It is a simple fact that the numerous music presenters in the region share no fixed number of scheduled events during a single season. For example, while Princeton University Concerts lists six full-blown series, the new Hub City Opera and Dance Company in New Brunswick is focusing on an exemplary single presentation.
Nevertheless, the cumulative result is an astounding number of high-quality musical opportunities for area listeners between now and spring, 2019.
The just noted Princeton University Concerts (PUC) annually delivers varied presentations plentiful enough to crowd your calendar — and that of Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium.
A PUC innovation this season is the three-concert “Crossroads” series, which feature world music. The November 8 opening concert features the guzheng, a plucked Chinese string instrument with movable bridges. For this presentation guzheng musician Wu Fei will be joined by banjo player Abigail Washburn.
In addition to the PUC’s full concerts are a chamber music series, the intimate six “Performances Up Close” concerts where musicians and audience share the stage at Richardson Auditorium, two family concerts, and two Richardson Chamber Players concerts.
There are also two special events: Vocalist Bobby McFerrin on September 21 and opera mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato on March 10.
The previously mentioned Hub City, in contrast, catapulted into the music scene last season with a polished performance of Carl Orff’s “Der Mond,” now available on YouTube. The company presents another lesser-known work, Zoltan Kodaly’s Hungraian folk opera “Hary Janos,” in April.
The formidable New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) has 11 concerts scheduled for Princeton and/or New Brunswick; with energetic music director Xian Zhang conducting eight of them.
A handful of premieres punctuate the NJSO programs in our area. The Newark-based orchestra has several premier programs, including important 20th-century African-American composer Florence Price’s “Piano Concerto” at New Brunswick’s State Theater on December 1 and contemporary American composer Andrew Norman’s co-commissioned Cello Concerto at Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium on March 22.
Other noted NJSO offerings include a presentation of “Messiah,” December 14; soprano Dawn Upshaw performing in the orchestra’s premiere of American composer Maria Schneider’s “Winter Morning Walks,” January 18; and Princeton composer Steve Mackey’s “Four Iconoclastic Episodes,” a concerto for violin and electric guitar — with Mackey performing on the guitar — on May 17. All take place in Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium.
Several presenters are including unusual instruments in their programs. That includes the theorbo, a large lute with an extended neck featured during La Fiocco Baroque Ensemble’s All Saints Church in Princeton concert on October 27; and Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain, and Edgar Meyer display their mastery of, respectively, banjo, tabla, and bass fiddle at Princeton’s McCarter Theater on November 12.
Also at McCarter, Grammy winning jazz vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant performs on November 18, and the a cappella King’s Singers from England celebrates their 50th anniversary with a program with works ranging from the Renaissance to pop, December 19.
Focusing on players, rather than their instruments is the Trenton-based Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey, performing at the Trenton War Memorial. On January 26 the Capital Phil devotes two entire performances to young instrumentalists: a “Youth Orchestra Festival” consisting of 30-minute performances by three young performing groups and a concert combining musicians from area youth orchestras into a single entity.
At its October 20 concert Capital Phil joins other organizations honoring the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein, who died in 1990. Bernstein gave the very first series of classical music lectures on television, and was one of the first American-educated conductors to build a worldwide reputation.
By the way, the aforementioned Florence Price’s “First Violin Concerto” will be presented by the Capital Philharmonic on February 24.
Beethoven lovers will relish the October 27 and 28 marathon of all of his piano concertos activated by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO). Inon Barnatan first plays numbers 1, 2, and 4 and, less than 24 hours later, sends numbers 3 and 5 on their way. The PSO is also honoring Leonard Bernstein with a celebratory concert weekend, September 29 and 30. Both concerts are at Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium.
Meanwhile the Bravura Philharmonic’s season gets started with a “Fall Fantasia,” a concert featuring soprano Anna Kosachevich performing a medley of Broadway songs and the orchestra performing works by Rossini, Tchaikovsky, and a Sousa March. It takes place at the Princeton Alliance Church in Plainsboro on September 30.
