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This article by Elaine Strauss was prepared for the September 12,
2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Elaine Strauss: Music Preview
The map of the classical music scene for 2001-2002
seems to be on the brink of change. At least that’s how it looks at
the beginning of August, when schedules for the year, with relatively
complete programs, have become available for most performing arts
organizations in the U.S. 1 area. Although opera offerings remain
traditional, and world music remains essentially a grab bag, the shape
of other performances has shifted. Pachelbel’s Canon and Beethoven’s
Fifth Symphony have moved over to make room for the 20th century.
This is a season with as much Bartok as Bach, more Stravinsky than
Schumann, and enough Richard Strauss to fill the three-week New Jersey
Symphony Orchestra festival and flow over into the programs of other
Even within the mainstream of western music between 1700 and 1900,
there has been a shift. Brahms looms larger than usual, and Bach has
receded. Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven are still substantially present.
Concertgoers who view the standard offerings of the 18th and 19th
centuries as a musical life-preserver will have to work hard to avoid
being submerged. Works outside the mainstream have found their way
even into relatively traditional programs, and more and more classical
artists show their attraction to jazz, gospel, and blue grass by what
they perform in public.
In this survey, Boheme Opera offers the most conservative programming
with Verdi’s "Il Trovatore" and Puccini’s "Madama
The State Theatre opera series, also standard repertoire, consists
of "Cosi Fan Tutte," "The Merry Widow," and
Opera Festival of New Jersey enters the winter season with a holiday
production of the much-performed but well-loved "Amahl and the
Night Visitors" by Gian-Carlo Menotti.
In the same conservative class is the programming of Princeton Pro
Musica. The group presents oratorios by Bach, Handel, and Mendelssohn,
plus a program of spirituals, gospel music and early American hymns.
Somewhat less conservative are the generous, varied programs at New
Brunswick’s State Theatre, at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre, and the
Princeton University Concerts in Richardson Auditorium with their
offshoot, the Richardson Chamber Players. For orchestras and operas
go to the State Theatre. For recitals and chamber ensembles go to
McCarter and Westminster Choir College of Rider University. The State
Theatre and McCarter offer, in addition, world music events, with
Irish groups prominent, five of them at the State Theatre, two at
Princeton University Concerts at Richardson
itself with an unusual array of performers. The American String
expands to a quintet and a sextet as it continues its three-year-long
presentation of all the Quintets and Sextets of Mozart and Brahms,
leavened with a selection of Haydn quartets. Catrin Finch, harpist,
and winner of the Young Concert Artists competition appears. Venetian
Extravaganza, a vocal and instrumental group plays 17th century music.
Allan Feinberg, pianist, joins Princeton University Concert manager
Nathan Randall, speaker, in Richard Strauss’ "Tennyson’s Enoch
Arden," a melodrama for piano and speaker. The "Theatre of
Voices" ensemble performs Elizabethan and 20th-century
including the work of Princeton’s Paul Lansky, in a program where
the featured instrument is the theorbo, a 16th-century bass
Westminster Choir College, a big musical resource in the area, opens
its customary, comprehensive year-long schedule on September 23, with
a Schubert Recital by faculty artists Lindsey Christiansen,
with James Goldsworthy, piano. Noteworthy events this season include
a Sharon Sweet recital, October 21, and the three-part Music Heritage
series, directed by Luba Sindler, this year focusing on "Music
of the Americas." Short opera works by Menotti are featured in
November and December, with offerings of "Amahl and the Night
Visitors," "The Old Maid and the Thief," and the one-acts
"Introduction and Goodbyes," "A Hand of Bridge," and
"The Telephone." Christmas as Westminster begins its
run on December 7 with "The Colors of Christmas."
At New Hope’s Concordia Chamber Players, that happy gathering of
musicians, almost half the pieces of the three-concert series are
A vivid example of the shift away from the conventional is the season
of the Community Arts Partnership at the Peddie School (CAPPS),
the Hightstown-East Windsor Concert Association. Abandoning its
of scheduling recitals by rising classical artists, CAPPS sums it
all up in a special performance art event called "Squonk
which blends music, puppetry, humor, projections, and dance. Among
the artists appearing in CAPPS’ five-event Signature Series are
Jubilant Sykes, who has been seen both at the Metropolitan Opera as
well as the New Orleans Jazz Festival; Le Trio Gershwin, a
ensemble; Hesperus and Bonny Rideout, exponents of Scots-Irish
and Cello, a quartet of classically-trained women, whose repertoire
includes new music, classics, jazz and world music.
