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Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts Presents Salon Series March 8 at 7:30 p.m.

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BERKELEY HEIGHTS—Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) presents an evening of contemporary and original works for guitar by faculty member Matthew Van Dongen at the Salon Series on Thursday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m. at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights.

In addition to featuring works by 20th century Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo including Tiento antiguo, Un tiempo fue Italica famosa, and Zarabanda lejana, the one-hour concert will include a Beyond the Notes Q&A with Van Dongen, covering topics from composing for the guitar today to how music theory enhances the understanding of music written for the guitar. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for seniors, and free for Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts students. Tickets are available online, at the door or by calling 908-790-0700.

The Salon Series, now in its third season, presents Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts faculty and local guest artists in an accessible and laid-back environment. The Performing Arts School’s black box theatre is transformed into a club-like setting where audience members sit at café-style tables, on stage with the performers, and wine and cheese is served. Performers often interact with the audience and performances are limited to an hour without intermission.


Matthew Van Dongen is the recipient of The Andrew Phillips Award for his solo violin composition, Three Nocturnes. He has been an educator in a variety of musical disciplines since 2004; past students include Chris Pennie (ex-Coheed and Cambria, ex-Dillinger Escape Plan, Fight Mannequins) and award-winning composer, Adam Kennaugh. Van Dongen’s students have gone on to become college music majors and educators themselves. Van Dongen is a select winner of the Vox Novus competition, “Fifteen Minutes of Fame.” His compositions have been performed in the New York Metropolitan area, including performances by Ruotao Mao, Yumi Suehiro, Shannon Roberts, Katie Lipow, Colton Martin, Michael McDonald, Eric Roper, Lucy Hole, Chloe Elszey, Ruth Ochs, and David A. Poli. Van Dongen has premiered his own works on classical guitar, and has made numerous recordings as an electric guitarist and session musician. Van Dongen’s 2015-2016 season as a member of the Westminster Symphonic Choir culminated in performances of Mahler Symphony No. 8 with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center which were recorded by Sony Music. Van Dongen holds a Master of Music degree with distinction in Composition from Westminster Choir College, a Bachelor of Music degree, Summa Cum Laude, in Classical Guitar Performance from Montclair State University, and an Associate of Arts degree, Summa Cum Laude, in Classical Guitar Performance from the County College of Morris. He has studied composition with Joel Phillips and Amparo Fabra-Crespo, keyboard harmony with Stefan Young, Schenkerian analysis with Anthony Kosar, post-tonal analysis with Ronald Hemmel, Medieval music and notation with Carolann Buff, and tonal music theory with Joel Phillips, Joseph Bilotti, and Richard Gradone. He is a self-taught electric guitarist.

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