New Jersey Symphony Appoints Sue On as Repertory Orchestra Conductor for the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Resident Youth Orchestra of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University

Oct 6, 2023

NEWARK, NJ—The New Jersey Symphony has named Sue On as Repertory Orchestra conductor for the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Resident Youth Orchestra of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University.

On, who is also a violinist and educator, said, “I am thrilled and honored to work with such a renowned institution that is the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra. I’m looking forward to making music and inspiring the next generation of music lovers!”

One of four ensembles within the larger Youth Orchestra, the Repertory Orchestra is newly formed for the 2023–24 season and provides students with large ensemble experience and skills necessary for advancement into the Academy Orchestra.

In this new position, On will work closely with Diego García, youth orchestra artistic director, to oversee, program and conduct the Repertory Orchestra, a new intermediate-level symphonic orchestra.

“I am delighted to welcome Sue On to the Youth Orchestra artistic team,” said García. “She will be an asset to the young musicians in the Repertory Orchestra, guiding them through new challenges and helping the orchestra thrive.”

The Repertory Orchestra conductor also works as an educator, partnering with the associate conductor & curriculum specialist (Terrence Thornhill) to make sure the ensemble meets specific curriculum goals and participates in recruitment activities, including community- and school-based workshops.

Sue On is currently the artistic director of the Lakeland Youth Symphony and the conductor of its Symphony Orchestra ensemble; the artistic director and conductor of the Rowan Youth Orchestra and the Rowan Youth String Orchestra at Rowan University’s Community Music School; and the concertmaster of the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra.

She studied conducting with the New York Grand Opera’s founder and esteemed Juilliard professor, Vincent La Selva, and jazz violin with Grammy Award-winning violinist, Scott Tixier. She is also a board member of the NJ Chapter of American String Teachers Association and most recently joined the advisory board for the Denville Arts Council.

About the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Resident Youth Orchestra of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University

The New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Resident Youth Orchestra of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, gives students in grades 4–12—especially Black and Latino youth in the Greater Newark area—unparalleled opportunities to achieve personal and musical excellence. Weekly coaching by Symphony musicians and a supportive peer-to-peer environment provides quality learning and performing experiences and builds a unique culture of collaboration. The achievements of this program and its impact on the lives of these young musicians have received national recognition from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Youth Orchestra brings together students of all skill levels who share a passion for music. There are four performing ensembles that are sequential in level, creating a pathway for students to flourish and grow under the guidance of the Symphony’s expert faculty. Students in Academy Orchestra, Repertory Orchestra, String Ensemble and Training Ensemble perform two full concerts each year and participate in masterclasses and workshops with renowned guest artists. In addition to great music making, benefits of the program include individualized instruction and musicianship training, volunteer opportunities, additional performance opportunities for advanced students and complimentary tickets to select Symphony concerts.

Youth Orchestra annually serves more than 200 students from 11 counties across northern and central New Jersey. Students who play orchestral instruments can apply for membership in the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Generous sponsors and donors make the New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Resident Youth Orchestra of the Cali School, program possible including Frank and Lydia Bergen Foundation, Broadbridge Foundation, Marjorie Bunnell Charitable Fund, Richard H. Holzer Memorial Foundation, The Harold I. and Faye B. Liss Foundation, M&T Bank, Merck Foundation, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, NJM Insurance, Pio Costa Foundation, Turrell Fund, Verizon and Victoria Foundation.

New Jersey Symphony

The Emmy and Grammy Award-winning New Jersey Symphony is redefining what it means to be a nationally leading, relevant orchestra in the 21st century. The Symphony is renewing its deeply rooted commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by championing new, and often local, artists; engaging audiences for whom the inspiring depth and breadth of classical music will be a new experience; and incorporating the broadest possible representation in all aspects of our organization-all to better reflect and serve our vibrant communities. Since 2021, Music Director Xian Zhang has worked together with composer, violinist, educator and social-justice advocate Daniel Bernard Roumain, the orchestra's Resident Artistic Catalyst, to offer programming that connects with diverse communities in Newark and throughout New Jersey.

Internationally renowned Chinese American conductor Xian Zhang began her tenure as the New Jersey Symphony's current Music Director in 2016. Since her arrival at the New Jersey Symphony, Zhang has revitalized programming with an industry-leading commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in mainstage concerts. In its second century of bringing concerts to the people of New Jersey, the Symphony will present audience favorites in 2023–24 including Dvořák's "New World" Symphony, Orff's Carmina Burana, Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, violinist Joshua Bell leading the orchestra in Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto and pianist Daniil Trifonov playing Gershwin's Concerto in F. New Jersey Symphony co-commissions include works by internationally-renowned living composers: Anna Clyne's ATLAS and Jessie Montgomery's Snapshots. Composers Rob Kapilow and Daniel Bernard Roumain will present world premieres.

For more information about the New Jersey Symphony, visit or email Tickets are available for purchase by phone 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or on the Orchestra's website.

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The New Jersey Symphony's programs are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, along with many other foundations, corporations and individual donors.