New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Xian Zhang announce 2021–22 season

June 28, 2021
  • Orchestra returns to mainstage subscription concerts after pandemic-related cancelations
  • Resident Artistic Catalyst Daniel Bernard Roumain opens season with Voodoo Violin Concerto, closes season with world premiere of new commission
  • Artist-in-Residence Daniil Trifonov performs Brahms’ First Piano Concerto and Mason Bates’ Piano Concerto in two engagements
  • NJSO performs world premieres of works by Wynton Marsalis and Michael Abels, US premiere of co-commission from Thomas Adès, East Coast premieres of Conrad Tao’s Spoonfuls and Christopher Rouse’s Bassoon Concerto
  • Principal Horn Chris Komer premieres jazz concerto commissioned from jazz composers Vivian Li, Christian McBride, Gary Morgan and Paquito D’Rivera
  • Juan Pablo Jofre and Concertmaster Eric Wyrick perform Jofre’s Double Concerto for Violin and Bandoneon
  • Season highlights living composers including Jessie Montgomery, Samy Moussa, Nokuthula Ngwenyama, Joan Tower
  • Aaron Dworkin narrates his spoken-word multimedia work The American Rhapsody, set to Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Symphonic Variations on an African Air, in season finale
  • NJSO and NJPAC co-present Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsPart 1
  • Orchestra presents mainstage productions in Newark, New Brunswick, Princeton, Red Bank and Morristown
  • njsymphony.org

Newark, NJ—The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Xian Zhang announce the Orchestra’s 2021–22 classical season and return to mainstage concerts after pandemic-related cancelations. The new season features Artist-in-Residence Daniil Trifonov in concertos by Brahms and Mason Bates; world premieres from Resident Artistic Catalyst Daniel Bernard Roumain, Michael Abels, Wynton Marsalis and a quartet of jazz composers; a weekend of all five Beethoven piano concertos with Louis Lortie; return engagements by Augustin Hadelich, Conrad Tao and Karen Gomyo and solo turns by NJSO musicians.

Embracing its identity as a statewide orchestra, the NJSO offers classical series in Newark, New Brunswick, Princeton, Red Bank and Morristown. NJSO performances will follow safety measures in partnership with these venues and based on the guidance provided by the CDC and the State of New Jersey.

Zhang says: “The Orchestra and I cannot wait to perform for our audiences in person again. This season speaks to our time, with many important voices of today, and celebrates great musical traditions of the past and present. We are so proud to welcome Resident Artistic Catalyst Daniel Bernard Roumain and Artist-in-Residence Daniil Trifonov for powerful programs that will deepen their connections with our audiences across New Jersey.”

The season opens with Daniel Bernard Roumain performing his own Voodoo Violin Concerto with Zhang at the podium. The program features the world premiere of a new co-commission from Michael Abels, as well as Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony.

For the season finale, the NJSO gives the world premieres of NJSO commissions from Roumain and—in a unique French horn concerto commissioned for Principal Horn Chris Komer—jazz composers Vivian Li, Christian McBride, Gary Morgan and Paquito D’Rivera. The Orchestra’s partnership with the Sphinx Organization brings Sphinx’s founder, Aaron Dworkin, to New Jersey stages for his spoken-word multimedia work The American Rhapsody, which tells the story of America through the words of George Washington, set to Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Symphonic Variations on an African Air. The program concludes with Gershwin’s An American in Paris.

Daniil Trifonov performs on two weeks of subscription programs, performing Brahms’ First Piano Concerto and a new concerto Mason Bates is writing for him, under Zhang’s baton. Trifonov’s yearlong residency begins with a performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in EMERGE Part 3: An NJSO Concert Film on June 30.

The season features the world premiere of a fanfare for brass and percussion commissioned from Wynton Marsalis, the US premiere of a co-commission from Thomas Adès (Shanty – Over the Sea), the East Coast premiere of a co-commission from Christopher Rouse (Bassoon Concerto) and the East Coast premiere of Conrad Tao’s Spoonfuls for Piano and Orchestra, performed by the composer.

The Orchestra celebrates pathbreaking composers of the past and present, including Jessie Montgomery (Starburst), Joan Tower (Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 1), Louise Farrenc (Overture in E Minor) and Vivian Li (commissioned to write a movement of a jazz French horn concerto). The NJSO brings Nokuthula Ngwenyama’s Primal Message, which received its East Coast premiere this April in EMERGE Part 1: An NJSO Concert Film, to the mainstage.

