‘Music Speaks’ is theme of New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s 2018-19 season

NJSO 2018 season

FRED STUCKER

Xian Zhang with members of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

“Music Speaks” is the theme of the 2018-19 season of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, announced today.

“I’m sure we all agree, words have great power,” said the orchestra’s music director, Xian Zhang, at a press conference on Friday. “Especially now. You see so many words on everything: Social media, everything. But the thing is, there was so much great music, wonderful music, that was inspired by words, either by poems, or by books, novels … anything. Even by someone’s speech.”

For example, the orchestra’s season-opening concerts, Oct. 5-7 in Newark and New Brunswick, will include the United States premiere of Speak Out, written for orchestra and choir by the British composer Kate Whitley. “She is using the the speech that Malala (Yousafzai)used to speak at the United Nations (in 2013) about equal education opportunities for girls, in developing countries,” said Zhang. “And that was a very strong message. … That’s just an example of how words can affect us, and can influence us, and how composers were inspired.”

This will be Zhang’s third season as the NJSO music director. The goal in assembling the schedule, she said, was that each program should have at least piece that features words or was inspired by a verbal source. For instance,Strauss’Also sprach Zarathustra, to be performed in January 2019, was inspired by Nietzsche’s novel of the same name, and Maria Schneider’s Winter Morning Walks, to be performed the same month, is built around poetry by Ted Kooser.

Artists who will be performing with the orchestra throughout the season include singer Dawn Upshaw, violinist Augustin Hadelich, pianists Daniel Trifonov, Emanuel Ax, Simone Dinnerstein and Seong Jin-Cho, and Indian sarod masterAmjad Ali Khan.

Khan will be featured in his own concerto,Samaagam, in an April 2019 program that will also includeRimsky-Korsakov’sScheherazade.

“I feel very strongly that the music we present, here, with the NJSO, should in a way speak for the people who live in New Jersey, and I do know we have a very large Indian community here, especially around Edison,” said Zhang.

Another theme, Zhang said, is female composers, with Florence Price (1887-1953) featured, along with Whitley and Schneider.

Here is the schedule. Subscriptions are now on sale, and a single tickets will go on sale in August. For information, visitnjsymphony.org.

Zhang Conducts Beethoven 9

Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 7, 3 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark
Oct. 6, 8 p.m.: State Theatre, New Brunswick

Xian Zhang, conductor
Mary Elizabeth Williams,soprano
Elizabeth Bishop, mezzo-soprano
Lorenzo Decaro, tenor
Reginald D. Smith Jr., bass
Montclair State University Singers
Montclair State University Chorale
Newark Voices
Heather J. Buchanan, conductor
New Jersey Youth Choruses, Trish Joyce, artistic director

Kate Whitley:Speak Out (U.S. Premiere)
Beethoven:Symphony No. 9, “Choral”

HARALD HOFFMANN

SEONG JIN-CHO

Seong-Jin Cho Plays Chopin

Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m.: BergenPAC, Englewood
Oct. 13, 8 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark
Oct. 14, 3 p.m.: Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown

Otto Tausk, conductor
Seong-Jin Cho, piano

Ligeti:Romanian Concerto (NJSO Premiere)
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2
Dvorák:Symphony No. 7

Augustin Hadelich Returns

Nov. 1, 1:30 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark
Nov. 2, 8 p.m.: Richardson Auditorium, Princeton
Nov. 3, 8 p.m.: Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank
Nov. 4, 3 p.m.: State Theatre, New Brunswick

Christoph König, conductor
Augustin Hadelich, violin

Strauss:Don Juan
Britten:Violin Concerto
Schumann:Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish”

Family Concert: Bravo Beethoven!

Nov. 17, 2 and 3:30 p.m.: Victoria Theater at NJPAC, Newark

Excerpts from the Fifth and Seventh symphonies, and more.

Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert

Nov. 23, 8 p.m.: Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank
Nov. 24, 8 p.m.: Prudential hall at NJPAC, Newark
Nov. 25, 3 p.m.: State Theatre, New Brunswick

Constantine Kitsopoulos, conductor

Screening of “Star Wars: A New Hope” with the orchestra playing the John Williams score live

JOHN ABBOTT

AARON DIEHL

Rhapsody in Blue & The Firebird

Nov. 29, 1:30 p.m., Nov. 30, 8 p.m. and Dec. 2, 3 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark
Dec. 1, 8 p.m.: State Theatre, New Brunswick

Joshua Weilerstein, conductor
Aaron Diehl, piano

Milhaud:La création du Monde
Gershwin:Rhapsody in Blue
Florence Price:Piano Concerto (NJSO Premiere)
Stravinsky:Suite from The Firebird (1919)

Messiah

Dec. 14, 8 p.m.: Richardson Auditorium, Princeton
Dec. 16, 7 p.m.: Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Newark

Patrick Dupré Quigley, conductor
Margot Rood, soprano
Reginald Mobley, countertenor
Stephen Soph, tenor
Charles Wesley Evans, baritone
Montclair State University Singers, Heather J. Buchanan, conductor
Members of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

Handel: Messiah

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert

Jan. 4, 8 p.m.: Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank
Jan. 5, 8 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark
Jan. 6, 3 p.m.: State Theatre, New Brunswick

Constantine Kitsopoulos, conductor

Screening of “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” with the orchestra playing the John Williams score live

