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Prepared for the September 13, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper.
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Season Preview: Music
Preparing to survey the concert offerings for the
2000-’01, I let the prospect of musical anniversaries float through
my mind. Nothing much comes. The year 2000, now 75 percent expired,
is anniversaried-out, and the year 2001 is an anniversary-deprived
year. Richard Strauss’ "Also Sprach Zarathustra," with its
tie-in to Stanley Kubrick’s film "2001," emerges as the piece
with potentially the highest profile for the season; however, it is
notable for its absence. The year 2001 is the 100th anniversary of
Verdi’s death, but only the newly renamed Princeton Symphony Orchestra
(formerly the Princeton Chamber Symphony) seems to have noticed. Thus,
this is a music season in which no overriding themes emerge.
A few presenters have made an effort in the waning months of the year
2000 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death in 1750,
or the 100th anniversary of the birth of Aaron Copland in 1900. The
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra gets in its last licks with an
program in New Brunswick on Sunday, November 19, and the inclusion
of two Bach violin concertos, performed by Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg,
in its Princeton program, at Richardson Auditorium, on Friday,
Princeton University Concerts gives Bach a multi-pronged send-off
for the anniversary by mounting his "Musical Offering" on
Sunday, October 15, and then focusing on his remarkable repertoire
for solo violin. Mark Kaplan plays Bach’s complete works for
violin in two evenings, Wednesday and Thursday, October 25 and 26.
A challenging set of pieces to perform, because the single performer
has no place to hide, they give the violinist an opportunity both
to orate orchestrally, and to make the instrument sing, while the
artist acts as both judge and jury. Bach’s complete works for solo
violin surface again in transcription for lute to be performed by
Hopkinson Smith on Tuesday and Thursday, November 14 and 16. The lute
program takes place in the intimacy (and comfort) of Taplin
a venue well suited to the quiet chamber instrument. If the solo
pieces turn you on, their translation to lute is likely to provide
new insights into how Bach put the music together.
McCarter Theater’s entry into the last months of the Bach anniversary
year is an appearance by pianist Andras Schiff on Monday, November
6. It falls within the week during which Schiff plays three times
in Carnegie Hall, performing both books of "The Well-Tempered
Clavier" and the "Goldberg Variations." Earlier this
year, Schiff played all Bach’s other major keyboard works in New York.
I caught two of the three performances, which bore out critic James
Oestreich’s comment in the New York Times about Schiff’s mastery of
Bach: "[The concerts] would be astounding as sheer feats of
and stamina. But all of that is beside the point, which is that Mr.
Schiff . . . doesn’t so much perform [the music] as emit it, breathe
Regardless of the anniversary, the Dryden Ensemble, a baroque chamber
group, continues its established practice of performing Bach cantatas.
Its eighth annual Bach Cantata Fest takes place on Saturday, January
in Princeton’s Richardson Auditorium.
Ripples of patterns do emerge during the upcoming music season, though
nothing takes on the proportions of a tidal wave. The amount of French
music is substantial. The Dryden Ensemble performs baroque French
music on Saturday, March 3. Le Triomphe de l’Amour, which plays
music on period instruments, and celebrates its 10th anniversary this
season, offers a program of French music on Saturday, October 14,
and then another on Saturday, March 31. This, the group explains,
is the music they love.
Flutist James Galway and the Orpheus ensemble (noted for performing
sans conductor) play an all-French program at New Brunswick’s State
Theater on Thursday, November 30; featured composers are Ravel, Ibert,
Faure, and Bizet. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, like the Orpheus,
plays Bizet’s Symphony No. 1 in C. The NJSO sprinkles five other
by French composers throughout the season. Princeton Pro Musica
the Faure Requiem on Friday, May 11, and pianist Alan Feinberg,
with Nathan A. Randall as reader in a program called "Music of
Transcendence," includes a work by Messiaen in his concert.
