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Four Vocal Soloists and Montclair State University Chorale Join NJ Symphony for Verdi's REQUIEM, Now thru 4/6


The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Jacques Lacombe present Verdi's mammoth Requiem today, April 3-6 in Newark, New Brunswick and Morristown with soprano Marianne Fiset, mezzo-soprano Janara Kellerman, tenor Russell Thomas, bass Peter Volpe and the Montclair State University Chorale. Thomas returns to NJSO stages after his performance of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Orchestra in January. The April 5 performance at the State Theatre in New Brunswick is the NJSO's third College Night event of the season.

Performances take place today, April 3, (1:30 pm) at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, Saturday, April 5, (8 pm) at the State Theatre in New Brunswick and Sunday, April 6, (3 pm) at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.

Verdi masterfully deals with a requiem's subject matter, Lacombe says: "It has all the elements that come with dealing with the end of one's life. There is a powerful sincerity in this piece.

"Verdi's work is one of the most theatrical requiems of all time-Verdi was, first of all, a man of the theater, and special moments like the trumpet fanfare come from [that tradition]. You have to experience the Requiem's Dies Irae at least once in your life-to be in a concert hall and hear its shocks, its big slams."

Lacombe looks forward to the NJSO's next collaboration with the Montclair State University Chorale and its director, Heather Buchanan. "We've had many performing experiences with Montclair State's choral ensembles and with Heather, who is one of the best chorus masters with whom I've ever worked," he says. "The chorus has a real energy and spontaneity of youth-we are fortunate to have a chorus at such a high level as one of our partners."

The NJSO hosts its third College Night event of the season on Saturday, April 5, at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. A special $10 student ticket includes entrance to the Orchestra's 8 pm performance and a post-concert all-student party.

The NJSO will provide free round-trip bus transportation to the concert from select New Jersey college campuses. Pick-up times and locations for the April 5 concert date will be posted at as buses become available.

The Orchestra has set aside a block of tickets as Tweet Seats, from which college students can post live concert commentary on social media. The NJSO (@NJSymphony) will tweet live commentary during the performance.

The first College Night of the season saw 139 students from colleges and universities across the state join the Orchestra at NJPAC in Newark on November 1. The NJSO hosts the season's second College Night at its Sunday, March 2, performance of Grieg's Piano Concerto at NJPAC.

Tickets start at $20 and are available for purchase online at or by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476).

College Night student tickets are $10 and include the concert and post-concert party. Student tickets are available for purchase online at (using promo code COLLEGE14) or by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO; Tweet Seats are available by phone only.

For more information about College Night, contact Rebecca Ludkiewicz, Marketing and Social Media Manager, at or 973.735.1716.

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.

Lacombe has garnered critical praise for his creative programming and leadership of the NJSO. The Orchestra's acclaimed "Man & Nature" Winter Festivals have featured innovative programs, including a realization of Scriabin's "color organ." He created the New Jersey Roots Project, presenting music by New Jersey composers.

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.

Born in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Québec, Lacombe attended the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal and Hochschule für Musik in Vienna. He was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Québec in 2012 and a Member of the Order of Canada in 2013-among the highest civilian honors in the country.

Since soprano Marianne Fiset was awarded five top prizes from the Montreal International Music Competition, including the First Grand Prize and People's Choice Award, she has been hailed by critics and audiences alike.

She sang the role of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni for the operas of Tours and Reims and Verdi's Requiem with the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières in 2013. She reprises the role of Donna Elvira for her debut in Wuppertal, Germany, in the fall of 2014. She has had great success as Mimi in La Bohème for the Sankt Margarethen Opernfestspiele in Austria and the Calgary, Vancouver, Tampa and Montreal opera companies. She recently covered the role of Mimi at the Metropolitan Opera and will perform and record Honegger and Ibert's L'Aiglon for the Montreal Symphony. Concert engagements have taken her to Madrid, Toronto, Quebec City and Washington, DC, for such works as Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Verdi's Requiem and Mahler's Symphony No. 4.

Mezzo-soprano Janara Kellerman is quickly making a name for herself among opera lovers and critics alike. Most recent performances include her role debut as Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana with Music Viva Hong Kong, the Old Lady in Candide with Fresno Grand Opera, Little Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore with Opera Saratoga and Lyric Opera San Antonio, Zemire und Azor with the Liederkranz Oper, a return to New York City Opera for its production of Antony and Cleopatra and a concert tour in Switzerland.