The concert season at the Institute for Advanced Study goes beyond
CAPPS in incorporating contemporary works. Under the leadership of
composer Jon Magnussen, its artist-in-residence, the Institute
a five-concert series peppered with Magnussen’s music, which tends
to combine acoustic and electronic instruments. Noel Lee, composer
and pianist, appears in the series in December, performing his own
music, as well as Magnussen’s. Mari Kimura, composer and violinist,
who uses both acoustic and electronic violin, plays her own
in a May concert.
The provocative programs of Mark Laycock’s Princeton Symphony
manage to avoid Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Mozart, though some dead
Europeans are included in the five-concert season. Pursuing such
is their established practice. Their inclusion of Haydn’s Symphony
No. 49 ("The Passion") marks their first performance of a
Haydn symphony in more than 15 years. With pianist Anthony Hewitt
the orchestra plays Lowell Liebermann’s 1992 Piano Concerto No. 2.
With violinist Arve Tellefsen, they perform the Sibelius Violin
In addition, in cooperation with the Princeton Theological Seminary,
and with the American Boychoir as soloists, the Symphony performs
a program consisting of 20th century French sacred music along with
the American premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’ "Daytime
which was first heard in Paris in June.
Laycock is a man to watch. Besides being music director
of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, he has been assistant conductor
of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) since November, 2000.
Already known to the NJSO, he is one of the contenders for the job
of Zdenek Macal who announced in January that he would step down as
NJSO’s music director after the upcoming 2001-2002 season. Macal,
who came to the NJSO in 1992, remains at the NJSO as Music Director
Emeritus through 2003-2004. During the 2001-2002 season, he conducts
nine instead of his usual 15 programs. The remaining programs will
be led by guest conductors, in order to expose the orchestra to as
many potential successors as possible.
Macal’s announcement of his resignation took the orchestra by
Vigorous at 65, and enjoying exemplary relations with orchestra
he revealed his intention to leave at an orchestra rehearsal just
before the press conference announcing the 2001-2002 season. The
bears the Macal imprint: a balance between traditional European
fare, weighted towards the music of Macal’s native Czechoslovakia;
and contemporary music, including first performances. In addition,
following his pattern of the last few years, Macal has programmed
a three-week long January festival. This season the festival focuses
on the music of Richard Strauss.
While Macal’s sense of vitality makes him unwilling to talk about
a legacy, he knows that he has shaped the NJSO as it now exists. The
man who hired more than a third of the current NJSO musicians, Macal
says, "I am comfortable that the orchestra is in good shape. As
an institution it’s stable. We’ve reached or surpassed all our goals.
The baby is grown and can walk on its own." He describes his
genius in personal terms. "I have something in my heart, and
I transfer it to the audience." During his years with the
subscriptions have increased from 8,000 to over 25,000.
In a telephone conversation, Lawrence Tamburri, the NJSO’s executive
manager, provides further details about its current status. By the
definitions of the American Symphony Orchestra League, a trade
he says, the NJSO, with its annual budget of $14 million, is now a
Group I orchestra, which puts it in the same class as the New York
Philharmonic. "The NJSO," he says, coining his own custom
term, "is a small large orchestra."
Tamburri is unrattled by studies deploring aging audiences at
concerts. He points out that since a groundbreaking study in the
the average age of classical audiences has remained steady at 57.
"Going to classical concerts," he says, "depends on having
discretionary spending and having time. The people who go to classical
concerts are empty-nesters. They have the time and money they lacked
NJSO concerts in the U.S. 1 area include an eight-concert series at
New Brunswick’s State Theatre, an eight-concert series at Trenton’s
War Memorial, and a four-concert series at Princeton’s Richardson
Auditorium. The overlap among the three series is incomplete.