Other living composers featured on the season include Juan Pablo Jofre (Double Concerto for Violin and Bandoneon) and Samy Moussa (Nocturne).

In a much-anticipated appearance postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic, Louis Lortie performs Beethoven’s complete piano concertos across four concerts in a single weekend with Zhang conducting.

Audience favorite Augustin Hadelich returns for Chevalier de Saint-Georges’ Violin Concerto in A Major, Op. 5, No. 2, and Beethoven’s Romance for Violin and Orchestra No. 2. Karen Gomyo performs Mozart’s Third Violin Concerto.

The season highlights the talents of the Orchestra’s musicians. Principal Horn Chris Komer gives the world premiere of an innovative jazz French horn concerto the NJSO commissioned from four jazz composers. Principal Bassoon Robert Wagner gives the East Coast premiere of the late Christopher Rouse’s Bassoon Concerto, which the NJSO co-commissioned from the composer in honor of Wagner’s 40th-anniversary season with the NJSO in 2019.

Concertmaster Eric Wyrick performs Juan Pablo Jofre’s Double Concerto for Violin and Bandoneon with the composer under the baton of internationally renowned conductor and composer José Luis Domínguez, who makes his NJSO mainstage debut. The season also sees solo turns for Principal Flute Bart Feller in Nielsen’s Flute Concerto, Principal Cello Jonathan Spitz in Saint-Saëns’ First Cello Concerto, Assistant Principal Flute/Piccolo Kathleen Nester in Vivaldi’s Piccolo Concerto in C Major and Associate Concertmaster Brennan Sweet and Assistant Principal Viola Elzbieta Weyman in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola.

Other season highlights include Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter”; Stravinsky’s Petrushka (1947); Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony, First Piano Concerto, Capriccio italien, Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture and Suite from Swan Lake; Ravel’s Boléro; Saint-Saëns’ “Organ” Symphony; Mendelssohn’s Fourth Symphony, “Italian”; Gershwin’s An American in Paris and Copland’s Lincoln Portrait.

A pair of special concerts continue NJSO traditions. The Orchestra hosts a festive Lunar New Year Celebration in Newark to ring in the Year of the Ox. In the next installment of the Harry Potter Film Concert Series, the NJSO and NJPAC co-present Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 in Concert.

The NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute—a partnership between the Edward T. Cone Foundation, Princeton University and the NJSO—takes place in July. Composers Elise Arancio (Wake), Kevin Day (Tango Oscuro), Erin Graham (Increase) and Jared Miller (Under Sea, Above Sky) will have their work rehearsed by the NJSO and guest conductor Ludovic Morlot, participate in masterclasses with Institute Director Steven Mackey, receive feedback from NJSO musicians and participate in sessions with industry leaders. It concludes with an NJSO performance of the participants’ works at NJPAC in Newark.

Classical subscriptions are now on sale for the 2021–22 season. Full information on ticket packages for each series and venue is available at njsymphony.org/subscribe. Subscriptions are available for purchase online or by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476). Single tickets will go on sale in August.

 

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra 2021–22 Season Highlights