Ethnically speaking, the music scene in central Jersey
is still very much the domain of dead central Europeans. Throughout
the season Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Mahler will be very
audible. Music by Americans is much in evidence, and the Russians
are a strong presence. Cantabile, a chamber choir noted for its
programming, swells the offerings of Italian music by scheduling a
signigicant quantity of music from Italy. Its motive is a tour to
Italy in June. Cantaile performs Sunday, December 10, and Saturday,
April 29, in Piscataway.
The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra contributes to the Russian presence
with its three-week long Tchaikovsky festival in January. The NJSO
is not alone in programming the Russian giant. The Philharmonia of
the Nations plays his Symphony No. 5 at New Brunswick’s State Theater
on Friday, October 20. The Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra, also at State
Theater, presents his "Coronation March" and his Piano
No. 1 on Tuesday, March 20. The strings of Lambertville’s Riverside
Symphonia plays the Scherzo from Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No.
1 on January 20.
The Riverside Symphonia seems to be entering a new phase. Approaching
its 11th season, it has increased the number of its concerts to 11
from the three with which it started in 1990. Egged on by maestro
Mariusz Smolij, who was recently appointed resident conductor of the
Houston Symphony Orchestra, the group this season gives two concerts
for small forces. It also presents, on Friday and Saturday, April
20 and 21, the world premiere of a bassoon concerto composed by its
own bassoonist, Brian Kershner.
The number of new works scheduled for central Jersey is relatively
small. In addition to the Kershner work, NJSO has programmed Richard
Danielpour’s "Toward the Splendid City" (Saturday, September
16); Aaron Jay Kernis’ "Overture in Feet and Meters,"
Hugh Wolff’s leaving the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for Frankfurt,
Germany (Friday, January 5); and Thomas Oboe Lee’s "Flauto
(Friday, March 23). This appears to be the entire harvest of area
premieres for the season. Wolff, former music director of the NJSO,
returns to conduct its January concert. Westminster Choir College
will travel to New York to perform a new work by Stephen Paulus with
the New York Philharmonic in Avery Fisher Hall; the piece, which marks
the 75th anniversary of the college, is a Westminster commission.
Unfortunately, the NJSO plans to perform some intriguing new pieces
for pipa (a lute-like Chinese instrument), by Bun-Ching Lam and Bright
Sheng only in Newark and Englewood. The instrument is capable of
its own against an orchestra, and also of bridging the music gap
east and west. Composers Lam and Sheng, born in China, both now live
in the United States.
With William Bolcom’s "The Miracle," central Jersey can pride
itself on having beaten New York to a first hearing. The Rutgers
Orchestra, Choirs and Glee Club present the New York premiere of the
Bolcom work in Avery Fisher Hall on Sunday, April 15. Based on a poem
inspired by a 15th century Italian painting, the piece was first
at a Rutgers University conference in March (U.S. 1, March 1, 2000)
Charles Sundquist, Princeton High School’s Choral Director, (U.S.
1 March 19, 1997) is also the head of the Rutgers University Choir,
which performs Saturday, November 18, and Saturday, April 28.
among the classical music protagonists for the season, U.S. 1 has
run stories about more than 20 featured performers.)
The American Boychoir, a frequent presence in the pages of U.S. 1,
which gives over 200 concerts annually, appears, as usual, at major
New York events (in Mendelssohn’s "A Midsummer Night’s Dream"
and "St. Paul Oratorio," and Brahms’ "German Requiem"
with the New York Philharmonic; and in Third Symphony with the Vienna
Philharmonic. The Symphonic Choir of Westminster Choir College of
Rider University also participates in the St. Paul). The Boychoir
also has an offering of area performances, including a five-concert
subscription series. Among the area music organizations with which
it collaborates are the Riverside Symphonia in December and the
Girlchoir in April. American Boychoir’s director James Litton retires
in August; he will lead a farewell concert on Saturday, June 16.