"God, Mississippi and a Man Called Evers," a world premiere,
is performed in New Brunswick and in Trenton. The composer, Hannibal
Lokumbe, who prefers to be known by the single name Hannibal,
himself in New York’s jazz circles in the 1970s.
A Princeton presence shows itself in the NJSO performances in the
area. Choral director for the Hannibal piece is Donald Dumpson of
Rider University’s Westminster Choir College in Princeton. Princeton
resident Robert Taub solos in Bach’s Piano Concerto in D minor as
part of a program that includes Stravinsky and Dvorak works; that
event takes place only in Princeton.
As an institution, the most interesting outfit to watch this season
is the NJSO. It is a good time to reflect on what Macal has
He has made warmth and passion a benchmark for its sound, and has
brought about a responsive playing environment. It is also a good
time to make some wagers on who might become his successor.
Beyond that, listening to the NJSO means exposure to a mix of old
and new that can simultaneously keep listeners conscious of their
musical roots while expanding their horizons. With the
programming of the NJSO, and the availability of many programming
choices both more and less advanced than NJSO, U.S. 1 concertgoers
have a long menu from which to make their choices.
$15 to $49.
Spain" is highlight in the concert that opens the Princeton season
with conductor Maximiano Valdes and pianist Konstantin Lifschitz.
October 26, 8 p.m.
makes his NJSO debut in the concert featuring Beethoven’s Symphony
No. 2, with Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante. November 23, 8 p.m.
Robert Taub, piano, in Bach’s Piano Concerto in D Minor. January 4,
program of works by Copland, Brahms, and Beethoven, featuring Eric
Wyrick, violin, and Jonathan Spitz, cello. March 15, 8 p.m.
800-ALLEGRO. $14 to $57.
Poulenc’s "Organ Concerto," with soloist Anthony Newman,
on a program with Janacek’s "Sinfonietta" and Khachaturian’s
"Symphony No. 3." Zdenek Macal, conductor. $13 to $57.
16, 3 p.m.
No. 1" and a performance by the winner of the 2001 NJSO Young Artists
Auditions. Conductor is Lawrence Foster. $14 to $57. November 1, 8
Apprentice," Suk’s "Fairy Tales," and Rimsky-Korsakov’s
"Scheherazade." Conductor is Zdenek Macal. $14 to $57.
18, 3 p.m.
featured in a program with Strauss’ "Rosenkavalier Suite,"
"Burleske for Piano and Orchestra," and "Ein
Zdenek Macal, conductor. $17 to $65. January 10, 8 p.m.
"Four Last Songs," and "Symphonic fragment from Josephs
Legende." Zdenek Macal, conductor; Alessandra Marc, soprano. $17
to $65. January 20, 3 p.m.
Concertantes," Barber’s "Violin Concerto," and Brahms’
"Symphony No. 4." Jesus Lopez-Cobos, conductor; Jaime Laredo,
violin. $14 to $57. March 3, 3 p.m.
Leslie Dunner, conductor; Janice Chandler, soprano; NJSO Community
Choir; J. Donald Dumpson, choral director. $14 to $57. March 7, 8
Evelyn Glennie joins the orchestra in a program featuring Schwanter’s
"Percussion Concerto" and Stravinsky’s "Rite of
Marco Parisotto conducts. $17 to $65. April 11, 8 p.m.
$14 to $57.
John Aler, tenor; Ivan Kusnjer, bass; and the Westminster Symphonic
Chorale. September 29, 8 p.m.
by the winner of the 2001 NJSO Young Artists Auditions. Conductor
is Lawrence Foster. November 2, 8 p.m.
teams up the NJSO Community Chorus in a hand-clapping, soul-stirring
holiday program. $10 to $40. November 30, 8 p.m.
a program with Strauss’ "Rosenkavalier Suite," "Burleske
for Piano and Orchestra," and "Ein Heldenleben." January
11, 8 p.m.
No. 1," and "Alpine Symphony." Hermann Baumann, soloist.
January 26, 8 p.m.
including "West Side Story," "Carousel," "The
King and I", and "My Fair Lady." Conducted by Mark
February 8, 8 p.m.
With the NJSO Community Chorus, J. Donald Dumpson, choral director.
