Music Director Jacques Lacombe to end NJSO tenure after 2015–16 season

Oct 8, 2014

Lacombe to lead NJSO for two more exciting seasons

NEWARK, NJ (October 8, 2014)—New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Music Director Jacques Lacombe has announced that, upon the completion of his current contract with the Orchestra, he will step down as the NJSO’s music director in August 2016. Lacombe will continue to lead the NJSO through the completion of the 2015–16 season, which he is currently planning.

Lacombe says: “It has been a real pleasure to serve as music director of the NJSO and to have had a relationship with this remarkable Orchestra since my debut here in 2008. In recent years, my international engagements conducting operas and making guest appearances with orchestras in Europe and in North America have demanded more and more of my time, making it increasingly difficult to reconcile this with my commitment to the NJSO. So, it is with a heavy heart that I tell you that I have decided to step down as music director of the Orchestra following the end of my current contract in August 2016.

“I’m extremely proud of the work that I have accomplished with the NJSO and the creative initiatives that we’ve put in place: the New Jersey Roots Project, celebrating the wealth of composers who have lived and worked in this great state; an interesting array of world and US premieres including new works by composers such as Robert Aldridge, Geri Allen, Richard Danielpour, Tan Dun, Lowell Liebermann and Andre Prévin; the NJSO Edward T. Cone Institute in Princeton, offering a unique training program to support and perform works by young emerging composers, and developing important and original ways of involving other cultural institutions through my programming, including dance, theater, visual arts, choirs and children’s performing groups. In 2012, I got the chance to make my Carnegie Hall debut with the NJSO by bringing the huge Busoni Piano Concerto to the Spring for Music Festival. Our inclusion in that festival was based specifically on the creativeness of the NJSO’s programming, which has also been honored with an ASCAP award from the League of American Orchestras.”

“Most of all,” Lacombe continues, “I’m truly proud of the high level of performances we have achieved and sustained at the NJSO in the last five years. The press has picked up on it with resoundingly favorable reviews, as the audiences certainly have with their warmth and interest. Over the years, with our many performance venues, we have grown something special for the entire community of the Garden State.

“I look forward to two more exciting seasons with the Orchestra. As always, I will continue to dedicate all my energy and passion for music to make each concert a unique and moving experience. Many thanks to all the wonderful people who help me lead this organization: musicians, staff, board members and, above all, our patrons, who have been such incredible supporters of the NJSO and my work with the Orchestra.”

NJSO Board Co-Chairs Ruth Lipper and Stephen Sichak Jr. say: “In his time as NJSO Music Director, Jacques has made an indelible mark on our Orchestra. His celebration of the state’s cultural heritage through the New Jersey Roots Project and partnerships with other cultural organizations have led to some truly inspiring and creative collaborations on stage.

“We are grateful for the ways Jacques has enthusiastically engaged with the audiences and communities we serve, and we are grateful that we will be able to enjoy two more seasons of musical excellence with him and the Orchestra. While we will be sad to see him leave in August 2016, we are proud to see his international career flourish and will certainly cherish each performance over the next two seasons.”

NJSO President & CEO James Roe says: “I have had the unique privilege of working with Jacques both as a member of the Orchestra and as an administrator, and I have seen Jacques chart a bold artistic course for the state’s largest performing arts organization from both sides of the stage. His programming has expanded the concert experience through theatrical and other cross-disciplinary explorations and has brought many new and newly discovered works to the Orchestra’s audiences.

“Jacques has planned many signature thrills for the NJSO’s 2015–16 season, which we are eager to share with our statewide audience. He will leave an unforgettable tenure with the Orchestra.”

Since becoming the NJSO’s Music Director in 2010, Lacombe has garnered praise from critics and audiences for his programming and talents on the podium. This spring, Inside Jersey included Lacombe in “The 100+ Club” of the most influential people in New Jersey, writing: “As music director of the NJSO since 2010, Jacques Lacombe has led the orchestra on one fruitful adventure after another. Honored by Carnegie Hall for adventurous programming, he and the orchestra achieved a stunning success at the Spring for Music festival in 2012—their first appearance at the venue in six years. Lacombe has also initiated the New Jersey Roots Project, showcasing composers with local ties, including jazz artist Geri Allen; excelled in challenging and contemporary music and celebrated the classical masterworks.”

Earlier this year, Lacombe was invested into the Order of Canada for his international career and achievements, as well as his work within the country. The centerpiece of Canada’s honors system, the Order of Canada recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. In 2012, Lacombe received the highest honor Québec’s government can bestow when he was knighted by the National Order of Québec.

The Orchestra’s search for its next music director will begin this season.

Learn more about Lacombe.