The festive program of American and French music begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 14, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark. The Orchestra will also perform two orchestra-only concerts of "An American in Paris" on Saturday, October 15, in Morristown and Sunday, October 16, in Newark.
The Opening Night Celebration concert features Gershwin's An American in Paris, which the composer wrote from his own impressions of France's cultural center in the Roaring 20s. Trenton-born composer George Antheil's Symphony No. 6 celebrates the link between American and French music as the composer drew his inspiration for the work from painter Eugne Delacroix's "Liberty Leading the People": the painting that inspired the Statue of Liberty.
The piece is also part of the NJSO's New Jersey Roots Project: the Orchestra's commitment to performing works written by composers born in New Jersey or whose artistic identity was shaped during their time in the Garden State. Von Stade will perform selections from Canteloube's Chants d'Auvergne, as well as Rodgers' "Hello, Young Lovers" from The King and I and Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music. Ravel's 1920s masterpiece Bolero closes the program. Special festivities surrounding the performance include a pre-concert cocktail party and dessert reception.
"We are very fortunate to have Frederica von Stade with us for this Opening Night concert," Lacombe says. "She is a fantastic performer of both the French repertoire and the American songbook. Partly from there, the idea of building a program around the relationship of French and American music came to me."
"Gershwin had big influence on great composers like Ravel, and I thought it was an interesting way of opening the season: celebrating American music and French music, which is a part of my culture as well," the music director says. "I like when it's possible for an opening gala to feature pieces that are so appreciated by audiences. There is in these pieces already a feeling of celebration."
Tickets for the Opening Night Celebration concert range in price from $20 to $85 and are available for purchase online at www.njsymphony.org or by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476).
Ticket packages including the evening's pre-concert cocktail party begin at $250; packages including the cocktail party and post-concert dessert reception with Lacombe and special guests begin at $500. For more information about the Ultimate Opening Night VIP package, call 973.624.3713, ext. 220.
The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra is comprised of some of the country's finest musicians. The Orchestra is proud to have Jacques Lacombe as its Music Director and Neeme J‹rvi as its Conductor Laureate. Artistic excellence, innovative programming and community engagement are hallmarks of its mission. To best serve the people of New Jersey, the orchestra brings its programs to seven outstanding venues throughout the state. Education and community engagement programs enrich the listening experience for children and adults alike. Select performances of the NJSO are broadcast regionally and throughout North America. United is the official airline of the NJSO.