March 8, 8 p.m.
percussionist. Marco Parisotto conducts. $17 to $65. April 12, 8 p.m.
to $53. April 19, 8 p.m.
Barber of Seville. George Manahan, conductor, with the New York City
Opera Singers. $14 to $57. April 27, 8 p.m.
takes center stage to perform popular favorites. NJSO does not perform
on this program. $13 to $53. May 3, 8 p.m.
No. 1, "Jeremiah." $14 to $57. May 18, 8 p.m.
Cool Jazz." $13 to $53. May 31, 8 p.m.
Mark Laycock, music director. $24 to $30; students $6 & $8.
featured soloist in the season opener. September 30, 4 p.m.
soloist in a concert featuring Scandinavian works by Nielson,
and Stenhammer. November 4, 4 p.m.
melodies for the whole family. December 16, 4 p.m.
Chasseur maudit" and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4,
January 20, 4 p.m.
Haydn, Pfitzner, and Wagner. Concert given in conjunction with the
Princeton University Art Museum’s exhibition "Anthony van Dyck:
Ecce Homo and The Mocking of Christ." March 17, 4 p.m.
violinist Albert Wang, in a concert featuring works by Martin,
and Thomas. Mark Laycock, music director. April 28, 4 p.m.
York joins the symphony to perform pieces by Bernstein, Piston,
Gershwin, and Tchaikovsky. May 19, 4 p.m.
Greater Trenton Symphony Orchestra
streets, Trenton, 609-396-5522. $15 to $35.
soloist as GTSO celebrates its 80th anniversary season with conductor
Fernando Raucci. Gala Reception at 6:30 p.m. October 6, 8 p.m.
Festival Choir and soloists. November 18, 3 p.m.
the Metropolitan Opera is featured soloist. December 16, 3 p.m.
Rochelle Ellis are featured soloists. December 31, 8 p.m.
play Mendelssohn’s "Italian Symophony." March 10, 3 p.m.
and all students.
soloist as the ensemble in residence continues its survey of all of
Mozart’s Quintets, Brahms’s Quintets and Sextets, and Quartets of
Haydn. Program includes the Clarinet Quintets of both Mozart and
and Haydn’s Quartet in F Minor. September 20, 8 p.m.
the esteemed tenor sax player. September 22, 8 p.m.
"Harp" Quartet, Brahms’ Quartet in A Minor, and the Fourth
Quartet of Bela Bartok. October 11, 8 p.m.
Branker leads the Jazz Ensemble in a celebration of Charles Mingus’s
big band music. October 13, 8 p.m.
season with "Curious Beethoven" featuring three works falling
outside the usual boundaries, including the Septet in E-flat Major.
October 14, 3 p.m.
harpsichordist Richard Egarr present a receital of virtuosic Baroque
music featuring music of Bach, Handel, and their predecessors. Egarr
will perform Handel’s sonata "The Harmonious Blacksmith."
October 25, 8 p.m.
Peoples," a concert of chamber music evoking a wide variety of
places and eras. December 9, 3 p.m.
Nathan A. Randall is a performance of "the Melodrama for Piano
and Speaker: `Tennyson’s Enoch Arden,’" by Richard Strauss.
17, 8 p.m.
the band in a program of new work and old favorites. February 9, 8
by Paul Hillier, features "Love and Metaphysics." February
28, 8 p.m.
Welsh harpist. March 14, 8 p.m.
century. April 4, 8 p.m.
foremost jazz composers and arrangers on the scene. April 20, 8 p.m.
a concert featuring a performance of the complete "L’Histoire
du soldat" and other works by Stravinsky. April 21, 3 p.m.
