Arts & Entertainment

NJIO Opens Season with “Bright Lights and Blue Skies” Concert on Sunday, November 13 in Plainfield

Seventeen-year-old pianist Angela Zhao was the winner of NJIO’s Young Artist Concerto Competition
Maestro Cohen conducts an NJIO performance in Plainfield's magnificent Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church

Musicians and audience members alike will be entranced by “Bright Lights and Blue Skies” at New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra’s fall concert on November 13 at 3:00 p.m. at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church.  All three of NJIO’s groups (an ensemble and two orchestras will perform, each consisting of amateur and professional musicians from age 5 to 85.  Our featured musician will be the winner of the Young Artist Concerto Competition, pianist Angela Zhao.  Admission is free.

Seventeen­-year-­old pianist, Angela Zhao, is currently a student of Hung­-Kuan Chen and Tema Blackstone in the pre­college division of The Juilliard School of Music.  She began studying piano at the age of five and made her Carnegie Hall debut at the age of six.  Angela has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in prestigious concert venues including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, and Merkin Concert Hall.  She has won numerous local, state, national, and international competitions as well as scholarship competitions.  She has also starred as a pianist on the television series “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.”  Angela is a senior at Biotechnology High School in Freehold, NJ.  She was the music director and pit orchestra conductor of her high school's musical production.

NJIO’s Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Artistic Director Maestro Warren Cohen, will begin with a performance of the Mozart’s Piano Concert No. 22 in E flat Major, featuring soloist Angela Zhao.  The Symphony will then play Alexander Borodin’s “In the Steppes of Central Asia,” a symphonic poem composed in 1880 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Russian Emperor Alexander II’s reign.  Finally, the Symphony will perform Alexander Glazunov’s Symphony No. 1, also known as his “Slavonian Symphony,” written when he was just 15 years old.  This symphony appropriately bears a stylistic resemblance to works by Borodin.

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NJIO’s Intermezzo Orchestra will perform contrasting works in W.A. Mozart’s Symphony No. 1 and Reinhold Gliere’s “Russian Sailors Dance.”  Mozart composed his first symphony at the tender age of eight in 1764.  Already internationally renowned as a performer, this and other early works helped build his reputation as a composer as well.  “Russian Sailors Dance” is arguably the most popular dance from the 1927 Soviet ballet The Red Poppy.  This will be the first Intermezzo performance under the baton of Brian McGowan, who is also a school orchestra director in Basking Ridge.

Be sure to arrive to the concert half an hour early to enjoy a short, but delightful serenade by NJIO’s Prelude Ensemble, led by conductor Robert Anderson, in the church lobby.


Concert Details

November 13, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church

716 Watchung Ave, Plainfield

Free Admission

NJIO is committed to ensuring that its programs and concerts are accessible to all.  For more information regarding the concert or to inquire about patron services, please contact Mary Beth Sweet at (908) 603-7691,, or visit NJIO’s website or Facebook page.


About NJIO 

New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra, now in its 23rd season, has been nationally recognized as a leader in intergenerational excellence through its unique approach to teaching musical performance and as a model for intergenerational orchestras across the country.  Not only do the intergenerational members play together, but they also mentor each other.  In addition to providing free concerts and outreach to the community, NJIO has been invited to perform at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., the United Nations, and was a finalist for the Eisner Prize for Intergenerational Excellence.  NJIO welcomes new members of all ages and abilities each concert period to one of its several orchestras - no auditions needed! 


This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. This arts program is also made possible in part by a HEART (History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands) Grant from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Additional funding is provided by Frank and Lydia Bergen Foundation, Lillian Pitkin Schenck Fund, Investors Foundation, Turrell Fund, Henry S. and Agnes M. Truzack Foundation, Shilling Family Foundation, Plainfield Foundation, Northern New Jersey Musicians’ Guild – Local 16-248, American Federation of Musicians and Standish Foundation. 

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