Opera offerings during the 2000-’01 season lean towards the Italian.
Boheme Opera company presents Puccini’s "Tosca," featuring
Allison Charney in the title role, on October 27 and 29. Its spring
offering is Verdi’s "La Traviata," featuring Helen Todd and
David Arnold, April 27 and 29. Boheme Opera expects to enjoy its
season "back home," presenting opera in the restored splendor
of the Trenton War Memorial’s Italian revival theater, with evening
and matinee performances.
"La Traviata" is also performed by the Helikon Opera of Moscow
at New Brunswick’s State Theatre on Thursday, April 5. Other operatic
offerings at the State are "Fledermaus" on Thursday, October
26; "Carmen" on Wednesday, February 14; and "Aida"
on Friday, March 23. Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts mounts
"The Marriage of Figaro" in February.
This season’s choral works span the secular and the sacred. Mark
Laycock’s Princeton Symphony performs Verdi’s "Requiem" in
March with the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia. The ensemble’s name
change is the second it has made to mark its growth; it was founded
more than two decades ago as The Little Orchestra of Princeton. The
season brochure of the Princeton Symphony notes that 2001 marks the
100th anniversary of Verdi’s death. Frances Slade’s Princeton Pro
Musica presents Brahms’ "German Requiem" on Sunday, November
12, and the "Faure Requiem," along with Paert’s "Te
on Friday, May 11.
Some of the season’s events by various performers are worth noting
for their uniqueness. A visit to the area by the New York Gilbert
and Sullivan Players in April should offer a feast for light opera
enthusiasts. At McCarter Theater they perform "The Pirates of
Penzance" on Wednesday, April 18, and "H.M.S. Pinafore"
on Thursday, April 19. At New Brunswick’s State Theater they offer
"The Mikado" on Friday, April 27. If you rent yourself a video
of last year’s sprightly Mike Leigh movie about the duo, "Topsy
Turvy," you could get in on the lives of William Gilbert and
Sullivan and create your own Gilbert and Sullivan festival
Another intriguing item on the music menu is a program titled "Mad
Women in the Attic: American Women Poets and Song." The program
is another in a line of imaginative and historical vocal recitals
conceived and performed by mezzo-soprano Laura Brooks Rice and pianist
J.J. Penna. It takes place at Westminster Choir College of Rider
on November 12.
The Hightstown East-Windsor Concert Association at the Peddie School
has a strong five-concert series. Opening the season on Sunday,
7, is Anoushka Shankar, daughter of Ravi Shankar, and a virtuoso sitar
player in her own right. Featured on the program on Saturday, May
12, is a group called "Quartetto Gelato." Founded in 1996,
this group has a membership that plays multiple instruments including
oboe, English horn, violin, viola, cello, accordion, guitar, and
They consider humor and clowning to be part of their equipment. Peddie
will also host its second annual "Jazz Fridays" series, one
of the area’s strongest, featuring performances by Cyrus Chestnut,
Wycliffe Gordon, and Andy Bey.
The 2000-’01 season promises to be a scatter-shot affair. But what’s
a presenter to do when almost no notable birth or death anniversaries
reach a round number during the calendar year? The good news is that
the season that is being offered looks as varied and colorful as the
view through a kaleidoscope.
— Elaine Strauss
corruption opens the season featuring Allison Charney in the title
role. Laura Alley directs; Joseph Pucciatti is music director for
the work that is sung in Italian with English supertitles. $20 to
$50. Friday & Sunday, October 27 & 29.
sacrifice features Helen Todd as Violetta, with David Arnold as
James Marvel directs the production and Joseph Pucciatti is music
director. Sung in Italian with English supertitles. Friday & Sunday,
April 27 & 29.