Fans of musical theater have ample choices this season. Leading the pack in offerings is New Brunswick’s State Theater, where addicts can choose among five shows: “Menopause” (November 10), “The King and I” (December 14), “Chicago” (February 15 and 16), “Finding Neverland” (March 22), and “Rent” (April 2 and 3).
Following closely, Rider University’s Westminster College of the Arts has scheduled three musicals: “Oklahoma,” October 10 to 14; Steven Sondheim’s “Assassins,” February 27 to March 3; and “The Will Rogers Follies,” May 1 to 5. And McCarter Theater is also presenting a musical work: the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players and Orchestra production of “Pirates of Penzance,” February 9.
Opera lovers will also have several opportunities to satisfy their tastes. Interestingly, some producers of opera have not yet made decisions as U.S. 1 goes to press. However, Boheme Opera is also saluting Leonard Bernstein with a production of his one-act opera “Trouble in Tahiti,” October 28, and then back to their classic repertoire with a full production of Verdi’s monumental opera “Aida,” April 5 and 7.
The Princeton Festival has already declared for John Adams’ “Nixon in China,” dates to be announced, dates to be announced. And Westminster Choir College will perform Mozart’s “Magic Flute” on November 30 and December 1.
By the way, opera fans will want to know about the activities of Princeton Friends of Opera and their various events and activities that strengthen opera in the region. Check out the group’s website at princetonfriendsofopera.org.
Princeton Pro Musica savors its 40th anniversary season with the following concerts: “To Music, To Joy,” Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium, November 4; “Joy to the World,” Patriots Theater at the Trenton War Memorial, December 9; “Carmina Burana” at Richardson Auditorium,” March 17; and an “Anniversary Season Finale” at Princeton University Chapel on May 4.
Those attracted to choral music will want to note Princeton Chapel Choir’s performance of the Brahms “German Requiem” on April 6. The Chapel Choir will present its Christmas season performances on December 2 and 12.
Elsewhere, the various choirs at Rider’s Westminster Choir College various concerts offer high quality presentations throughout the year. Yet there are a few standouts, including the annual “Evening of Readings and Carols” at Princeton University Chapel and the Westminster Symphonic Choir’s performance of Handle’s “Messiah,” conducted by Westminster alumnus and Metropolitan Opera music director Yannick Nezet-Sequin with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, December 6, 8, and 9.
The Dryden Ensemble, a group that harvests programs from the 17th and 18th centuries using period instruments, presents two Bach events at Princeton Theological Seminary’s Miller Chapel. The “Bach Cantata Fest” takes place on October 21, and a Bach Organ Recital is set for November 10.
And finally the Institute for Advanced Study’s Edward T. Cone Concert Series continues to provide free concerts featuring international artists and groups. The new season’s schedule includes the Vox Clamantis Choir from Estonia. October 19 and 20; Canadian-born American composer, cellist, and “one person orchestra” Zoe Keating, November 30 and December 1; celebrated American opera tenor and Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago co-founder Nicholas Phan, February 1 and 2; and actor Paul Lazar and the innovative Brooklyn-based Sandbox Percussion, March 8 and 9.
With so many varied offerings, it all points to another simple fact, our musical artists and organizations enrich our region by bringing a world of music home to our region.
101 Scotch Road, Ewing, 609-392-6409. www.1867Sanctuary.org.
Hannah Murphy Classical Guitar. $20. Wednesday, September 12.
David Cullen. $20. Friday, September 21.
Songs I’ll Never Sing, Roles I’ll Never Play: A Miscast Cabaret. $20. Saturday, September 22.
North Sea Gas. $20. Sunday, September 23.
Chamber Music. $20. Saturday, September 29.
Daniel Galow. $20. Saturday, October 27.
Clipper Erickson: American Music. $20. Sunday, November 4.
Alexandre Djokic and Roburt Gajdos. $20. Wednesday, November 14.
All Saints Church, 16 All Saints Road, Princeton, 917-747-6007. www.lafiocco.org.
La Fiocco Period Instrument Ensemble. Instrumental and vocal selections featuring countertenor Daniel Moody and period ensemble including baroque harp. $10-$25. Saturday, October 27.