  • Opening Weekend: The NJSO welcomes Resident Artistic Catalyst Daniel Bernard Roumain to open the mainstage season with his Voodoo Violin Concerto. Music Director Xian Zhang also conducts the world premiere of a new co-commission from Michael Abels, alongside Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. Oct 8–10.
  • Premieres & Commissions: Xian Zhang conducts world premieres of NJSO commissions from Daniel Bernard Roumain and—in a unique French horn concerto commissioned from four jazz composers—Vivian Li, Christian McBride, Gary Morgan and Paquito D’Rivera for the season finale (June 11–12). She leads the world premieres of co-commissions from Michael Abels (Oct 8–10) and Wynton Marsalis (Jan 22–23). The Orchestra gives the US premiere of a co-commission from Thomas Adès (Jan 14–16), the East Coast premiere of a co-commission from Christopher Rouse (Apr 8–10) and the East Coast premiere of Conrad Tao’s Spoonfuls for Piano and Orchestra, performed by the composer (Apr 28–May 1).
  • Contemporary voices: Alongside commissions from Daniel Bernard Roumain, Vivian Li, Christian McBride, Gary Morgan and Paquito D’Rivera (June 11–12) and co-commissions from Michael Abels (Oct 8–10), Thomas Adès (Jan 14–16) and Wynton Marsalis (Jan 22–23), the season features music by living composers including Roumain (Voodoo Violin Concerto, Oct 8–10), Jessie Montgomery (Starburst, Nov 4–7), Joan Tower (Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 1, Jan 22–23), Samy Moussa (Nocturne, Feb 18–20), Juan Pablo Jofre (Double Concerto for Violin and Bandoneon, Feb 26–27), Mason Bates (Piano Concerto, Mar 10–13), Nokuthula Ngwenyama (Primal Message, Apr 8–10) and Conrad Tao (Spoonfuls for Piano and Orchestra, Apr 28–May 1). Visionary Sphinx Organization founder Aaron Dworkin presents his spoken-word multimedia work The American Rhapsody, set to Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Symphonic Variations on an African Air (June 11–12).
  • Popular works of the repertoire: Highlights include Beethoven’s Second (Oct 14–17) and Seventh Symphonies (Oct 8–10) and complete piano concertos (Mar 31–Apr 3); Mozart’s Third Violin Concerto (Feb 18–20), Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola (June 2–5) and Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter” (Apr 8–10); Stravinsky’s Petrushka (Jan 14–16);(Brahms’ First Piano Concerto (Nov 4–7); Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony (Feb 26–27), First Piano Concerto (Apr 28–May 1), Capriccio italien, Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture and Suite from Swan Lake (Mar 10–13); Ravel’s Boléro (Mar 4–6); Saint-Saëns’ “Organ” Symphony (Feb 18–20); Mendelssohn’s Fourth Symphony, “Italian” (June 2–5); Gershwin’s An American in Paris (June 11–12) and Copland’s Lincoln Portrait (Jan 22–23).
  • Statewide performances: Fulfilling its mission as New Jersey’s state orchestra, the NJSO presents classical programming at NJPAC in Newark, State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick, Richardson Auditorium in Princeton, Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank.
  • Collaborations: The Orchestra’s partnership with the Sphinx Organization brings Sphinx’s founder, Aaron Dworkin, to New Jersey stages for his spoken-word multimedia work The American Rhapsody, set to Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Symphonic Variations on an African Air (June 11–12). NJPAC co-presents Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 in Concert in Newark (Oct 30).
  • NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute: The Orchestra continues the NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute—a partnership between the Edward T. Cone Foundation, Princeton University and the NJSO—in July 2021. Composers Elise Arancio (Wake), Kevin Day (Tango Oscuro), Erin Graham (Increase) and Jared Miller (Under Sea, Above Sky) will have their work rehearsed by the NJSO and guest conductor Ludovic Morlot, participate in masterclasses with Institute Director Steven Mackey, receive feedback from NJSO musicians and participate in sessions with industry leaders in publishing, networking, promotion and music preparation to give participants a foundation for a successful career in composition. It concludes with an NJSO performance of the participants’ works at NJPAC in Newark. July 19–24.

Guest and Featured Artists

The NJSO welcomes world-class soloists, rising young virtuosos and gifted players from the Orchestra itself—to headline its concert programs.