Concert performances have included Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in her Avery Fisher Hall debut, Azucena in Il Trovatore in concert with the Westfield Symphony, Mahler's Second Symphony with Dubuque Symphony Orchestra and the soloist in a concert with the Continuo Arts Foundation.

A native of Miami, tenor Russell Thomas is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting vocal and dramatic talents on the international opera and concert scene. His current season includes concert performances of Adams' Gospel According to the Other Mary at the Ravinia Festival, Verdi's I Masnadieri with Washington Concert Opera, the title role of Verdi's Don Carlos in his Deutsche Oper Berlin debut, Andres in Wozzeck with the Metropolitan Opera, the title role in The Tales of Hoffmann with the Seattle Opera and the Prince in Rusalka with Opera North Carolina.

Thomas is an alumnus of the prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in performance from the New World School of the Arts.

American bass Peter Volpe continually receives critical and popular acclaim on four continents. Possessing a vast and ever-expanding repertoire of more than 80 roles in six languages, he is noted for his captivating style and interpretive skill.

This season's engagements include Marquis of Calatrava and Guardiano (cover) in La forza del destino with Washington National Opera, Philip II in Don Carlos with Vancouver Opera and Austin Lyric Opera, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Portland Opera and an all-Verdi concert with the Washington Chorus at the Kennedy Center. Volpe made his notable Metropolitan Opera debut in its new production of Prokofiev's War and Peace and has returned for Berlioz's Les Troyens, Strauss' Salome, Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Falstaff, Gianni Schicchi, Romeo et Juliette, Aida, I Vespri Siciliani, Cyrano di Bergerac, Andrea Chenier and Carmen.

Montclair State University Chorale is the core choir in the John J. Cali School of Music. The Chorale comprises music students majoring in performance, music education, music therapy and composition, as well as non-music majors. Their accompanist is Steven W. Ryan. Previous NJSO highlights include Howard Shore's Academy Award-winning The Lord of the Rings Symphony, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Verdi's epic Requiem under the baton of Neeme Järvi. The Chorale's highly acclaimed performances of Orff's Carmina Burana with Jacques Lacombe were celebrated with a limited-edition CD release in September 2011.

In May 2011, the women of the Chorale performed Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with the NJSO and the American Boy Choir. Other Chorale highlights include requiems by Fauré and Duruflé, Poulenc's Gloria, Britten's Saint Nicholas, Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem and the regional premiere of Parables for the 2011 Crawford Concert in collaboration with the MSU Symphony Orchestra.

Australian-born conductor Heather J. Buchanan, PhD, is professor of music and director of choral activities at Montclair State University, where she conducts the Chorale, University Singers and Vocal Accord. Choirs under her direction have won critical acclaim and have collaborated with world-renowned artists including Meredith Monk, Richard Alston, Mícheál Ó Súílleabháin, Tarik O'Regan and Chen Yi. Buchanan is co-editor and compiler of the landmark GIA Publications choral series Teaching Music through Performance in Choir and has released a DVD, Evoking Sound: Body Mapping & Gesture Fundamentals.

A licensed Andover educator, Buchanan specializes in the teaching of body mapping for musicians and holds degrees from the University of New England in Australia, Westminster Choir College of Rider University and the Queensland Conservatorium at Griffith University in Australia. A vibrant teacher, dynamic performer and passionate advocate for musicians' health, she is in demand as a guest conductor, somatic educator and choral clinician in the United States and abroad.

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra embodies that vitality through its statewide presence and critically acclaimed performances, education partnerships and unparalleled access to music and the Orchestra's superb musicians.

Under the bold leadership of Music Director Jacques Lacombe, the NJSO presents classical, pops and family programs, as well as outdoor summer concerts and special events. Embracing its legacy as a statewide orchestra, the NJSO is the resident orchestra of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and regularly performs at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, Richardson Auditorium in Princeton, Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and bergenPAC in Englewood. Partnerships with New Jersey arts organizations, universities and civic organizations remain a key element of the Orchestra's statewide identity.

In addition to its lauded artistic programming, the NJSO presents a suite of education and community engagement programs that promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music. Programs include the three-ensemble Greater Newark Youth Orchestras, school-time Concerts for Young People performances and multiple initiatives that provide and promote in-school instrumental instruction. The NJSO's Resources for Education and Community Harmony (REACH) chamber music program annually brings original programs-designed and performed by NJSO musicians-to a variety of settings, reaching as many as 17,000 people in nearly all of New Jersey's 21 counties.

For more information about the NJSO, visit or email

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