La Fiocco. Featuring countertenor Daniel Moody. $60. Saturday, October 27.
Boheme Opera NJ
Mayo Concert Hall, The College of New Jersey, Ewing. www.bohemeopera.com.
Trouble in Tahiti. One-act opera followed by a selection of other works by Leonard Bernstein. Sunday, October 28.
Princeton Alliance Church, 20 Schalks Crossing Road, Plainsboro, 609-933-4729. www.bravuraphil.org.
Fall Fantasia. Featuring works by Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Sousa, plus a Broadway medley by soprano Anna Kosachevich, $15-$30. Sunday, September 30.
Capital Philharmonic Orchestra
Trenton War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive, Trenton, 215-893-1999. www.capitalphilharmonic.org.
Opening Night. Celebrating the legacy of Leonard Bernstein. $30-$65. Saturday, October 20.
Brazilian Song Bird, Virtuoso of Joy and Serenity. Featuring Carla Maffioletti, soprano coloratura. $30-$65. Friday, December 28.
Capital Singers of Trenton
Church of the Sacred Heart, 343 South Broad Street, Trenton. www.capitalsingers.org.
Winter Songs XII. Songs of the season. Sunday, December 2.
St. David’s Episcopal Church, 90 South Main Street, Cranbury. www.capitalsingers.org.
Chorale. Sunday, November 4.
Miller Chapel, Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, 609-466-8541. www.drydenensemble.org.
Bach Cantata Fest. Two cantatas and arias for voice, oboe, string, and continuo. $25. Sunday, October 21.
Solo Organ Recital. Organist Eric Plutz performs an all-Bach program. $25. Students free. Saturday, November 10.
Greater Princeton Steinway Society
Jacobs Music, 2540 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence. www.steinwaysocietyprinceton.org.
Sunday Musicale. Kairy Koshoeva with works of Bach, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff. Sunday, October 14.
Sunday Musicale. Inessa Gleyzerova-Shindel and Galina Prilutskaya with works by Chopin, Rachmaninov, and Moszkowski. Sunday, November 18.
Institute for Advanced Study
Wolfensohn Hall, Einstein Drive, Princeton, 609-734-8000. www.ias.edu.
Vox Clamantis Choir. From Estonia. Register. Free. Friday and Saturday, October 19 and 20.
Zoe Keating. Canadian-born American composer, cellist, and “one person orchestra.” Register. Free. Friday and Saturday, November 30 and December 1.
NJ Symphony Orchestra
Richardson Auditorium, Princeton. www.njsymphony.org.
Augustin Hadelich. $20-$92. Friday, November 2.
State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7469. www.stnj.org.
Beethoven’s 9th and George Walker’s “Lyric for Strings.” $20-$80. Saturday, October 6.
“Rhapsody in Blue” and “The Firebird.” $20-$80. Saturday, December 1.
Princeton Pro Musica
Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University, 609-683-5122. www.princetonpromusica.org.
To Music, To Joy. Princeton Pro Musica performs works by Williams, Brahms, Debussy, and Beethoven. $10-$60. Sunday, November 4.
Princeton University Art Museum. www.princetonsingers.org.
Heartland. Complementing the special exhibition “Nature’s Nation” with music of the American Heartland, including works by William Billings, Theolonius Monk, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, and Samuel Barber’s a cappella reworking of his “Adagio for Strings.” Saturday, September 29.
Princeton Society of Musical Amateurs
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, Route 206 at Cherry Hill Road, Princeton. www.princetonol.com/groups/psma.
Choral reading of Faure’s “Requiem and Cantique de Jean Racine.” No auditions necessary. Members and students sing free. Guests $10. Send an email to email@example.com. Sunday, October 14.
Princeton Symphony Orchestra
Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University. www.princetonsymphony.org.
A Bernstein Celebration. Music from West Side Story and Candide. Saturday, September 29.
A Bernstein Celebration. Conductor Rossen Milanov with Daniel Rowland on violin and soprano Meghan Picerno. Pre-concert talk at 3 p.m. Sunday, September 30.
