WESTFIELD, NJ — The New Jersey Festival Orchestra (formerly known as the Westfield Symphony Orchestra) is about to kick off its new season with a series of top-notch original and dynamic musical experiences. Music Director and Conductor David Wroe couldn’t be more excited.
“It is the second season in our new configuration as the NJ Festival Orchestra,” said Wroe. “The name change and the rebirth of our company has drawn unprecedented attention, new support and acclaim to the orchestra. I look forward to welcoming our existing and new partners, and rolling out for them a diverse and artistically compelling series of selections, which appears across the state—from Westfield to Morristown to Basking Ridge to Ridgewood in Bergen County.”
According to the orchestra, this new season presents a series of bold and innovative initiatives reflecting not only supreme orchestral sound but also collaborations with other outstanding New Jersey arts organizations, as well as a magnificent roster of internationally acclaimed guest soloists.
“Audience members should expect the unexpected,” said Wroe. “NJ Festival Orchestra is now famed for presenting professional orchestral music striking in contrast and diversity. What other orchestra would couple Beethoven's 7th Symphony with Greta Garbo's Flesh and the Devil with live orchestral accompaniment? Or put a Chinese dance troupe to Puccini's Turandot? Or invite Flamenco dancers to dance to Bizets' Carmen? NJ Festival Orchestra has redesigned the concert space to be an eclectic, dramatic, special place of entertainment with something for all. Finally, audiences can expect, whatever the program design, a level of professionalism and energy emanating from the podium and orchestra that is second to none.”
The season kicks off at Ridge Performing Arts Center, Basking Ridge, on Saturday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. and at The Presbyterian Church in Westfield on Sunday, Sept. 21, at 4 p.m. with Empires Fall, a program of two iconic works composed at the sunset of the Russian and British empires.
Internationally acclaimed, award-winning pianist Yoonie Han will join the NJFO to perform one of the world’s most-loved and instantly recognizable works, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Coupled with the inter-galactic conflict of Holst's The Planets, the season-opening concerts promise nothing short of an artistic and historical threshold heralding the beginning of World War I, according to the NJFO.
Halloween will hold some monstrous cultural surprises, with a big-screen showing of Hollywood’s greatest romantic melodrama, Flesh and the Devil, which launched Greta Garbo as one of the most mysterious, glamorous stars of the American screen. The movie will be presented complete with live symphonic score composed by Carl Davies and performed by the full orchestra.
In early December, NJFO presents a festival of traditional holiday music, sing-a-longs and more to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season, and in March international guest vocalists join NJFO and Opera at Florham for Mascagni’s electrifying Cavalleria Rusticana.
The season culminates with a monumental performance of one of the best-known and most-loved choral/orchestral works of the 20th century, Carmina Burana.
Look out for other NJFO features at the Mayo performing Arts Center and further afield, as well as the now-famous New Year’s Eve festival of Broadway classics–one of the orchestra’s most popular holiday traditions.
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