The New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra is presenting a four-class series titled the Evolution of Music. Artistic Director Warren Cohen will begin by discussing the development of instruments and the progression of music notation starting from 1000 AD.

How precise is music notation? In what ways do style, culture, and the limitation of past instruments translate to how music is performed today?

Cohen will explore the history of recorded music which has bookmarked the style and interpretation used by the performers of that time. This course will help listeners and performers identify stylistic changes and tendencies. Maestro Cohen will conclude by outlining how these components translate to performances of today. 

Sign Up for Westfield Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

This four-class series will be webinar style and will cover the following topics: 

  • Class 1 (June 8): 1000 AD to 1800 AD. From the time when Western music became distinct to the dawn of the modern era. 
  • Class 2 (June 15): 1750 AD to the present. How and why music sounds the way it does today, and how it got there. 
  • Class 3 (June 22): Learning by ear, learning by rote, traditions, and the weird world of music notation. 
  • Class 4 (June 29): Hearing how performance has changed, and the historical record through recordings 

Advance registration is required for this free webinar series. To register, visit and simply click on the Evolution of Music poster under “Current Event”.  All classes will take place 7pm-8pm on the scheduled dates. 

Warren Cohen joined the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra as Artistic Director in 2013. He is also Music Director of the MusicaNova Orchestra in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2012, he became Concert Artist in Conducting at Kean University. He served as Music Director of the Scottsdale Baroque Orchestra, the Fine Arts String Orchestra, and the Southern Arizona Orchestra, where he was appointed Music Director Laureate upon his resignation. 

Cohen began his musical career as a pianist and composer. He has conducted over a thousand orchestral, operatic and choral works. He studied conducting with Gustav Meier and Paul Vermel and at the English National Opera during the last year of the administration of the “power trio” years when the company was led by Sir Mark Elder, David Pountney, and Sir Peter Jonas. 

He now lives in South Orange, New Jersey with his wife, soprano Carolyn Whitaker, and his son Graham, an award-winning composer and violist who studies at The Juilliard School. 

NJIO, now in its 26th season, has been recognized as a national leader in intergenerational excellence through its unique approach to teaching musical performance.  Not only do the members aged 8 to 80 play together, but they also mentor one another. 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. and at 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 by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.