Theater, Trenton; Richardson Auditorium; and College of New Jersey,
presents the first concert of its new season under the baton of
Fernando Raucci in a program of music by Schumann and Dvorak. $10.
presents music of Mozart, Smetana, Copland, Thomas, and Tchaikovsky,
under the baton of conductor Fernando Raucci. $10 adults; $7 children.
February 18, 2001.
The youth orchestra presents music of Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and
Williams, under the baton of conductor Fernando Raucci, with solo
and concerto competitions winners, to be announced. $7. May 13, 2001.
and also a violinist. October 30.
piano. January 7, 2001.
Players. April 18.
of the British Isles with the Choir of the Prince of Wales’ Division.
Note special location. October 29.
in the 2001 Cajun Space Odyssey. March 9.
at Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University; War Memorial Theater,
Trenton; and State Theater, New Brunswick.
also Danielpour’s "Toward the Splendid City", and Beethoven’s
"Pastoral" Symphony. Zdenek Macal conducts. September 16.
performs Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2. Also works by Sibelius,
Delius, and Elgar. Christopher Seaman conducts. September 21 & 22.
and Melisande Suite" and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2. October 19.
and the NJSO for Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Also Martinu’s
Concerto" and Mendelssohn’s "Italian" Symphony. October
"Violin Concerto." Also, Novak’s "Slovak Suite" and
Bizet’s Symphony No. 1. Zdenek Macal conducts. November 3.
birthday with performances of his most beloved works —
Portrait", Symphony No. 3 and "Appalachian Spring". Zdenek
Macal conducts. November 19.
returns to the NJSO, as Zdenek Macal conducts Strauss’
two Bach Violin Concertos, and Schubert’s Symphony No. 5. November
Wolff perform Ravel’s "Tzigane for Violin and Orchestra."
Also works by Kernis, Chausson, and Dvorak. January 5.
for Tchaikovsky’s "Hamlet", "Variations on a Rococo
and Symphony No. 4. Zdenek Macal conducts. January 13 & 14, 2001.
Piano Concerto No. 2, "Romeo & Juliet Duet", and
da Rimini, Op. 32." Zdenek Macal conducts, with pianist Gerhard
Oppitz and vocal soloists Sally Wolf, soprano, and John Daniecki,
tenor. January 25.
and Rachmaninoff’s "Symphonic Dances". Also, a concerto by
the 2000 NJSO Young Artists Auditions Winner. George Manahan conducts.
February 10 & 11.
Skrowaczewski perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 19 and Bruckner’s
Symphony No. 9. March 2.
"Flauta Carioca" and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26,
Zdenek Macal, conductor, Bart Feller on flute and Bruno Leonardo
on piano. March 23.
Andreas Delfs present this celebration of dance. Kabalevsky’s
Breugnon Overture", Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Brahms’
Dances", and Dvorak’s "Slavonic Dances". April 19 & 20.
Symphony. May 6.
Burana", with soloists Joyce Guyer, soprano, John Daniecki, tenor,
and Kevin McMillan, baritone. They are joined by the Pro Arte Chorale,
conducted by David Crone. Also on the program, excerpts from Wagner’s
"Tannhauser". May 17 & 19.
Ravi Shankar is a rising music star, following in her father’s
$20. October 7. (Anoushka Shankar performs with her 80-year-old
Ravi Shankar, and two tabla players at NJPAC, Newark, on November
21; box office 888-GO-NJPAC.)
was named "Best Jazz Album" in an annual poll for "The
Village Voice," and he has toured extensively throughout the world
as pianist for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Wynton Marsalis,
Carl Allen, Terence Blanchard, Betty Carter, and Kathleen Battle are
among the musicians he has performed with. $15. October 13.
