New Jersey Symphony Presents Ravel's BOLERO, 4/7-9

New Jersey Symphony Presents Ravel's BOLERO, 4/7-9

Music Director Xian Zhang and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra present an eclectic program featuring Ravel's Boléro, Vaughan Williams' Tuba Concerto, Saint-Saëns' The Carnival of the Animals and Tan Dun's Internet Symphony No. 1, "Eroica," April 7-9 in Newark and New Brunswick. NJSO Principal Tuba Derek Fenstermacher takes center stage for Vaughan Williams' virtuosic concerto-the first major work of its kind for the instrument.

The NJSO continues its annual tradition of presenting rising stars from the Curtis Institute of Music, welcoming pianists Ying Li and Zitong Wang as soloists for Saint-Saëns' set of musical vignettes depicting the animal kingdom. (Through its partnership with the Curtis Institute that began 17 seasons ago, the NJSO has featured artists including Lang Lang and Yuja Wang.)

A pair of special events on Friday, April 7, add to the youthful tilt of the weekend. The evening's concert opens with the NJSO Academy Orchestra-the top ensemble of the NJSO Youth Orchestras family-performing Falla's Spanish Dance No. 1 under Zhang's baton. The special showcase is an extension of the NJSO's Education Month celebration of the talented student musicians in its education programs. The NJSO also hosts a special College Night after-party and provides round-trip bus transportation from select New Jersey college campuses.

Performances of Ravel's Boléro take place on Friday, April 7, at 8 pm and Sunday, April 9, at 3 pm at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, and Saturday, April 8, at 8 pm at the State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick.

Zhang says: "I call this the 'spring break' program because it has many fun, different pieces. We start with Tan Dun's 'Internet' Symphony, which is based on Beethoven's Third Symphony but also has a lot of Tan Dun's own musical language. There's a lot of percussion, and very contemporary writing for the horn. Ravel's Boléro is a really great piece to finish a program; it builds from a quiet flute solo at the very beginning, and I think audiences will feel the excitement."

Special $10 College Night student tickets include the April 7 concert and an after party. The NJSO will provide free round-trip bus transportation to the concert from select New Jersey college campuses. Pick-up times and locations will be posted at as buses become available.

Other NJSO Accent events include Classical Conversations beginning one hour before each performance; Zhang chats with NJSO Director of Artistic Planning Patrick Chamberlain about the music on the program. As part of the Orchestra's annual food drive, the NJSO will accept non-perishable food items at all performances for donation to local food banks.

Watch Fenstermacher perform tuba arpeggios in a unique space-NJPAC's underground parking garage-on Facebook.


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 a post-concert party. Student tickets are available for purchase online at (using promo code COLLEGENIGHT) or by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO.


Ravel's Boléro

Friday, April 7, at 8 pm | NJPAC in Newark

Saturday, April 8, at 8 pm | State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick

Sunday, April 9, at 3 pm | NJPAC in Newark

Xian Zhang, conductor

Derek Fenstermacher, tuba

Ying Li and Zitong Wang, piano

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

Tan Dun Internet Symphony No. 1, "Eroica"

Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto

SAINT-SAËNS Carnival of the Animals

RAVEL Boléro

Full concert information is available at

The April 7 performance is generously sponsored by Northern Trust. The April 8 and 9 performances are generously sponsored by Bank of America.


Inspired by the concerts and designed to inspire audiences, NJSO Accents are pre- or post-concert events that complement the concert experience and provide audience members with more opportunities to personally connect with the music and music makers.

Classical Conversation-Fri, Apr 7; Sat, Apr 8; and Sun, Apr 9; before the concert

Enjoy a lively Classical Conversation beginning one hour before the performances. NJSO Director of Artistic Planning Patrick Chamberlain will talk with NJSO Music Director Xian Zhang. Free for ticketholders.

College Night-Fri, Apr 7, after the concert

$10 tickets for college students include the concert and a post-concert party with refreshments and live entertainment. More info.

NJSO Food Drive-all concerts

Non-perishable food items will be accepted at all performances for donation to local food banks. More info.

NJSO Accents in Newark are generously sponsored by the Prudential Foundation.


Upcoming highlights of Xian Zhang's first season as NJSO Music Director include performances of Schubert's Ninth Symphony, "Great," and Sibelius' Violin Concerto with violinist Jennifer Koh (May 11-14). Zhang closes her first season at the helm of the NJSO with a blockbuster finale that pairs Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony with Brahms' Second Piano Concerto featuring pianist Yefim Bronfman (June 8-11).

The full season calendar is available at


Xian Zhang, conductor

Conductor Xian Zhang begins her critically anticipated tenure as NJSO Music Director in the 2016-17 season. Zhang is internationally renowned for "dynamic performances [that prove] hers is a name worth memorizing" (The New York Times) and "dynamism, agility and precision" (The Telegraph). WQXR placed her arrival in New Jersey in the top two of 2016's classical stories to watch, and The Star-Ledger calls the conductor "a thrilling leader who has already established a strong rapport with the orchestra."

Zhang has served as Music Director of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi since September 2009, with highlights including their televised debut at the BBC Proms in 2013 with Joseph Calleja. This season, Zhang takes on the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales (BBC NOW), thereby becoming the first female conductor to hold a titled role with a BBC orchestra.

