NJSO and DreamPlay Films present concert film featuring world premiere from Daniel Bernard Roumain, plus works by Michael Abels, Mahler, Mozart

Nov 18, 2020
  • Premieres Nov 19 at 7:30 pm at njsymphony.org and on NJSO social media channels
  • Roumain’s i am a white person who _____ Black people composed in response to “fight for social justice”
  • Abels is famed for scores to Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Us
  • Music Director Xian Zhang conducts
  • Film directed by Yuri Alves
  • Produced by DreamPlay Films
  • Available on demand after premiere

NEWARK, NJ—The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra presents the world premiere of an NJSO commission by Daniel Bernard Roumain alongside works by Michael Abels, Mahler and Mozart in a free virtual concert film that premieres November 19. Music Director Xian Zhang conducts. The film is directed by award-winning, Newark-raised filmmaker Yuri Alves and produced by DreamPlay Films, part of Newark-based DreamPlay Media.

The concert premieres on November 19 at 7:30 pm at njsymphony.org/dbr and on the NJSO’s YouTube and social channels; it will be available on demand.

i am a white person who _____ Black people, the new work by Roumain, was commissioned and composed “during a series of overlapping crises in our lives: a pandemic; a global fight for social justice; the effects and awareness of climate change; an array or economic collapses; and the tyranny of an electoral process under siege by a president and his party,” the composer writes. “As a Black, Haitian-American composer, every commission offers a choice.

“The titles of my work often speak to my feelings and (political) position. With i am a white person who _____ Black people, I am extending what has traditionally been my choice given to any white person: how do you see me and other BIPOC people, and what choice of word or phrase best reflect your opinion of Black people? Your choice, in part, reflects who you are.”

Abels’ Delights & Dances features a quartet of soloists from the Sphinx Organization, which champions emerging Black and Latinx artists—violinists Rubén Rengel and Jannina Norpoth, violist Dana Kelley and cellist Thomas Mesa. Abels has risen to national attention with his stirring scores for Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Us.

The program also includes the Adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony and Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major, K. 136.

To provide a high-quality video and audio experience on audiences’ televisions and speakers, DreamPlay Media captured the performance with cinema cameras. Longtime NJSO audio engineer and multiple Grammy Award winner Tim Martyn recorded and mixed the audio for the concert, which was recorded on stage at NJPAC in Newark in October.

Zhang says: “I am so looking forward to making music with my NJSO colleagues again, and I am thrilled to share these special programs. Presenting new and rarely performed works that represent the diversity of our culture is very important, and we are proud to give this world premiere by Daniel Bernard Roumain.”

Director Yuri Alves says: “My goal is to capture the spirit, energy and the beauty of this music. I want to honor and elevate the NJSO’s amazing live performances on the big screen, and to bring the audience closer to the orchestra than ever before. And to do so in my hometown of Newark is extra special.”

Producer Igor Alves says: “I think this project will entertain the NJSO audience and hopefully entice broader, newer, more diverse audiences. I am proud of Yuri and the unstoppable DreamPlay team, and quite excited by the potential of our partnership with NJSO—this initial release shows that through collaboration, talent and innovation, you can overcome the tough conditions of this moment and put out high-caliber creative work.”

This film is the first NJSO virtual concert film that will be streamed online and made available on demand as part of NJSO Virtual 20–21, the Orchestra’s digital season. For more information, visit njsymphony.org/virtual.



An NJSO Concert Film Produced by DreamPlay Films

Thu, Nov 19, at 7:30 pm

Xian Zhang, conductor
Rubén Rengel, violin
Jannina Norpoth, violin
Dana Kelley, viola
Thomas Mesa, cello
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

Yuri Alves, director
Igor Alves, producer
DreamPlay Films
Tim Martyn, audio producer

DANIEL BERNARD ROUMAIN i am a white person who _____ Black people (World Premiere, NJSO Commission)
MAHLER Adagietto from Symphony No. 5
MOZART Divertimento in D Major, K. 136
MICHAEL ABELS Delights & Dances

Sponsored by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.


Yuri Alves

Filmmaker Yuri Alves has written and directed films, primetime television programs and commercial projects in the US and Europe. Alves’ films have screened at over 100 film festivals worldwide, earning 20 awards. Alves’ projects include Grind, On the Cusp and Exit Road and the European primetime television series “Tempo Final” and “Filha da Lei.” Alves is the co-founder and creative director of DreamPlay Media and served as head of production at Fox Digital Studios. Alves is represented by the agency Brawler Los Angeles. Alves was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Portuguese parents, and raised in Newark, New Jersey. For more, visit yurialves.com | Instagram: @yurialvescinema.


DreamPlay Films

DreamPlay Films develops and produces narrative and documentary films, television programming and more. DreamPlay Films is a division of DreamPlay Media, an original and creative media company, based in Newark, NJ. For more, visit dreamplayfilms.com | dreamplaymedia.com.


New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

Named “a vital, artistically significant musical organization” by The Wall Street Journal, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra embodies that vitality through its statewide presence and critically acclaimed performances, education partnerships and unparalleled access to music and the Orchestra’s superb musicians.

Music Director Xian Zhang—a “dynamic podium presence” The New York Times has praised for her “technical abilities, musicianship and maturity”—continues her acclaimed leadership of the NJSO. The Orchestra presents classical, pops and family programs, as well as outdoor summer concerts and special events. Embracing its legacy as a statewide orchestra, the NJSO is the resident orchestra of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and regularly performs at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick, Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Richardson Auditorium in Princeton, Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and bergenPAC in Englewood. Partnerships with New Jersey arts organizations, universities and civic organizations remain a key element of the Orchestra’s statewide identity.

In addition to its lauded artistic programming, the NJSO presents a suite of education and community engagement programs that promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music. Programs include school-time Concerts for Young People and the NJSO Youth Orchestras family of student ensembles, led by José Luis Domínguez. NJSO musicians annually perform original chamber music programs at community events in a variety of settings statewide through the NJSO Community Partners program.

The Orchestra’s online hub for free NJSO Virtual 20–21 content is njsymphony.org/virtual.

Connect with Us:
Website: njsymphony.org
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @NJSymphony
YouTube: @NewJerseySymphony
Email: information@njsymphony.org

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 | vmccabe@njsymphony.org


More Info for Daniel Bernard Roumain & Mozart: An NJSO Concert Film
Nov 19, 2020 
2020-21 Season

Daniel Bernard Roumain & Mozart: An NJSO Concert Film

Produced by DreamPlay Films

Free! Watch it on demand after the premiere.

XIAN ZHANG conductor

YURI ALVES director
IGOR ALVES producer
TIM MARTYN audio producer

Join us for the world premiere of Daniel Bernard Roumain’s i am a white person who ____ Black people, a new NJSO commission. Soloists from the Sphinx Organization take center stage for Michael Abels’ Delights & Dances. Abels has risen to national attention with his stirring scores for Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning film Get Out and Us. This program includes audience favorites Adagietto from Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major, K. 136.

Premieres Nov 19 at 7:30 pm and is available on demand after the premiere.