WESTFIELD, NJ — The New Jersey Festival Orchestra, led by Music Director David Wroe, is gearing up for another dynamic season, starting with “An American and Paris,” the first week in October featuring two of George Gershwin’s best-loved orchestral works — “An American in Paris” and “Concerto in F” — as well as Debussy's "Fetes" and "Sirenes" from Nocturnes.

The concert will feature  internationally acclaimed virtuoso pianist Jack Gibbons.

“We have special guests at all of our concerts,” Wroe said. “Jack Gibbons, the iconic British pianist who specializes in Gershwin will open the season with the "Concerto in F," commonly described as Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue' on steroids. Gibbons has made a name for himself as commanding a towering technique and unique approach to Gershwin's music - rehabilitating, in his interpretations, Gershwin's relaxed and improvisational performance style.”

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Later in the season, audiences are invited to celebrate the holidays season with theNJFO’s popular musical traditions, including “Home for the Holidays,” featuring special guests The Three Christmas Tenors and a New Year’s Eve filled with Broadway stars.

“The ‘3 Christmas Tenors’ includes blockbuster Pops-style holiday fare, whilst tipping our hat to Pavaroti, Domingo and Careras by inviting three of America's prominent tenor opera stars to join the Festival Orchestra,” Wroe said. “Our New Year’s Eve celebration is a perennial celebration of the Great American Song Book with stars from the Broadway stage welcoming in the New Year.”

This spring, the orchestra will follow up on its critically acclaimed production last year of “La Boheme” with a fully stage performance of Verdi's La Traviata March 4 and 5).

“The season ends with New Jersey's own Sophia Bacelar — a cellist now based in Germany but brought up in Martinsville, NJ, and is from a Cuban/Chinese musical family,” Wroe said. “Her father, Alejandro Bacelar, is a Luthier (a string instrument maker) from Martinsville, and has nurtured Sophia to become one of the leading cellists of her generation. Her accolades from Julliard and the Paris Conservatoire are few of many on her impressive resume.”

It is a combination of factors, rather than a single event, that energizes and motivates the NJ Festival Orchestra family this season, according to Wroe.

“A potent cocktail of popular fare — Gershwin and composers of the Great American Song Book) — family favorites like The three Christmas Tenors and towering masterpieces —  Mahler's Titan Symphony, Verdi's La Traviata — all come together to create a dizzying array of selections sure to inspire someone who revels in live, professionally produced music.”

The Orchestra enters a new era this season with Keith Hertell taking over the board presidency.

“He follows Dr. Norman Luka's three-year tenure in that position, who's  ‘steady hand on the wheel’ style of leadership has now teed us up to go to the next level with Keith,” Wroe said.

And, he added, this season Morris County has truly become the orchestra’s second home with their presence there mirroring, concert for concert, Westfield's season.

The 2016-17 concert program of the New Jersey Festival Orchestra marks its 34th season of this premier professional musical organization, and the 19th anniversary of Wroe as musical director. Concerts are presented through the generous support of The New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

To learn more and to purchase tickets, visit www.njfestivalorchestra.org.  

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