McDaniel, guest Anne Runolfsson, perform music of "Broadway and
More." $20. November 12.
quartet. A veteran of both the Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Lincoln
Center Jazz Orchestra, travels and performs his hard-swing jazz around
the world. Featured in three PBS series, he was on the big screen
in "Tune in Tomorrow." $15. November 17.
piano prodigy is enrolled at the Curtis School of Music, Philadelphia,
where he studies with Gary Graffman. His collection of awards includes
a first prize for the Second Tchaikovsky International Young Pianist
Competition of 1995 in Japan. $20. December 2.
performed at the Louvre in Paris, at the White House for President
and Mrs. Clinton, and the Ford Center in Toronto, and on CBS and PBS
television. $20. February 24, 2001.
Andy Bey has dazzled his listeners since the early 1950s. After a
20-year hiatus, Bey was ready again to perform and record; his latest
albums are "Ballads, Blues, and Bey" and "Shades of
$15. April 6.
and has released three recordings that can be heard on the soundtrack
of the motion picture "Only You." Their program includes a
mix of classical favorites, operatic arias, traditional melodies,
tangos, and gypsy fiddling. $20. May 12.
University, Princeton, 609-683-5122.
Brahms requiem featuring soloists Andrea Matthews and Perry Ward.
with the Chicago Brass. December 14.
featuring the chamber chorus and soloists Judith Pannill, Drew Minter,
Jonathan Boyd, and Curtis Streetman. December 16.
and early American hymns features the Gospel Mass with soprano soloist
Deborah Ford-Bigger. February 25, 2001.
"Te Deum" by Part, the Faure Requiem with the Princeton
and Samuel Barber’s "Adagio for Strings." Soloist is David
Evitts. May 11.
symphony opens the new concert season with a "Revelry of
featuring Rachmininoff’s "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini."
Also on the program, the suite from "Der Rosenkavalier" by
Richard Strauss and Mussorgsky’s "Picture at an Exhibition."
Mark Laycock is music director. $25 adult; $6 child. September 24.
the American Repertory Ballet’s season at State Theater, New
with performances of pieces by Poulenc, Copland, and Bernard Hermann.
October 13 & 14.
works by Beethoven, William Schuman, Honegger, and Mendelssohn.
a mix of seasonal favorites. December 17.
presented in honor of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s death.
December 17 & 18.
and Scandinavian works, and features works by Smetana, Mahler, Klusak,
and Sibelius. January 21.
Jon Manassee performing works by Mozart, Thorne, and Schubert. April
by Rossini, Copland, Barber, and Dvorak. May 20.
609-258-2800 (subscriber line) or 609-258-5000.
opens with the Colorado Quartet in a program of works by Mozart,
and Mendelssohn. $19 to $29; students $2. September 21.
Apache Band. $17 to $26. October 7.
the Takacs Quartet performs works by Haydn, Bartok, and Mozart. $19
to $29. October 12.
Bach, The Musical Offering," commemorating Bach’s 250th
$10 to $20. October 15.
the first of two programs comprising J.S. Bach’s "Complete Works
for Solo Violin." $19 to $29. October 25 and 26.
the Muir Quartet performs works by Dvorak, Haydn, and Shostakovich.
$19 to $29. November 9.
first of two programs commemorating Bach’s 250th anniversary,
the complete works for solo violin, transcribed for lute by the
November 14 & 16.
present a concert program of English chamber music including Vaughan
Williams’ "On Wenlock Edge." $10 to $20; $2 students. December
Escher Trio’s program includes Beethoven’s "Archduke" trio.
$19 to $29. January 18, 2001.
Rhythms Band. $17 to $26. February 10.
$10. March 2.
a concert program featuring works by Respighi, Rossini, Hugo Wolf,
and Stravinsky. $10 to $20. March 4.
Scherzo, Mazurkas, and the "F-Minor Fantasy." $19 to $29.
the Nash Ensemble of London performs works of Ravel, Schumann, and
Weber. $19 to $29. April 5.
Alan Feinberg, piano, and narration by Nathan Randall, with music
and readings from Bach, Ustvolskaya, Liszt, Messiaen, and Ives. $19
to $29. April 19.
a program of works by Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Stravinsky. $10
to $20; $2 students. May 6.
