More to Be Announced!

This is a major undertaking for everyone involved at the NJSO, but it is just the beginning for NJSO Virtual 20–21. Starting next week, we will share a monthly schedule of digital concerts and events so you can always know what your NJSO is up to and make your plans to watch these latest performances!

I want to take a moment to thank our NJSO musicians. Their dedication to creating musical content and serving our communities has been remarkable. Thank you for everything you have done and will be doing moving forward. We must continue to keep music alive in New Jersey, and I have no question the NJSO will step up to that challenge!

Please stay safe and well,


Xian Zhang
NJSO Music Director

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To encourage and make a greater impact in receiving ticket donations, Art Ryan and the Ryan Family have challenged the NJSO to convert $500,000 of canceled tickets into ticket donations, which will be matched by their generous gift.

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Ticket Options

Learn more about your ticket options for canceled performances. We are committed to providing the best possible solution to your canceled concert tickets.

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Special Announcement FAQs

Read the FAQs regarding the canceled performances.

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NJSO Virtual 20–21

A specially designed virtual season featuring orchestral concerts and a number of other exciting programs!

More Info

Watch, Listen & Learn

Listen to concert broadcasts, watch NJSO musicians share performances, insight, tips on technique and more.

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The Nov 19 concert is sponsored by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.

The Paper Mill Playhouse series is sponsored by JCP&L/FirstEnergy Foundation and PNC Bank.

This page was last updated October 19, 2020 at 12 pm.