Beethoven Piano Concertos. Inon Barnatan performs three of Beethoven’s five concertos for piano and orchestra. Saturday, October 27.
Beethoven Piano Concertos. Beethoven’s Concertos Nos. 3 and 5. Guest conductor Marcelo Lehninger and pianist Inon Barnatan. Pre-concert talk at 3 p.m. Sunday, October 28.
Rachel Barton Pine Plays Paganini. Also music by Janacek and Stravinsky. Rossen Milanov conducts. Pre-concert talk at 3 p.m. Sunday, November 18.
Princeton University Chapel
The Phantom of the Opera. Silent film starring Lon Chaney with organ accompaniment by Michael Britt. $10. Friday, October 12.
Visiting Artist: Stephen Buzard. Concert organist and director of music at St. James Cathedral, Chicago, performs. Free. Monday, October 15.
Organ Concert. Works by Dubois, Faure, Langlais, Lefebure-Wely, and Vierne performed by Eric Plutz. Free. Friday, November 16.
Harp Extravaganza. Students of Elaine Christy in recital. Free. Wednesday, November 28.
Princeton University Concerts
Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University, 609-258-2800. www.princetonuniversityconcerts.org.
Bobby McFerrin. $15-$45. Friday, September 21.
Jerusalem String Quartet. With Pinchas Zukerman on viola and Amanda Forsyth on cello. Thursday, October 11.
Schubert Cello Quintet. Wednesday, October 17.
Baby Got Bach. Family concert. Saturday, November 3.
Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei. On banjo and guzheng. Thursday, November 8.
Richardson Chamber Players. Sunday, November 11.
Simon Bolivar String Quartet. Sunday, December 2.
Martin Frost and Henrik Mawe. Music for clarinet and piano. Thursday, December 13.
Princeton University Music Department
Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University. music.princeton.edu.
Riley Lee, Shakuhachi. Traditional and modern music for the Japanese bamboo flute. Thursday, September 20.
Orchestra of the Accademia Teatro Alla Scala. Presented by the Princeton University Orchestra. Tuesday, October 23.
From Rio to Brooklyn. An ensemble of performance faculty, guest artists, and students perform. Sunday, November 11.
Taplin Auditorium, Princeton University. www.music.princeton.edu.
Guest Recital. Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin, and Donna Weng Friedman, piano. Free. Sunday, November 18.
Aizuri Quartet. Performing works by Princeton University graduate and faculty composers. Tuesday, November 27.
Princeton University Orchestra
Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University. orchestra.princeton.edu.
Season opener. Music of Sejourne, Bernstein and Berlioz. Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21.
Concert. Music of Copland, de Falla, and Debussy. Thursday and Friday, December 6 and 7.
Kirkpatrick Chapel, 81 Somerset Street, New Brunswick. www.masongross.rutgers.edu.
Rutgers Kirkpatrick Choir. Performing works by Ives, Giteck, and Adams. $15. Friday, November 9.
Nicholas Music Center, 85 George Street, New Brunswick.
Rutgers Symphony Orchestra. Performing Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 27. $15. Saturday, September 29.
Nicholas Music Center Dedication Concert. In celebration of the newly renovated music hall. Free. Sunday, September 30.
The Beethoven Sonatas for Violin and Piano: From First to Last. Todd Phillips, violin, and Rachel Yunkyung Choo, piano, perform. $15. Tuesday, October 9.
Around the World in 80 Minutes. The Symphonic Winds and Symphony Band perform classics and contemporary works. $15. Thursday, October 18.
American Images. The Rutgers Wind Ensemble performs works by LoPresti, Boysen, and Gould. $15. Friday, October 19.
Rutgers Symphony Orchestra. Performing works by Snider, Rachmaninoff, and Sibelius. $15. Saturday, October 27.
Rutgers Symphony Orchestra. Performing works by Ravel, Mozart, Boulanger, and Debussy. $15. Saturday, November 10.
Brass Bash. A celebratory showcase of brass chamber music. $15. Sunday, November 11.