Series, Arnold Steinhardt, viola, is featured soloist in a program
of works by Brahms, Mozart, and Haydn. $19 to $29; students $2. May
Buck Auditorium, Route 179, New Hope; the Church of St. John the
Bridge Street, Lambertville; and First Baptist Church, 57 Bridge
international star, Ilya Kaler, who will perform the rarely-heard
Karlowicz "Violin Concerto." October 13 & 14.
rings in the holiday spirit with traditional Christmas favorites.
They will perform Corelli’s "Christmas Concerto," Ott’s
Overture," and excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s ballets. December 1
Riverside Symphonia String Ensemble presents Bach’s "Brandenburg
Concerto No. 4," Still’s "Ennaga for Harp," "Piano
and Strings," Tchaikovsky’s "Quartet No. 1 Scherzo,"
"Ode for Strings" and Mozart "Eine Nacht Musik."
conducts the masterworks of Czech composers featuring violinist Toby
Hoffman performing "Stamitz’s Viola Concerto No. 1 in D Major"
on an Amati viola of 1628. Also programmed are Smetana’s "My
The Moldau" and Dvorak’s "Symphony No. 8 in G Major."
February 16 & 17.
works by American masters such as Berstein’s "Three Dance
from "On the Town," Villa-Lobo’s "Bachianas Brasileras
No. 5," Gould’s "Latin America Symphonette" and Copeland’s
"Appalachian Spring." April 20 & 21.
toll free. Website: www.StateTheatreNJ.org.
soloist, with music director Rico Saccani, in a program of music by
Jon Leifs, Khachaturian, Shostakovich, and Sibelius’ Symphony No.
1. October 7.
with music director Justus Frantz, in a program of music by Prokofiev,
Haydn, and Tchaikovsky. October 20.
musicians of this company present feats of athleticism, brightly
dancers, and thrilling folk music in a cultural extravaganza. $20
to $38. October 24.
Joahnn Strauss’ sumptuous opera. Fully staged, in English, with
whose performance includes huge metal drums, compelling choreography,
and unique lighting effects. $20 tp $32. November 8.
the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, in works by Ravel, Ibert, Faure, and
Bizet. $25 to $45. November 30.
of singers and of instrumentalists join for a holiday program. $20
to $32. December 14.
its holiday program filled with traditional Christmas songs, as well
as sacred, secular, and folk music. $20 to $38. December 15.
with music from opera, operetta, and American musical theater. $25
to $45. December 31.
to be-bop innovator Dizzy Gillespie. The all-star jam features Jon
Faddis, trumpet; Paquito D’Rivera, sax; Slide Hampton, trombone;
Cyrus Chestnut, piano; John Lee, bass; and Dennis Mackrel, drums.
$16-$28. February 9.
tale of love and death. In French with English supertitles. February
Balogh and Csiszar Aladar, the Okros Folk Music Ensemble’s program
consists of csardas, laments, rhapsodies, and story songs. $20 to
$32. February 24.
piano, are featured soloists with the National Orchestra of Spain
in a program of works by Albeniz, de Burgos, and de Falla. March 3.
visual and listening pleasures. $25 to $45. March 7.
perform their combination of traditional Irish music and world culture
in time for Saint Patrick’s Day. $25 to $55. March 15.
Denis Matsuev is piano soloist in a program featuring Tchaikovsky’s
Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. March 20.
one of the most important young artists in jazz, brings his artistry
and virtuosity to State Theater. $16 to $28. March 22.
by the Teatro Lirico d’Europa and its company of 100. In Italian with
English supertitles. March 23.
hits including "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" and "Calendar
Girl." $25 to $50. March 24.
pleasure of true love, performed by the Moscow-based Helikon Opera
company. April 5.
is featured in a Grieg’s Piano Concerto, with works by Prokofiev and
Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8. April 25.
Corrections or additions?
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