“Winter Festival — Zhang & Ax: Transformation”

Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m.: BergenPAC, Englewood
Jan. 12, 8 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark
Jan. 13, 3 p.m.: State Theatre, New Brunswick

Xian Zhang, conductor
Emanuel Ax, piano

Mozart:Piano Concerto No. 22
Tchaikovsky:Manfred Symphony

BROOKE IRISH

DAWN UPSHAW

Winter Festival— Zhang & Upshaw: Earth & Heaven

Jan. 18, 8 p.m.:Richardson Auditorium, Princeton
Jan. 19, 8 p.m.: Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank
Jan. 20, 3 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark

Xian Zhang, conductor
Dawn Upshaw, soprano
Jay Armstrong, bass
Frank Kimbrough, piano
Scott Robinson, clarinet

Maria Schneider:Winter Morning Walks (NJSO Premiere)
Mahler:Symphony No. 4

Winter Festival— Zhang & Trifonov: The Eternal

Jan. 25, 8 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark
Jan. 26, 8 p.m.: State Theatre, New Brunswick
Jan. 27, 3 p.m.:Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown

Xian Zhang, conductor
Daniel Trifonov, piano

Strauss:Also sprach Zarathustra
Schumann: Piano Concerto
Alexander Scriabin:Poem of Ecstasy (NJSO Premiere)

Chinese New Year Celebration

Feb. 2, 2019, 7:30 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark

Xian Zhang, conductor

Li Huanzhi: Spring Festival Overture
Beethoven: Choral Fantasy Opera
Choruses and Traditional Chinese Songs

E.F. MARTON PRODUCTIONS

JEFFREY KAHANE

Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto

Feb. 28,2019, 7:30 p.m.: BergenPAC, Englewood
March 2, 2019, 8 p.m. and March 3, 3 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark

Hans Graf, conductor
Jeffrey Kahane, piano

Ravel:Le tombeau de Couperin
Beethoven:Concerto No. 4
Shostakovich:Symphony No. 1

Debussy Masterworks

March 7, 2019, 1:30 p.m. and March 8, 8 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark
March 9, 2019, 8 p.m.: Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank
March 10, 2019, 3 p.m.: State Theatre, New Brunswick

Jun Märkl, conductor
Ingrid Fliter, piano

Debussy:Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Saint-Saëns:Piano Concerto No. 2
Britten:Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes
Debussy:La mer

Zhang Conducts Brahms 4

March 22, 2019, 8 p.m.:Richardson Auditorium, Princeton
March 23, 2019, 8 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark
March 24, 2019, 3 p.m.: Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown

Xian Zhang, conductor
Johannes Moser, cello
NJSO Horn Section: Chris Komer (principal), Andrea Menousek, Lawrence DiBello, Susan Standley

Schumann: Konzertstuck for Four Horns (NJSO Premiere)
Andrew Norman:Cello Concerto (East Coast Premiere)
Brahms:Symphony No. 4

Sarod & Scheherazade

April 5, 2019, 8 p.m. and April 7, 3 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark
April 6, 2019, 8 p.m.: State Theatre, New Brunswick

Xian Zhang, conductor
Amjad Ali Khan, sarod
Amaan Ali Bangash, sarod
Aymaan Ali Bangash, sarod

Khan:Samaagam: A Concerto for Sarod, Concertante Group and String Orchestra (NJSO Premiere)
Rimsky-Korsakov:Scheherazade

Mary Poppins Live With the NJSO

April 12, 2019, 8 p.m.: Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank
April 13, 2019, 8 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark
April 14, 2019, 3 p.m.: State Theatre, New Brunswick

Screening of “Mary Poppins” with the orchestra playing the score live

SIMONE DINNERSTEIN

Xian Conducts Mozart

April 25, 2019, 1:30 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark
April 27, 2019, 8 p.m.: Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank
April 28, 2019, 3 p.m.: Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown

Xian Zhang, conductor
Simone Dinnerstein, piano

William Walton: Suite No. 2 from Façade
Mozart:Piano Concerto No. 23
Mozart:Symphony No. 40

Family Concert: The Sound of Stories

May 11, 2019, at 2 and 3:30 p.m.: Victoria Theater at NJPAC, Newark

“The Nutcracker,” “Swan Lake,” “Romeo and Juliet,” Harry Potter and more.

Art of the Double Concerto

May 16, 2019, 1:30 p.m.and May 18, 8 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark
May 17, 2019, 8 p.m.: Richardson Auditorium, Princeton
May 19, 2019, 3 p.m.: State Theatre, New Brunswick

Xian Zhang, conductor
Eric Wyrick, violin
Annelle Gregory, violin
Steven Mackey, electric guitar

Carl Maria von Weber: Overture to Oberon
Steven Mackey:Four Iconoclastic Episodes
Bach:Concerto for Two Violins
Beethoven:Leonore Overture No. 3

Blockbuster All-Orchestral Season Finale

June 6, 2019, 7:30 p.m.: BergenPAC, Englewood
June 7, 2019, 8 p.m.: Richardson Auditorium, Princeton
June 8, 2019, 8 p.m.: Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank
June 9, 2019, 3 p.m.: Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark

Xian Zhang, conductor

Prokofiev:Selections from Romeo and Juliet
Rachmaninoff:Symphony No. 2

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