Feb 10, 2014 View All News

NJPAC Announces 2014-15 Bank of America Classical Series


NJPAC Announces
2014-15 Bank of America Classical Series
Filled with World Renowned Orchestras, 
Soloists and Two NJPAC Debuts

NEWARK, NJ (February 10, 2014) – New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), the premier presenter of classical music in the State of New Jersey since opening its doors in 1997, today announced its 2014-15 Bank of America Classical Series, a season with performances from a pair of Europe’s most distinguished ensembles: the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and, in its NJPAC debut, the L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Returning for its first appearance in ten seasons, the renowned Philadelphia Orchestra will perform under the leadership of its new Music Director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and GRAMMY-nominated Chinese pianist Yuja Wang will make her NJPAC debut in a solo recital.  NJPAC’s resident orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO), will perform accompanied by National Medal of Arts recipient André Watts.  In a magnificent holiday presentation of Handel’s majestic Messiah oratorio, the New Jersey Symphony Chamber Orchestra will perform with vocal soloists Nathalie Paulin, Mireille Lebel, Isaiah Bell, and Gordon Bintner, plus the glorious voices of the Montclair State University Chorus. This Messiah will be NJPAC’s first.

“This is a season of renewal and discovery – NJPAC is renewing its association with the Philadelphia Orchestra, after an absence of a decade, and the legendary Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig; and we are giving our audiences a chance to discover both Yuja Wang, the most exciting and electrifying new keyboard star since Lang Lang;  as well as a rare  visitor to our shores, Switzerland’s L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, in its NJPAC debut,” said William Lockwood, curator of NJPAC's classical seasons since the Arts Center first raised its curtain in 1997 and one of the world’s most respected classical programmers, having helped create Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, among many other programmatic firsts.  “In addition, we welcome opportunities to collaborate with our own New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and this season we have a double header. For the first time at NJPAC, Handel’s Messiah; and the return of perennial favorite André Watts, playing not one but two classics from the piano concerto repertoire by Beethoven and Grieg.”

“The Classical Series brings some of the world’s most talented musicians to one of the premier cultural destinations on the East Coast,” said Bob Doherty, New Jersey President, Bank of America.  “Not only is this a treat for residents and visitors alike, it’s a boon for the local economy with each performance.”

On Saturday, November 8, a giant in the symphonic musical tradition, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra – Mendelssohn’s orchestra – presents an all-Mendelssohn program under the baton of the dynamic Riccardo Chailly, La Scala’s next Music Director. Nikolaj Znaider is guest soloist in the Violin Concerto in E minor, recognized as a towering work in the repertoire.

The oldest civic concert orchestra in the world, the Gewandhausorchester boasts an exceptionally wide repertoire and nimble versatility, serving as a concert orchestra, opera orchestra and chamber orchestra. Its prestigious music directors have included Mendelssohn himself, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Kurt Masur and now Riccardo Chailly, a native of Milan who is equally devoted to concert and operatic repertoire. In addition to his many engagements with orchestras around the globe, Chailly was formerly Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Chief Conductor of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chief Conductor of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra.

The program also includes Mendelssohn’s ethereal Overture to “The Hebrides,” popularly known as “Fingal’s Cave,” and the celebratory “Reformation” Symphony.

Making her NJPAC debut on Sunday, December 7, acclaimed piano recitalist Yuja Wang brings her graceful stage presence and fresh interpretations of works by the greatest composers to Prudential Hall. One of classical music’s newest superstars, this GRAMMY-nominated artist has been classified by The Detroit News as “simply the most important pianist to appear in recent years – period.”

Regularly lauded for her prodigious technique, Ms. Wang has been praised for her authority over the most complex technical demands of the repertoire. She has performed in the U.S. and abroad with top orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony. Most recently, she collaborated with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in a live recording of Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 2 and Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3.
Her playing combines the spontaneity and fearless imagination of youth with the discipline and precision of a mature artist.

On Sunday, December 21, the New Jersey Symphony Chamber Orchestra performs Handel’s musically superb and emotionally uplifting Messiah, a holiday season must-hear for music lovers everywhere. With its exhilarating “Hallelujah Chorus,” the Messiah resonates each time it is performed.

This iconic, centuries-old oratorio has come to be known as Handel’s masterpiece. The Messiah has become a Christmas tradition, even though in 1742 it was introduced as a work commemorating Easter. A soaring showpiece for chorus, soloists and orchestra it considered one of the most majestic compositions in Western music.

For this ambitious production, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Music Director Jacques Lacombe leads his orchestra, the choristers of Montclair State University Singers under the direction of Heather J. Buchanan, and esteemed guest soloists soprano Nathalie Paulin, mezzo-soprano Mireille Lebel, tenor Isaiah Bell, and bass-baritone Gordon Bintner.  This performance is presented in collaboration with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

On Thursday, January 29, 2015, the Philadelphia Orchestra performs Beethoven’s powerhouse Fifth Symphony, as well as a pair of works by Shostakovich, in its first NJPAC appearance in a decade. Founded in 1900, the Philadelphia Orchestra has distinguished itself as one of the world’s leading orchestras through its thrilling performances, historic international tours and best-selling recordings. The orchestra appears at NJPAC under the leadership of its new Music Director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and features guest soloist Kirill Gerstein on piano.

The selections by Shostakovich are excerpts from The Gadfly, composed for the 1955 Soviet film of the same title, and the lighthearted Second Piano Concerto.