Rutgers Sinfonia. Performing works by Khachaturian, Bruch, and Tchaikovsky. $15. Wednesday, November 14.
Reflections on the American Dream. A retrospective of the great American operas of the 20th and early 21st centuries. $15. Saturday, November 17.
Voorhees Choir. Candlelight concert featuring works for women’s choir. $15. Saturday, December 1.
Schare Recital Hall, Stephanie Morris Marryot Music Building, 85 George Street, New Brunswick.
Alicia’s Hands: A Tribute to Legendary Spanish Pianist Alicia de Larrocha. Film screening plus performance by Enriqueta Somarriba. Free. Wednesday, September 26.
Voorhees Chapel, New Brunswick.
Mango Baroque: The Price of Virtue. Handel’s “Lucrezia” cantata plus music by Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre. Free. Thursday, September 27.
The Fantastic Style: Music of the North German Baroque. Performing the music of Biber, Muffat, Schmelzer, and others. Free. Sunday, October 14.
15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7469. www.stnj.org.
Itzhak Perlman. $49-$99. Sunday, September 16.
15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick. www.stnj.org.
Westminster Choir College
Bristol Chapel, Walnut Lane, Princeton, 609-921-2663. www.rider.edu/arts.
Faculty Recital: Elizabeth Sutton. Soprano Elizabeth Sutton with JJ Penna on piano. Sunday, October 14.
Faculty Recital: First Sonatas. AnnaLotte Smith on piano with the first sonatas by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Prokofiev. Sunday, October 21.
Westminster Schola Cantorum: Fall Concert. James Jordan conducts. $20. Sunday, October 28.
Chapel Choir Family Weekend Concert. Featuring the Class of 2022. Amanda Quist conducts. Free; tickets required. Saturday, November 3.
Bristol Chapel, Walnut Lane, Princeton, 609-924-9638. www.rider.edu/arts.
Half Acre. Westminster Choir with works by Johannes Brahms, Claudio Monteverdi, Eric Whitacre, and Ted Hearne, as well as American folk songs and spirituals. $20. Sunday, November 4.
The Dreams That Remain. Westminster Williamson Voices conducted by James Jordan. $20. Friday, November 9.
Fall Concert. Westminster Kantorei with Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces. Amanda Quist conducts. $20. Saturday, November 17.
Examine Me. Westminster Jubilee Singers conducted by Vinroy Brown. $20. Sunday, November 18.
Fall Concert. Westminster Chinese Music Ensemble conducted by Wang Guowei. Free. Sunday, December 9.
Gill Memorial Chapel, Rider University, Lawrence, 609-924-9638.
Kaleidoscope Chamber Series. The Great War: 100 Year Retrospective. Members of the wind faculty perform music from the first decades of the 20th century. Sunday, November 18.
Hillman Performance Hall, Walnut Lane, Princeton, 609-921-2663.
Beethoven for Three, Four, and Five. Faculty recital featuring works by Beethoven. Sunday, October 7.
Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street, Princeton.
Classical Chamber Music. Galina Prilutskaya and Inessa Gleyzerova Shindel on piano. Free. Thursday, September 20.
Classical Chamber Music. Timothy Urban, baritone, and Kathy Shanklin, piano. Free. Thursday, October 18.
High Winds. Katherine McClure on flute, Melissa Bohl on oboe, and Kenneth Ellison on clarinet. Free. Thursday, November 15.
Princeton Meadow Church and Event Center, 545 Meadow Road, Princeton, 609-921-2663.
Romantic Revelries. An evening of opera choruses and arias by the Westminster Symphonic Choir. Joe Miller conducts. $25-$35. Saturday, October 13.
Robert L. Annis Playhouse, Walnut Lane, Princeton, 609-924-9638. www.rider.edu/arts.
Westminster Community Orchestra: Halloween!. A musical spooktacular. Ruth Ochs conducts. $15. Sunday, October 28.
Die Zauberflote. Presented by Westminster Opera Theater. $25. Friday and Saturday, November 30 and December 1.