Two prize-winning young musicians topped the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey’s opening concert in the 2013 Music Festival.  They were award-winning performers at the music competitions held by The Baroque Orchestra in the last two years. 

Soyeong Park is a violinist who is able to transmit uncommon texture and feeling, and she did so in a Chaconne by TomasoVitali.  Her bow work is so exquisite, particularly when she plays on more than one string at a time.  Ms. Park traveled this year with Joshua Bell and the National Youth Symphony Orchestra to the London Proms.  Those who have experienced her musicianship with the Baroque Orchestra have had the special treat of witnessing this emerging talent.

Constance Kaita played the brilliant first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #3, the allegro con brio with the Baroque Orchestra.  And it was a “brightness” that she, teamed with Beethoven and Dr. Butts, produced.  Ms. Kaita’s musicianship, too, simply overwhelmed the audience as this prize-winning young pianist put on full display her multi-faceted talent.  An electric excitement moved from Ms. Kaita’s Steinway piano across the Dolan Performance Hall on this Sunday evening concert. 

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The program was greatly augmented by the first performance of Dr. Butts’ Concerto for Bassoon with its newly-added third movement, a composition he wrote for the Orchestra’s principal bassoonist Andrew Pecota who has performed the work (now complete) several times with the Orchestra.  Dr. Butts added into the program an intriguing Requiem for three cellos, performed by The Monticelli Trio, and a precise performance of Haydn’s Symphony #101, The Clock. 

This program was the first in a week-long Summer Music Festival series by The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey under Dr. Butts’ leadership.  The series will include organ concerts at Grace Church, Madison, a chamber music presentation, also at Grace Church, and an original comedic work about Oscar Wilde in America, by playwright Jewel Seehaus-Fisher and Dr. Butts and Verdi’s operatic masterpiece, Otello, presented in conjunction with the Eastern Opera Company of New Jersey at Dolan Hall, College of Saint Elizabeth. Aug. 11.

The two brilliant young female musicians--Soyeong Park on the violin, and Constance Kaita on the piano--played great classical pieces launching the Summer Festival in a spell-binding manner. 



Jon Plaut writes reviews on culture for area newspapers and publications.  He teaches at Rutgers University.