NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Wharton Music Center presents its Meet the Orchestra Series focusing on the percussion family on Sunday, May 4 at 2 p.m. at New Providence Memorial Library, located at 377 Elkwood in New Providence. Designed to introduce children to different sections of the orchestra, Meet the Orchestra is sponsored in part by the Summit Area Public Foundation. The concert is free and open to the public.
The concert features the New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) Percussion Ensemble, a twenty-five member ensemble made up of highly talented students from around the state in grades 8 through 12 specially selected for the group by audition. With a repertoire of nearly a hundred works spanning from the Classical period to present-day, the NJYS Percussion Ensemble performs five concerts per season as well as participating in the Playathon, New Jersey Youth Symphony’s annual fundraiser. After only two years in existence, the Percussion Ensemble was invited to travel to Ithaca College to perform and give masterclasses at the university’s music education department. The Percussion Ensemble is endorsed by Sabian Cymbals.
The NJYS Percussion Ensemble was founded in 2009 by percussionist and educator Dr. Kenneth Piascik, faculty at Black River Middle School in Chester. Dr. Piascik has taught at Stanford University, Rutgers University, Manhattan School of Music, and the County College of Morris, as well as founding the California Youth Symphony’s Percussion Program. Dedicated to performing new music of the 20th and 21st centuries, Dr. Piascik has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Charles Ives Festival, the Composers Guild of New Jersey, Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, and the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble and has been featured on television, National Public Radio, and on numerous recordings. Under the direction of Dr. Piascik select members of the NJYS Percussion Ensemble will perform on traditional orchestral instruments, world instruments, and even the human body and invite audience members to explore the instruments of the percussion family during a fun, interactive jam session. There will also be a Question and Answer component to the performance where audience members will be able to ask questions of Dr. Piascik and the performers.
The next performance of the Meet the Orchestra Series—Meet the Brass—at the Library of the Chathams is Sunday, May 18 at 2:30 p.m. and features members of the New Jersey Youth Symphony.
Wharton Music Center, located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights, provides music, theatre, and dance instruction, educational programs, and performances for children, teens, and adults. In addition to instruction in all instruments and voice, WMC offers classes in musical theatre, dance, drama, vocal music, music theory, audio recording, early childhood music, and music for children with special needs. Offering a range of musical genres including classical, rock, jazz, and blues, WMC is one of New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts center serving students in Union, Morris, Essex, Somerset, and other surrounding counties.
WMC offers orchestral and ensemble music education for grades 3 through 12 through New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) located at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence. NJYS, one of the foremost youth orchestras in the state, has eleven orchestras and ensembles for which auditions are held annually. NJYS’s premiere orchestra, Youth Symphony, has performed in internationally renowned concert halls such as Carnegie Hall in New York City and Musikverein in Vienna.
The mission of Wharton Music Center, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is to advance excellence and education in the performing arts. For more information, visit www.WhartonMusicCenter.org or www.NJYS.org.