NJSO to Open 2013-14 Concert Season with PROMISE OF THE NEW WORLD, 9/27
Music Director Jacques Lacombe and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra open the NJSO's 2013-14 concert season on Friday, September 27, with "Promise of the New World" at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark. The concert program features renowned jazz pianist and composer Geri Allen in a program that pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of DR. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. The NJSO will give the world premiere of Allen's Stone & Streams-an NJSO commission presented as part of the Orchestra's New Jersey Roots Project-featuring the composer as soloist and the Rev. Dr. M. William Howard Jr. as narrator. The program also showcases vocal ensemble Afro Blue, famed for reaching the final four on NBC's reality-show competition "The Sing-Off."
The program's centerpiece is Dvo?ák's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World," which the NJSO will perform with spirituals sung in between movements. "Since I've known that symphony, I've always found it fascinating to find traces of spirituals in it. I don't know if the symphony performed next to spirituals has ever been done," Lacombe says. "It's a powerful thing to perform Dvo?ák's music back-to-back with some of the original inspirations that he had. Combining both worlds together is going to connect the two ideas artistically and politically and bring them closer together, which in the end goes back to Martin Luther King's message of unity. [The concert] is all about aspirations and finding new ways of living together."
The program also features two works by Duke Ellington-Three Black Kings and New World A-Comin'. "When I started playing with the idea of commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's speech," Lacombe says, "I thought of Ellington's Three Black Kings, which includes a movement dedicated to Martin Luther King."
Entering its fourth season, the New Jersey Roots Project celebrates the music of composers who were born in New Jersey or whose time spent in the Garden State significantly influenced their artistic identity. Allen, a New Jersey native and Montclair resident, will perform the piano solo for the world premiere of Stone & Streams, which was inspired by King's message.