David Soyer, guests, in Mozart’s Quintet for Two Violins, Two Violas,
and Violoncello. Also Brahms Sextet in B-flat Major. May 16, 8 p.m.
by Princeton’s faculty, students, and guest artists. Director is
D.J. Branker, trumpet. May 18, 8 p.m.
a conductorless ensemble, performs in concert with violin virtuoso
Itzhak Perlman, in a program of works by Ravel, Frank Martin, and
Beethoven. September 25, 8 p.m.
conducts the London string orchestra in a program of works by Mozart,
Dvorak, and Tchaikovsky. October 31, 8 p.m.
opera comedy about the wanderings of the human heart. Sung in Italian
with English supertitles. November 3, 8 p.m.
by award-winning conductor David Robertson, and acompanied by guest
soloist Pamela Frank, violin, performs Copland’s "Appalachian
Spring," Stravinsky’s "Violin Concerto," and Mendelssohn’s
"Italian Symphony." November 5, 8 p.m.
featuring the young violin virtuoso Kyoko Takezawa in the Violin
in D major, with selections from "The Nutcracker." Yuri
leads the orchestra. November 30, 8 p.m.
and Dvorak featuring young musicians, pianist Lucy Parham, and
Nicola Loud. January 29, 8 p.m.
in the form of Franz Lehar’s romantic comedy in a witty English
February 14, 8 p.m.
its American debut featuring duo pianists Katia and Marielle Labeque.
February 22, 8 p.m.
Lirico d’Europa, in Italian with English supertitles. March 22, 8
star Tovah Feldshuh celebrates Passover in a performance combining
a cappella singing and storytelling. March 24, 3 p.m.
comes an "eminent" ensemble performing two of the composer’s
most famous symphonies, "Prague" and "Jupiter." Guest
soloist Ingrid Haebler is featured in the Piano Concerto in B-flat
major. April 21, 7 p.m.
love, madness, and revenge. Friday and Sunday, October 26 and 28.
featuring Yunah Lee as Cio-Cio-San. Friday and Sunday, April 26 and
Concordia Chamber Players
West Bridge Street, New Hope, 215-297-5972. $20.
October 21, 3 p.m.
27, 3 p.m.
Marietta Simpson, Frederick Urrey, and Kevin Deas. Pre-concert lecture
at 3 p.m. October 28, 4 p.m.
presents the seasonal favorite. December 14 and 15, 8 p.m.
Hymns . February 24, 4 p.m.
Ory Brown, Mark Mulligan, and David Arnold. May 4, 8 p.m.
the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and pianist Pamela Frank.
October 29, 8 p.m.
Andsnes on piano. January 28, 8 p.m.
Up the Band." February 1, 8 p.m.
Victor Trent Cook, Rodrick Dixon, and Thomas Young. February 2, 8
South Africa, with guest artist Olu Dara. February 3, 3 p.m.
19, 8 p.m.
February 26, 8 p.m.
and dance music with Yiddish theater songs and American jazz. March
5, 8 p.m.
April 1, 8 p.m.
Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. April 15, 8 p.m.
conductor, and soloist Ingrid Haebler on piano. April 17, 8 p.m.
their fully staged production directed by Albert Bergeret. April 18,
of the Buena Vista Social Club. April 19, 8 p.m.
$15 & $20.
for new dimensions to his classically-trained voice. October 6, 8
returns to pursue his solo career with a distinctive jazz performance.
October 12, 8 p.m.
11, 2 p.m.
Benny Green leads his musical trio in this performance. November 16,
to Peddie after playing across America, Europe, Japan, and Canada.
January 25, 8 p.m.
the South," Claudia Acuna entertains with what Newsday has
as "the voice of an angel." April 5, 8 p.m.
$18 & $22.
with oboe, violin, and harpsichord, featuring Lisa Terry and Emily
Walhout. October 7, 3 p.m.
oboes, violins, and harpsichord. Vocal soloist is Barbara Hollinshead.
January 26, 3 p.m.
Jeanne Fischer, soprano; Lori Gratis, alto; Tony Touttee, tenor; and
Brian Ming Chu, bass. March 10, 3 p.m.
Nassau at Six
Free concert series.
Duo, January 20, 6 p.m.
Stephenson, April 21, 6 p.m.
favorite for families. Also December 8 and 9. Tickets by phone,
or online, www.tickets.com December 7, 8, and 9.
Titusville, 609-406-1803. $10 to $16.50
music from her latest release, "The Subway Series." September
22, 8 p.m.
work "all-original, postmodern, mythic American music."
13, 8 p.m.
1, 8 p.m.
February 9, 8 p.m.