  • NJSO Resident Artistic Catalyst Daniel Bernard Roumain is “[a]bout as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (The New York Times). He performs his own Voodoo Violin Concerto to open the season (Oct 8–10) and composes a new work for the season finale (June 11–12).
  • Artist-in-residence Daniil Trifonov “is, no other word, a phenomenon” (The Guardian). In two weeks with the Orchestra, he performs Brahms’ First Piano Concerto (Nov 4–7) and a new concerto Mason Bates is writing for him (Mar 10–13).
  • The Star-Ledger writes that “when it’s just [Augustin Hadelich] and the violin, the physical world recedes. All you experience is the music. Hadelich somehow brings you back in time.” The NJSO audience favorite violinist returns for Chevalier de Saint-Georges’ Violin Concerto in A Major, Op. 5, No. 2, and Beethoven’s Romance for Violin and Orchestra No. 2. Oct 14–17.
  • The New York Times has praised Conrad Tao’s “fiercely individual performances.” The “fearless” pianist and composer returns for Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto and the East Coast premiere of his own Spoonfuls for Piano and Orchestra. Apr 28–May 1.
  • Karen Gomyo is “an amazing talent, inhabiting the music and bringing it to life,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. She performs Mozart’s Third Violin Concerto with the NJSO. Feb 18–20.
  • Louis Lortie provides “vital and living proof that you can maintain an individual and distinctive voice while remaining scrupulously true to the composer,” writes Gramophone. He brings that voice to all five of Beethoven’s piano concertos across a single weekend. Mar 31–Apr 3.
  • Principal Horn Chris Komer gives the world premiere of an innovative jazz French horn concerto, a work the NJSO commissioned from four jazz composers—Vivian Li, Christian McBride, Gary Morgan and Paquito D’Rivera. June 11–12.
  • Principal Bassoon Robert Wagner gives the East-Coast premiere of Christopher Rouse’s Bassoon Concerto, a work the NJSO co-commissioned in honor of Wagner’s 40th season with the Orchestra in 2019. Apr 8–10.
  • Concertmaster Eric Wyrick performs Juan Pablo Jofre’s Double Concerto for Violin and Bandoneon with the composer. Internationally renowned conductor and composer José Luis Domínguez—artistic director of the NJSO Youth Orchestras—conducts. Feb 26–27.
  • Principal Flute Bart Feller performs Nielsen’s Flute Concerto on a program that also features Principal Cello Jonathan Spitz performing Saint-Saëns’ First Cello Concerto. Mar 4–6.
  • Assistant Principal Flute/Piccolo Kathleen Nester performs Vivaldi’s Piccolo Concerto in C Major, and Associate Concertmaster Brennan Sweet and Assistant Principal Viola Elzbieta Weyman perform Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola. June 2–5.

Specials

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsPart 1 in Concert: The end begins. Harry, Ron and Hermione go hunting for Horcruxes in part one of the epic finale Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™ in Concert. Relive every harrowing moment as Harry and his friends rush to face Voldemort for the last time, with the full film accompanied by the NJSO in an experience you’ll never forget. WIZARDING WORLD and all related trademarks, characters, names and indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s21) Harry Potter™ concerts are presented in collaboration with New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Presented by CINECONCERTS. Oct 30 at NJPAC in Newark.
  • Lunar New Year Celebration: Celebrate the Year of the Tiger as the NJSO continues a tradition that welcomes all audiences for a festive evening of community and cultural exchange. Soloists, performers and program details to be announced. Jan 29 at NJPAC in Newark.

Bank of America is proud to support the NJSO Resident Artistic Catalyst. DBR as Resident Artistic Catalyst is made possible in part by Judith Musser. Daniil Trifonov as Artist-in-Residence is made possible by Judy and Stewart Colton.

 

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra connects with the people and diverse communities of New Jersey through the power of live symphonic music to inspire, entertain and educate. Internationally renowned Music Director Xian Zhang has garnered critical acclaim on the podium and has deepened the NJSO’s commitment to presenting diverse voices that reflect the communities the Orchestra serves.

The NJSO embraces its legacy as a statewide orchestra through mainstage and chamber performances at venues across New Jersey, as well as partnerships with fellow Garden State arts organizations, universities and civic organizations. The Orchestra’s education and community engagement programs promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NJSO has made virtual performances and educational online programs available for free, reaching more than 10 million people across the Orchestra’s digital channels. NJSO Concert Films pair world-class NJSO performances with stunning imagery of the people and cityscapes of New Jersey. The NJSO has presented innovative programs with fellow arts organizations, community ensembles and statewide partners. Musicians perform solo and chamber works from iconic New Jersey locations in NJSO Everywhere. NJSO at Home spotlights intimate at-home performances, instrument demonstrations, educational videos and hours of concert recordings.

The NJSO Youth Orchestras have not only continued virtual instruction but have introduced an entirely new dimension to the program. Students are working together on a yearlong creative composition project—a uniquely engaging opportunity for students to explore their own musical voices and shape new works that draw from all the genres that inspire them.

The safety of our patrons, musicians and staff is of the utmost importance to the NJSO. Please visit njsymphony.org for constantly updated details focused on attendees’ well-being at our performances.

The Orchestra’s online hub for free musical content is njsymphony.org/virtual.

Connect with Us:
Website: njsymphony.org
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @NJSymphony
YouTube: @NewJerseySymphony
Email: [email protected]

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’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.

 

Press Contact

Victoria McCabe, NJSO Director of Public Relations & Communications | 973.735.1715 | [email protected]

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