A regular conductor with the London Symphony and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras, Zhang's recent highlights include debuts with The Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España, as well as performances with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, BBC NOW at the BBC Proms and Orchestre National de Belgique, where she will appear again this season.

Recent operatic performances include a return to English National Opera conducting La Bohème and her debut with Den Norske Opera conducting La Traviata. Following Zhang's hugely successful production of Nabucco with Welsh National Opera in 2014, which subsequently transferred to the Savonlinna Festival, she returned to the festival in summer 2016 to conduct Otello-marking her debut with the opera company itself.

Zhang frequently returns to her native China, where she is a regular conductor with the China Philharmonic and the Beijing and Guangzhou symphony orchestras. A champion for Chinese composers, she conducted Qigang Chen's Iris Devoilee with the BBC NOW and National Centre for the Performing Arts, where she will return in 2017. She led the world premiere of Qigang Chen's Luan Tan with the Hong Kong Philharmonic-a work commissioned by the orchestra-and the West Coast premiere of Tan Dun's The Triple Resurrection with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Working with young talented musicians continues to play a major part in Zhang's life. She has been Artistic Director of the NJO Dutch Orchestra and Ensemble Academy since 2011, and last summer she made her hugely successful debut with the European Union Youth Orchestra, conducting them in Grafenegg, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rheingau and Bolzano.

Born in Dandong, China, Zhang made her professional debut conducting The Marriage of Figaro at the Central Opera House in Beijing at the age of 20. She trained at Beijing's Central Conservatory, earning both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees, and she served one year on its conducting faculty before moving to the United States in 1998. Zhang studied at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music's DMA orchestral conducting program with Mark Gibson for two years and later served on its conducting faculty before joining the New York Philharmonic. She was appointed the New York Philharmonic's Assistant Conductor in 2002, subsequently becoming their Associate Conductor and the first holder of the Arturo Toscanini Chair.

Learn more about Zhang at

Derek Fenstermacher, tuba

A native of Huntsville, Alabama, Derek Fenstermacher became Principal Tuba of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in 2011. In addition to his work with the NJSO, Fenstermacher is also principal tuba of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and was principal tuba of the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra from 2004-11. He also performs regularly with the New York Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Theater Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, New York City Ballet Orchestra, Nashville Symphony and numerous others. He is also active in the community, teaching as adjunct professor of tuba and euphonium at Montclair State University, and as tuba professor at Bard College Conservatory.

As a soloist, Fenstermacher has led a new era of tuba soloists into the 21st century with his dynamic musicianship and keen eye for detail. Among other honors, Fenstermacher won the prestigious 2008 Leonard Falcone Artist Solo Tuba Competition, one of the premier tuba solo competitions in the world.

Fenstermacher was a founding member of the Boreas Quartet; their first CD, The Serpent's Kiss, recently received the Roger Bobo Award for Recording Excellence. He is also an active member of the New York Tuba Quartet. This season, he joins the Sotto Voce Quartet for national tours.

Fenstermacher began playing the tuba at age 14 and was a featured soloist with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra by age 19. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Alabama, where he studied with Demondrae Thurman and James Michael Dunn. He received a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Timothy Northcut. Prior to arriving in New Jersey, he was pursuing a Performer's Certificate at the University of Houston under Mark Barton.

Ying Li, piano

Ying Li, from Beijing, entered the Curtis Institute of Music in 2012 and studies piano with Jonathan Biss. All students at Curtis receive merit-based, full-tuition scholarships, and Li is the Harold and Helene Schonberg Fellow.

During the summer of 2014, Li attended the Brevard Music Center Institute in North Carolina. She studied previously with Chen Xiuqing at the Shandong Yantai Art School and Chen Manchun at the Central Conservatory of Music. She began piano lessons at age 5.

Zitong Wang, piano

Zitong Wang, from Inner Mongolia, China, entered the Curtis Institute of Music in 2012 and studies with renowned pianists Meng-Chieh Liu and Eleanor Sokoloff. All students at Curtis receive merit-based, full-tuition scholarships, and Wang is the Reaumur and Mary Corrin Winston Fellow.

Wang won third place in the Junior Division of the 2011 Virginia Waring International Piano Competition. She was also a winner of the Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition for Young Pianists in 2010.

Wang was a soloist with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra in Washington state in 2012 and the Hangzhou Aiyue Orchestra in 2011. She began piano lessons at age 3 and previously studied with Hua Chang and Yuan Sheng.


Named "a vital, artistically significant musical organization" by The Wall Street Journal, 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.

The NJSO welcomes new Music Director Xian Zhang in the 2016-17 season. The Orchestra 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 New Jersey 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 school-time Concerts for Young People performances, NJSO Youth Orchestras family of student ensembles and El Sistema-inspired NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project). NJSO musicians annually perform original chamber music programs at nearly 200 community events in a variety of settings through the NJSO's REACH (Resources for Education and Community Harmony) program. The Orchestra's ECE programs annually serve more than 60,000 New Jerseyans in nearly 21 counties.

For more information about the NJSO, visit or email Tickets are available for purchase by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or on the Orchestra's website.

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra's programs are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, along with many other foundations, corporations and individual donors.


Victoria McCabe, NJSO Senior Manager of Public Relations & Communications | 973.735.1715 |

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