Armchair Music: Hungary

Celebrating the orchestral music of the diverse cultures in the New Brunswick area, the New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra focuses on Hungary in a concert at the Hungarian American Athletic Club, 233 Somerset Street, New Brunswick, Saturday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m. Celebrating New Jersey’s talented young musicians, the program includes performances by three young artists who won January’s Young Artists Competition. The NBCO, a professional ensemble, has been in existence since 1960. Artistic director Mark Trautman conducts.

The names of competition winners are distinctly non-Hungarian. First prize winners who will perform are 17-year-old cellist Cecille deLaurentis of Somerset, 14-year-old Hiroko Sunamura of Pennington, and 10-year-old Victoria Qian of Flemington. They will play concerto movements by Franz Joseph Haydn, who produced the bulk of his string quartets, symphonic and operas while in the service of the Hungarian Esterhazy family. Also offered by competition winners is music by Italian Luigi Boccherini.

Runners-up in the competition, which was open to all New Jersey students, are 15-year-old violinist Kathleen Sun of East Brunswick; 14-year-old Melissa Lisbao of Highland Park, and 11-year-old Yunhee Kang of Basking Ridge. The 2008 contest was the first after a five-year hiatus. Competitors are divided into three categories based on age: 15-18; 12-14, and under 12.

The March 1 program includes Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, Nos. 4 and 5, Leo Wiener’s “Divertimenti for String Orchestra” and songs for soprano and baritone from Ferenc Lehar’s operetta, “The Merry Widow.”

Two visual counterparts to the music are available in New Brunswick. “The Magyar Imagination,” an exhibit covering two centuries of Hungarian art at Rutgers’ Zimmerli Museum runs until March 30. “Magyar Grafika,” a display of Hungarian posters, advertising and ephemera takes place at the Museum of the American Hungarian Foundation from March 16 to September 14.

— Elaine Strauss

Music in the Hungarian Tradition, New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, Saturday, March 1, 7:30 p.m., Hungarian American Athletic Club, 233 Somerset Street, New Brunswick. Music by Brahms, Lehar, and Weiner, plus Young People’s Concerto competition winners. $17. 732-249-6999 or www.newbrunswickchamberorchestra.org

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