New Jersey Symphony to Present BRAHMS' FIRST SYMPHONY, 5/1-4
The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Jacques Lacombe present Brahms' First Symphony in concerts May 1-4 in Englewood, Princeton and Newark. Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill joins the Orchestra for Richard Danielpour's Clarinet Concerto, an NJSO co-commission written for McGill. On Saturday, May 3, the NJSO hosts Saturday Night Out-a post-concert champagne and dessert reception for ticketholders who are LGBT community members and friends-at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark.
Performances take place on Thursday, May 1, (7:30 pm) at bergenPAC in Englewood; Friday, May 2, (8 pm) at Richardson Auditorium in Princeton and Saturday, May 3, (8 pm) and Sunday, May 4, (3 pm) at NJPAC in Newark. Classical Conversations about the music on the program begin one hour before each performance.
The program opens with Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3; Lacombe highlights the connection between the composer and Brahms, whose first symphony closes the program. "Brahms was one of the most important and respected German composers ever, yet he admired and respected Beethoven's symphonies so much that he took 20 years to write and find the courage to publish his own first symphony," the music director says. "Brahms had felt for a long time that no one could ever write a symphony [that would match] Beethoven's Ninth. It's fascinating to see [Beethoven's influence] in all of Brahms' symphonies; Brahms respected Beethoven's symphonic conventions to the dot, but he creates [his own] powerful world."
The Orchestra's New Jersey premiere of Danielpour's Clarinet Concerto, which was written specifically for McGill and co-commissioned by the NJSO with Orchestra 2001 and the Kansas City Symphony, ties this program to the NJSO's 2013-14 season opening concerts. "Danielpour is one of my favorite American composers, and this concerto is inspired by Martin Luther King, connecting with one of the themes we have explored this season," Lacombe says. "When I thought about that I also thought of including the Leonore Overture because it is an expression of freedom from repression.
"Whenever I think of the Leonore Overture, I think of the reopening of the Vienna State Opera after the Second World War," the music director says. "When you hear this music, you get this feeling of freedom, of finally being safe and in a free world-it must have been incredibly moving for the people in the concert hall after living through the horrors of World War II. To combine this work with a piece dedicated to Martin Luther King is very engaging and meaningful."
The Saturday Night Out event on May 3 is free for ticketholders; advance registration is required. More information is available at www.njsymphony.org/lgbt.
Tickets start at $20 and are available for purchase online at www.njsymphony.org or by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476). To reserve a space for the Saturday Night Out LGBT reception on May 3, enter the promotion code SATURDAYOUT when purchasing online or mention SATURDAYOUT to a ticketing representative when purchasing by phone.
Jacques Lacombe is a remarkable conductor whose artistic integrity and rapport with orchestras have propelled him to international stature, Jacques Lacombe has been Music Director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra since 2010 and Orchestre Symphonique de Trois-Rivières since 2006. He was previously Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and Music Director of orchestra and opera with the Philharmonie de Lorraine.
This season, Lacombe's NJSO highlights include the world premieres of an NJSO commission by Geri Allen and a new work by Lowell Liebermann and the U.S. premiere of Tan Dun's Earth Concerto. He conducts the Montréal, Québec and Columbus Symphony Orchestras, returns to the Opéra de Monte-Carlo for La Favorite with tenor Juan Diego Florez and leads Chausson's Le roi Arthus in Strasbourg.
He has appeared with the Cincinnati, Toronto, Vancouver and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras and National Arts Centre Orchestra of Ottawa. He is a frequent guest conductor in France, Spain and Australia and has led tours and recordings with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.
Opera highlights include all-star productions of La bohème and Tosca at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, numerous productions with the Deutsche Oper Berlin and engagements with the Metropolitan Opera and opera houses in Marseille and Turin. He has recorded for the CPO and Analekta labels; he has recorded Orff's Carmina Burana and Janá?ek's Suite from The Cunning Little Vixen with the NJSO. His performances have been broadcast on PBS, the CBC, Mezzo TV and Arte TV, among others.