KADDISH, et al. Set for New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Tonight


Renowned violinist Gil Shaham joins Music Director Jacques Lacombe and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) for "Shaham & Lacombe," a concert program the Orchestra will present in Newark, New Brunswick and Morristown tonigh, April 27 through April 29. Shaham and the NJSO will give the world premiere of Richard Danielpour's Kaddish for Violin and Orchestra; Shaham also performs Berg's Violin Concerto, "To the Memory of an Angel." The program also includes Prokofiev's Symphony No. 3, for which the composer adapted music from his opera The Fiery Angel, and Mozart's Masonic Funeral Music.

"Richard Danielpour is one of the most in-demand contemporary composers, and certainly one of the most successful American composers," Lacombe says. "Richard has had a past relationship with the NJSO, which has premiered his works before.

"With Kaddish, [Danielpour embarked on] a project to transform a string sextet he had written in memory of his father; he converted it into a violin concerto, and we have the opportunity to give the world premiere with one of the top violinists in the world. Gil has a huge interest in 20th- and 21st-century music, so he is a great artist to perform this repertoire. Exploring [the Danielpour] with him will be very exciting, and I feel fortunate to have the honor of premiering this new piece that is so close to Danielpour's heart."

Danielpour will attend the NJSO concerts; the Kaddish composer will discuss his music with NJSO Director of Artistic Planning Roger Wight on stage as part of the NJSO's pre-concert Classical Conversations series, which will begin one hour prior to the start of each performance.

"This concert program started with the two solo pieces (the Danielpour work and Berg's Violin Concerto), and I realized there was a clear connection between the two-a sort of 'farewell to life' theme," Lacombe says. "I thought it would be interesting to explore different sides of the idea of death, angels and what is on the other side, starting with Mozart's Masonic Funeral Music. On other end of the spectrum, to close the program with Prokofiev's Third Symphony, which is based on his opera The Fiery Angel, gives another take on exploring what an angel could be. It's a very powerful program, one that is certainly rich in terms of the emotions and the messages in these wonderful works."

Performances take place on Friday, April 27, (8 p.m.) at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, Saturday, April 28, (8 p.m.) at the State Theatre in New Brunswick and Sunday, April 29, (3 p.m.) at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown. Classical Conversations begin one hour before each performance and are free to ticketholders.