NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ —The New Jersey Youth Symphony’s (NJYS) Youth Symphony will perform on Friday, March 18, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. at Shea Center for Performing Arts at William Paterson University located at 300 Pompton Road in Wayne. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.njys.org and www.wp-presents.org.

Youth Symphony is one of two advanced, full orchestras in the NJYS family of ensembles. Open to students in grades 9-12, Youth Symphony has appeared at New York City’s Carnegie Hall and the Musikverein in Vienna and at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in February. Youth Symphony, led by conductor and Artistic Director Jeffrey Grogan, will perform España by Chabrier, Copland’s Rodeo, as well as the world premiere of True North by Matthew LaRocca. The concert will conclude with students from the Paterson Music Project joining the Youth Symphony on stage for arrangements of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Williams’s Star Wars Theme.

Matthew LaRocca is a composer, performer and educator based in Burlington, VT. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and Music from Middlebury College, a Master of Music degree from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Composition from Boston University. He is on the faculty of Saint Michael’s College and Champlain College, where he teaches music theory, conducting, and composition. LaRocca is also Assistant Director of Music-COMP, a Vermont-based organization that teaches composition to school age children and facilitates live performances of their music by professional musicians.

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As a composer, LaRocca’s works have been commissioned by the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and the Great Falls Symphony. From 2007-2008 he was the faculty composer in residence at the Montana State University Symphony. Artistic residencies include an expedition to the high arctic through The Arctic Circle organization and free improvisation residencies at schools in New Hampshire and California. In addition to composing, LaRocca is an avid performer on both the guitar and viola. He is an NJYS alumnus, where he played viola from 1994-1998.

Applauded for performances “high in energy, with close attention to ebb and flow,” American conductor Jeffrey Grogan is hailed as a musical leader who “knows what kind of sound he wants from an orchestra…rich and vibrant.” His humanistic leadership style, coupled with a strong command of skills as a musical communicator, has earned him an impressive reputation with audiences and music programs throughout the country. Known for “shrewd programming, skillful rehearsing, and an energized performance,” he was chosen in 2009 to participate in the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview sponsored by the League of American Orchestras. Mr. Grogan joined NJYS in 2011. As conductor of its premiere orchestra, Youth Symphony, he has led the orchestra through a metamorphosis that has seen it grow and mature into one of the most musically engaging youth orchestras in the country. In addition to its seasonal performances, Youth Symphony performed at Musikverein in Vienna, and Carnegie Hall. In July 2014 YS won first place at the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Festival and Competition in Vienna. Considering his work with young musicians to be a cornerstone of his career, Mr. Grogan also serves as Artistic Director of the NJSO Academy and the InterSchool Orchestras of New York. Mr. Grogan is Artistic Director of two El Sistema-inspired music programs: the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ Paterson Music Project and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s CHAMPS. As Education and Community Engagement Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra since 2006, Mr. Grogan leads the NJSO in a variety of concerts each season.

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.

Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts center serving over 1,400 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 14 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony which serve 500 students in grades 3 - 12. Beginning with Early Childhood music classes for infants and toddlers, WIPA offers private lessons, group classes and ensembles for all ages and all abilities. We believe in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and believe that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay. We teach all instruments and voice and have a robust musical theatre program.

The Paterson Music Project is Wharton’s El Sistema-inspired program held at the Community Charter School of Paterson and Paterson Public School 1/26. Students receive 6 hours of intensive music instruction each week with the goal of creating social change through the ambitious pursuit of musical excellence.

Wharton institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 13 counties. All of WIPA’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.