Kirill Gerstein’s curiosity has led him to explore repertoire spanning centuries and styles, making him one of today’s most intriguing and versatile musicians. His early training and forays into jazz were important in shaping his interpretive style and energetic and expressive musical personality.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin is the eighth music director in the Philadelphia Orchestra’s lineage, which also includes Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Christoph Eschenbach. He is Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Appearing for the first time at NJPAC on Friday, February 20, 2015, Switzerland’s globally acclaimed L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande will be conducted by Charles Dutoit in an alluring program of early 20th century masterpieces. Founded in 1918 and currently under the musical leadership of Neeme Järvi, the orchestra has always been actively engaged in discovering, promoting and premiering the works of contemporary composers.  The orchestra will be accompanied by pianist Nikolai Luganksy, winner of the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, who has performed recently with the London and Boston Symphony Orchestras, and regularly appears at some of the world's most distinguished festivals, including the BBC Proms, La Roque d’Anthéron, Verbier, and the Edinburgh International festivals.

Throughout its history, L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande has amassed an outstanding collection of award-winning recordings and has been heard in major concert halls and festivals worldwide.

The evening features works attached to ballets by such dancemakers as Michel Fokine: Ravel’s choreographic symphony Daphnis et Chloé (Suite No. 2), Rachmaninoff’s vivacious Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (for piano and orchestra) and Stravinsky’s The Song of the Nightingale (Le chant du rossignol), a symphonic poem based on a fable by Hans Christian Andersen. Debussy’s impressionistic Ibéria, the centerpiece of the three-part Images pour Orchestre, is considered among the best of his “travelogue” soundscapes.

With more than 200 recordings to his credit, two-time GRAMMY Award-winner Charles Dutoit, Artistic Director of the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the Philadelphia Orchestra, is a popular guest and collaborator among the most prominent orchestras. He served as Artistic Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for 25 years. 

On Friday, May 15, 2015, celebrated American pianist André Watts plays two favorite piano concertos in an ambitious program with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Peter Bay, Music Director of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, conducts an imaginative selection of works that include Grieg’s passionate concerto and Beethoven’s luminous third concerto; Stravinsky’s folk-inspired Four Norwegian Moods, and Mozart’s effervescent Cosí fan tutte overture.

Watts’ storied career began at the age of 16, when Leonard Bernstein chose him to perform on one of the televised Young People’s Concerts. A perennial favorite with orchestras, he is a regular guest at major summer music festivals and the recipient of a 2011 National Medal of Arts. Watts has had a longtime association with TV audiences through his appearances on PBS, BBC and A&E, most recently as guest soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Seattle Symphony Orchestra on PBS.  This performance is presented in collaboration with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

Subscription Packages
Subscription packages for the six concert series range in price from $278 - $654 and may be purchased by calling 1-888-MY-NJPAC (1-888-696-5722) or in person at the NJPAC box office located at One Center Street in downtown Newark. Bank of America is the sponsor of NJPAC’s Classical Series.

Bank of America Classical Overtures
One hour prior to each classical concert in the 2014-15 season, ticketholders are invited to participate in a free Overtures event to learn what to listen for during the following performance.  NJPAC's Classical Overtures are hosted by Maestro George Marriner Maull, the star of the New Jersey-based Discovery Orchestra's educational Discovery Concerts, featured on PBS stations across the country.

The Bank of America Classical Series is one component of the 2014-15 season. The full season will be announced later this Spring and will include NJPAC’s blend of classical, dance, jazz, cabaret, rock/pop, comedy, holiday events, and family offerings.  Single tickets go onsale in August 2014.

Programming has been made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by Discover Jersey Arts.

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States.  It is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey -- where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day.  As New Jersey’s Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State’s and the world’s best artists, while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city.  Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts.  NJPAC has attracted over seven million visitors (including more than one million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.  Visit www.njpac.org or call 1-888-GO-NJPAC for more information.



NJPAC’s 2014-15 Bank of America Classical Series Calendar of Events
(as of February 10, 2014)

Please note programs, dates and artists are subject to change. All ticket sales are non-refundable.
For program notes and changes, please visit www.njpac.org.

Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, 8pm
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Prudential Hall

Riccardo Chailly, conductor
Nikolaj Znaider, violin

Mendelssohn: Overture to “The Hebrides,” Op. 26
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 5, Op. 107 (“Reformation”)


Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, 3pm
Yuja Wang
Prudential Hall

Program to be announced


Sunday, Dec. 21, 3pm
New Jersey Symphony Chamber Orchestra
Handel’s Messiah
Prudential Hall

Jacques Lacombe, conductor
Nathalie Paulin, soprano
Mireille Lebel, mezzo-soprano
Isaiah Bell, tenor
Gordon Bintner, bass-baritone
Montclair State University Singers
Heather J. Buchanan, director
Presented in collaboration with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra


Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, 7:30pm

Philadelphia Orchestra
Prudential Hall

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor
Kirill Gerstein, piano

Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 2
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C, Op. 67
Shostakovich: Selections from The Gadfly


Friday, February 20, 2015, 8pm
L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Prudential Hall

Charles Dutoit, conductor
Nikolai Lugansky, piano

Stravinsky: The Song of the Nightingale
Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 43
Debussy: Ibéria
Ravel: Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloé


Friday, May 15, 2015, 8pm
André Watts
with the NJSO
Prudential Hall

André Watts, piano
Peter Bay, conductor

Mozart: Overture to Cosí fan tutte
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37
Stravinsky: Four Norwegian Moods
Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 17


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