Inon Barnatan performs in a PSO virtual concert on October 4.
Photo by Marco Borggreve.

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra is replacing its previously planned fall 2020 season with the digital series “Virtual Concerts: Your Orchestra, Your Home.”

Organizers call it an “opportunity to hear works rarely performed in the concert hall” and offer the following Sunday, 4 p.m., concerts selected by PSO music director Rossen Milanov.

October 4: George Walker’s “Lyric for Strings,” written by America’s first African-American Pulitzer Prize winner for music; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major; and guest artist Inon Barnatan performs his own arrangement of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances for solo piano. Milanov conducts.

October 18: Carlos Simon’s “An Elegy: A Cry from the Grave, a piece the composer dedicates to “those murdered wrongfully by an oppressive power”; Dmitri Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony, a transcription for string orchestra of his String Quartet No. 8; and a solo performance by star cellist Pablo Ferrández. Milanov conducts.

November 15: Andante moderato from African-American composer Florence Price’s String Quartet in G Major, Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite, and a solo performance by Finnish violinist Elina Vähälä. PSO assistant conductor Nell Flanders leads the orchestra.

Meanwhile, the PSO and the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey (YOCJ) have formed a partnership that coordinators say will “advance excellence in orchestral performance and foster a greater connection between Central Jersey’s young musicians and their professional counterparts.”

The partnership marks YOCJ conductor John Enz’s retirement after 35 years with the orchestra and PSO’s Flanders assuming the position.

“The partnership is the formalization of an ongoing relationship established through the PSO’s BRAVO! Education Program which encourages young musicians and their families to be exposed to extensive performance repertoire and be inspired by professional artists,” PSO management says in a statement.

Additionally, “The two organizations have much in common beyond missions espousing excellence in music. The Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey was founded by the late Portia Sonnenfeld in 1978 and was first known as the String Preparatory Orchestra. In 1980, Ms. Sonnenfeld then founded The Little Orchestra of Princeton, which evolved into the present-day Princeton Symphony Orchestra. Beyond the YOCJ, John Enz was a cellist with the PSO for over 30 years.”

New Jersey Capital Philharmonic Orchestra. Organizers for the Trenton-based orchestra performing at the War Memorial postponed its previously announced series but is planning to continue to be a presence in the region.

According to NJCP board president (and former New York City Opera singer) Gloria Teti, the “Vivaldi” performance rescheduled for September will not be performed in front of a live audience. Discussions are underway to have the chamber orchestra do a recording that would be broadcast on WWFM. The October Opening Night performance has been canceled.

“NJCP’s traditional New Year’s Eve Celebration is still ‘on the calendar.’ However we are quite cognizant that there is a deep uncertainty in planning for events even six months from now,” notes Teti.

She continues to say that “Perhaps out of sheer hope,” the orchestra is planning for a series of concerts beginning in February, starting with a concert version of “Porgy & Bess.” It will be followed by an “All About Animals” concerts featuring Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals” and animal-themed works by composers Henry Mancini, Leroy Anderson, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee”; and an April concert of music by American film composer John Williams.

Princeton University Concerts are continuing some core projects during the pandemic.

“Breathe in Music — Live Music Meditation Outdoors!,” developed in partnership with D&R Green­way Land Trust, continues the popular live music meditation program now adapted to an outdoor, socially distanced format. Matt Weiner, associate dean in the Princeton University Office of Religious Life, will continue to provide guided meditation instruction. Dates and performers will be announced in early September. Tickets will be required, and the capacity will be limited in accordance with public safety guidelines.

“Watch Parties with PUC Artists” introduces streamed performances by longtime PUC favorites such as the Takacs String Quartet, PUC debuts featuring sibling musicians cellist Skedu and pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, and curated music and concert-related interviews and talks.

The “Performers Up Close” series features personal stories and interests that shape the performers in our community as we get to experience their identities in new ways.

Additionally, PUC offers “Curated Listening,” musical experiences curated by PUC artists and supporters through PUC’s Collective Listening Project, and “Remote Concerts,” streamed broadcasts of concerts from around the world.”

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. The Newark based state symphony has canceled its public events through December 31 but continues to engage with digital content that includes 40 NJSO videos, including the May virtual world premiere of José Luis Domínguez’s “Gratias Tibi” for socially distanced orchestra and choir.

Also included is an NJSO program for family audiences: a four-part “Carnival of the Animals” video series featuring original artwork by New Jersey youngsters and “special guest appearances” of animals from the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange. Updates are available at

Facebook Comments