BERKELEY HEIGHTS—Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) kicks off its 2016-2017 Salon Series with Bach with a Twist featuring pianist Eric Olsen on Thursday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m. at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights. Wine and cheese will be served. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for seniors and free for Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts students. Tickets are available at the door or by calling 908-790-0700. Olsen will perform solo jazz arrangements of works by Bach, Chopin, Grieg, and two arrangements from Georges Bizet's iconic opera, Carmen

Eric Olsen is “an expert in the art of musical transfiguration” with a unique ability to re-imagine familiar melodies so that they are “truly born anew” (Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz.com). Olsen’s latest album, Dyad Plays Jazz Arias (Ringwood Records), features veteran jazz master Randy Brecker on trumpet and flugelhorn. The album has garnered critical acclaim: “Dyad Plays Jazz Arias will simply blow your mind! Real playing for real ears on the lookout for hot new sounds.” (Chris Spector, Midwest Record). Olsen’s album Sea Changes (Blujazz) with the Eric Olsen ReVision Quartet (with saxophonist Don Braden) was rated “Best Jazz Arrangements of 2015” by Jazz Times magazine. Sea Changes is “a stunning rainbow bridge between the worlds of Classical and Jazz” (Travis Rogers). Olsen’s album Dyad Plays Puccini (Ringwood Records) was rated one of the top 50 Jazz CD’s of 2013 by Jazz Times, and was praised as “perhaps the most amazing transformation of cultural enlightenment in the last quarter century” (Brent Black, CriticalJazz.com). Olsen has performed at jazz festivals and with symphony orchestras worldwide.  He is Music Director and Organist at Union Congregational Church in Montclair and a faculty member at both Montclair State University and the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. More information is available at www.ericolsenmusic.com and www.dyadplays.com.

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.

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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.