The Plainfield Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey’s oldest community orchestra, has announced its ninety ninth season, which celebrates Charles Prince’s tenth year as the symphony’s music director. Conductor Prince has selected works that are his favorites and favorites of the acclaimed musicians who will join the Symphony for guest performances this year.

The season opens on October 13 with “Passion and Poetry”, a program devoted to highlights from several of Richard Wagner’s operas including Die Walküre, Tristan und Isolde, and Tannhäuser. Several acclaimed vocal soloists return including baritone Steven Scheschareg, winner of the prestigious George London Prize of the Vienna State Opera, and Wagnerian tenor Adam Herskowitz from the Metropolitan Opera. Joining them in her PSO debut will be Canadian-American soprano Othalie Graham, who is widely known for her interpretations of the title roles in Turandot and Aida and her commitment to Wagnerian repertoire.

“The Gershwin Songbook” on November 17 is sure to be an audience favorite. A selection of Gershwin songs will be interpreted by two PSO favorites: Grammy-nominated Alexandra Silber, who is currently appearing as Guenevere in the Washington D.C. Shakespeare Theatre’s production of Camelot, and Ron Raines, Tony- and Emmy-Award nominee. Pianist Richard Glazier, an award-winning pianist, narrator, and one of the leading authorities on American popular song, will be featured in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Glazier is known for his PBS special performances.

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On January 26, 2019, the community will be treated to the annual Afternoon Family Concert on January 26, 2019 featuring young artists.  This free performance, PSO’s gift to the City of Plainfield, plays to an overflow crowd each year.

The Spring concert on March 9 is entitled “The Brilliant B’s” and will pair two works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms. Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 16 in F major, op. 135, the last major work he completed, will be presented in an arrangement for string orchestra. Brahm’s Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90 will conclude the program.                                                       

The season finale is on April 2 with “The Mystery of Alexander Scriabin.” Internationally renowned pianist Robert Taub will return to PSO from London in a rare US concert performance as featured soloist in Scriabin’s rarely performed Symphony No. 5, “Prometheus: The Poem of Fire,” Op. 60 and in Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D Minor I. 466.

Music Director Charles Prince will conduct each of this season’s concerts.  He has led a wide range of international orchestras from the Moscow Symphony to the WDR Orchestra in Cologne and Essen, Germany, as well as the Munich Philharmonic and orchestras in Switzerland, Austria, Finland and Bulgaria. He began his tenure with PSO in 2009 and has guest conducted orchestras from Portland, Oregon to Fort Worth, Texas in North America. He served as Associate Conductor for the New York Pops from 1996 to 2003.

The ninety ninth  season would not be complete without additional social highlights, including: “Plainfield Symphony Showcase” on September 15, PSO’s annual black tie gala, will be held this year at the Plainfield Country Club.  The Showcase honors Ann Swain, proprietor of Swain Art Gallery, New Jersey’s oldest art gallery, and Hon. Patricia Walsh, Somerset County Freeholder.  Assemblyman Jon Bramnick of Westfield will conduct the live auction at the event, which will also feature a silent auction. 

PSO’s semi-annual Holiday House Tour, “A Medley of Majestic Homes for the Holidays” will be held on Saturday, Dec. 1.  These classic residences will be magnificently decorated for the holidays by the homeowners and area designers and stores. The tour will also feature the Holiday Boutique and Cafe, located within the duCret School of Art, the 1896 Georgian Revival mansion that once housed the Wardlaw Country Day School. DesignNJ is the exclusive media sponsor for the tour.   

The ninety ninth season will also feature concert after parties offering a full buffet supper in historic Plainfield private residences, a longstanding PSO tradition.  

Concert and ticket information are available online at www.plainfieldsymphony.org  or by phone 908-561-5040. Subscriptions and individual tickets can be purchased online, by mail, and at the door. PSO performs in the sanctuary of historic Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, 716 Watchung Avenue, Plainfield, NJ. All concerts begin at 7:00 p.m., except for the January Afternoon Family Concert, which begins at 3:00 p.m.         

As New Jersey’s oldest community symphony and the third oldest continuously operating community symphony in the United States, the Plainfield Symphony Orchestra represents the highest standard in musical excellence in programs designed to educate and uplift local audiences. Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through a grant administered by the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs.