CLINTON TWP., NJ - This year, in addition to performing the ever popular Peter and the Wolf, the Hunterdon Symphony has something else special planned for its annual Concert for Young People on Feb. 4.

Conductor Lawrence Kursar has invited Zachary Hann, a native of Hunterdon currently studying at The Juilliard School in New York, to appear as the soloist for the second movement of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major.

Hann, a senior at Juilliard, has performed with many of the school’s top ensembles on both clarinet and saxophone. Also a passionate chamber musician, he has performed with many small ensembles throughout New York City and in Juilliard’s weeklong chamber music festivals. As a freelance musician, he has also performed in pit orchestras for musicals and some summer music festivals.

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This past October Hann participated in the inaugural concert at a special exhibition at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and in December he gave several solo recitals in Los Angeles and Taiwan.

Hann began his instrumental studies at Woodglen Schoolin and Voorhees High School here in Hunterdon. He names his teachers at those schools as having a huge influence on his decision to pursue a career in music, and considers himself extremely lucky to have grown up in an area where he had the opportunity to be exposed to such “incredible music teachers.”

Hann said he played his first notes on the clarinet on his 16th birthday, at 17 was accepted into Manhattan School of Music Precollege, and at 18 was accepted at Juilliard. At various times throughout his school years here, he participated in the concert band, jazz band, marching band, and show choir and was also a member of the Hunterdon Symphony.

The Symphony’s Concert for Young People will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, at Clinton Township Middle School, 34 Grayrock Road. In addition to the Clarinet Concerto and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, the program will also include well-known favorites by Grieg and Rossini and selections from Star Wars.

Prokofiev wrote his 1936 composition Peter and the Wolf to stir young children’s interest in music, and he used themes played by orchestral instruments to represent the characters and animals in the story. Rusty Williams will provide the spoken narration that tells of the adventures they experience, and the symphony has arranged for Miranda Evarts, an ASL signer for the deaf, to share the story of Peter and his friends with the audience for this performance.

The concert will be followed by an “instrument petting zoo” in the lobby, a popular feature of the children's concerts in the past. Members of the symphony, many of whom are music teachers, will be on hand to guide young people in trying out various instruments. Hunterdon Musical Instrument Corp., located in Flemington, is again loaning the instruments that will be available for this hands-on experience.

All tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the door of the auditorium before the concert. Advance sales are available through the group’s web site, www.HunterdonMusicalArts.org, or the following area merchants (cash or check only): 

  • Califon Book Shop
  • Clinton Book Shop
  • Teaberry’s Tea Room, Flemington
  • Minette’s Candies, Frenchtown
  • The Book Garden, Frenchtown.

Visit the web site for more information. To request an accommodation for a disability, call 908-995-7977. In case of snow, the concert will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 5.

In addition to his work with the symphony, Conductor Kursar teaches instrumental music at Woodglen School in Lebanon Township and plays French horn with the Crosswinds Trio, Main Street Brass Quintet, and a number of orchestras in the area.

This event is sponsored by Hunterdon Musical Arts, which is funded in part by the state Council on the Arts/ Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through funds administered by the Hunterdon County Cultural & Heritage Commission.