The 2018-19 Classical season

Glorious symphonies for adults and "reel" music for kids


For the 2018-19 Classical music season, NJPAC is making a special overture to family audiences.


The announcement of the three-concert Bank of America Classical Series for next season arrives with the debut of NJPAC’s Orchestra + Film Concert Series – a novel way for grown-ups to guide a young person to the orchestra. Offered as an add-on, three-concert subscription, the Orchestra + Film Concert Series features screenings of blockbuster movies, accompanied by a note-by-note performance of the score by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.


In addition, series subscribers will be able to go to the front of the line for specially priced tickets to A Chanticleer Christmas on December 1, before seating is open to the general public.


“Classical music listeners can count on a lot of dynamic artistry in the three-concert Bank of America series, which was curated to showcase many of the world’s greatest instrumentalists in spectacular programs,” said David Rodriguez, NJPAC’s Executive Vice President and Executive Producer.


“In response to patrons who want to nurture an appreciation for orchestral music in their children and grandchildren, three hit family movies will be presented with a live score – an irresistible experience for kids,” he added.


Starting with the Bank of America Classical Series, music lovers are sure to welcome the return of Valery Gergiev leading his Mariinsky Orchestra of St. Petersburg in Prudential Hall on Saturday, November 3. Pianist Denis Matsuev, who was guest soloist when the orchestra last appeared at NJPAC in 2013, is back with more soul-stirring Rachmaninoff – this time the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. (Fun fact: Rachmaninoff first recorded the piece in 1934 with the Philadelphia Orchestra at RCA studios in Camden.)


The orchestra also has programmed Debussy’s languid symphonic poem Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (Afternoon of a Faun) and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, a roaring tour-de-force. Of the latter, the great conductor Herbert von Karajan once said, “The fantastic finale almost forces you to hold your breath.”


The mighty Philadelphia Orchestra will return to Newark on March 15, 2019 under the music directorship of its electrifying young conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The Canadian maestro, now the Music Director Designate of the Metropolitan Opera, is concluding an acclaimed, decade-long tenure with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, but continues a dizzying schedule of engagements with orchestras and opera companies around the globe.


This time, the Fabulous Philadelphians will arrive with wunderkind pianist Jan Lisiecki, who will perform Mendelssohn’s bravura Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor. Rounding out the evening will be Haydn’s overture to his opera L’isola disabitata (The Deserted Island) and Schubert’s fiendishly challenging Symphony No. 9 in C Major, dubbed “The Great” for its majesty.


Three of the world’s finest virtuosos present a program of trios on May 5, 2019. The alignment of classical superstars Joshua Bell on violin, Jeremy Denk on piano and Steven Isserlis on cello has all the makings of one of NJPAC’s hottest tickets next season: Their appearance at the Arts Center is one of only five concerts they will perform together nationwide.


Bell, Denk and Isserlis, who teamed on the recording For the Love of Brahms (Sony Classical) to critical acclaim in 2016, are planning something profoundly moving for the NJPAC audience. The afternoon concert will showcase Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, known for its passionate finale; Shostakovich’s elegiac Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, a World War II-era lamentation; the expressive Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor, written by Rachmaninoff when he was 19, and the poetically seductive Piano Trio in A minor by Ravel.



Mozart may not make babies smarter, but wise elders were quick to learn that kids can be taught concert-going etiquette by watching a beloved film on the giant screen, accompanied by heart-pounding, live music on stage. And grow to love the orchestral experience.


In the recent past, the Arts Center has presented packed-to-the-rafters concerts that sonically illustrate the adventures of boy-wizard Harry Potter, such as The Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban. Two more installments are on the way.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Concert™, with accompaniment by the NJSO, will open the Orchestra + Film Concert Series on Saturday, October 27. Shown in high-definition on Prudential Hall’s 40-foot screen, the fourth adventure in J.K. Rowling’s episodic franchise (rated PG-13) picks up at the Triwizard Tournament, where the title hero and his friends face even more daunting challenges in the battle against Lord Voldemort.


The rich music composed for Goblet of Fire by Patrick Doyle (Sense and Sensibility) brought fresh emotional gravitas to the series, with darker melodic undercurrents. For his work, Doyle won both the International Film Music Critics Award and the ASCAP Film & Television Music Award.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Concert™, the fifth installment (also rated PG-13), will follow on Saturday, June 1, 2019, when the NJSO players bring to life a spellbinding score by GRAMMY-nominated composer Nicholas Hooper. The plot hinges on the mysterious source of Harry’s nightmares as the Hogwarts School chums practice Defense Against the Dark Arts in secret and endure the unendurable Professor Umbridge.


The third event in the Orchestra + Film Concert Series falls between each of the Potter chronicles, during the winter holidays. On Saturday, December 15, the classic animated film Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Live in Concert arrives from Disney in Concert Live-to-Film. Danny Elfman’s Oscar-nominated score for this 1993 favorite (rated PG) will be performed by the NJSO, along with a choir, and conducted by John Mauceri of Hollywood Bowl Orchestra fame.


Songs like “What’s This?” and “Oogie Boogie’s Song” endear young film buffs to this story about Jack Skellington, Halloween Town’s beloved Pumpkin King, who embarks on a misguided mission to steal Christmas from Santa.


Subscribers to either or both series are eligible to purchase tickets to A Chanticleer Christmas on Saturday, December 1, at a special price. Chanticleer, a multiple GRAMMY-winning, a cappella ensemble of 12 men, will make their NJPAC debut with a program of popular song and music of the season.


For subscription information, visit or call 1.888.MY.NJPAC (696-5722).


March 6, 2018