New Jersey Youth Symphony Celebrates 45th Anniversary At NJPAC In May

Experience a celebration of the Garden State's premier youth orchestra program as its three full symphony orchestras and Jazz Orchestra come together with alumni.

By: Apr. 18, 2024
New Jersey Youth Symphony Celebrates 45th Anniversary At NJPAC In May
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The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS), a program of Wharton Arts, will present its 45th Anniversary Celebration Concert on Sunday, May 5 at 3:00 p.m. at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark. Experience a grand celebration of the Garden State's premier youth orchestra program as its three full symphony orchestras and Jazz Orchestra come together with alumni for a triumphant concert commemorating the 45th season.

Special guest stars George Marriner Maull of The Discovery Orchestra and jazz legend Rufus Reid join the jubilee led by NJYS conductors Dion Tucker, Mark Gunderman, Simon Lipskar, and Helen H. Cha-Pyo. The celebratory program features works by Holst, Copland, Rufus Reid, Valerie Coleman, James Ra, and Respighi.

Audience members are invited to take a sweeping look at the New Jersey Youth Symphony's 45-year history and the road ahead. Tickets are $20, $35, and $50, available at VIP Tickets can be purchased for $150 and include premium seating and admission to the post-concert reception. VIP Tickets, as well as more ways to support NJYS, can be found at

Said Maestro George Marriner Maull, "As founding Music Director and Conductor of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, nothing could make me happier than the celebration of the youth symphony's 45th Anniversary—an amazing accomplishment in the lifespans of today's nonprofits. The New Jersey Youth Symphony, a vital part of the Wharton Arts family, is now flourishing under the artistic leadership of Helen Cha-Pyo and her staff. It is flourishing beyond the wildest dreams of those of us—and there were so many during those first eighteen years beginning in 1979—who planted and nourished this seed. Just gaze at and listen to what that seed has blossomed into...Happy 45th Anniversary indeed!"

“As we commemorate the New Jersey Youth Symphony's remarkable 45-year journey, this concert stands as a tribute to the unwavering dedication, exceptional talent, and boundless passion of our young musicians, their families, our devoted artistic and administrative teams, and our invaluable community partners—including public school music educators, private teachers, and generous supporters,” said Helen H. Cha-Pyo, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. “Creating an inclusive and nurturing environment where our youth can explore their potential requires a collaborative effort. At the New Jersey Youth Symphony, a program of Wharton Arts, we deeply appreciate our vibrant and engaged community. We are committed not only to delivering outstanding musical experiences but also to fostering positive life experiences that empower our young artists to flourish. We are eager to present a concert with our honorees, Rufus Reid and Maestro George Marriner Maull, and NJYS alumni that honors our rich history while embracing an exciting future. We hope the audience enjoys the world premiere of Ring O Bells! by James Ra, commissioned to commemorate the 45th anniversary, and we invite you to join us for this unforgettable musical celebration!”

Throughout the 2023-24 season, NJYS has honored its vibrant history and bright future with premieres of new compositions and beloved music from the inaugural season in 1979. For more information, go to

About Wharton Arts

Wharton Arts' mission is to offer accessible, high quality performing arts education that sparks personal growth and builds inclusive communities.

Wharton Arts' vision is for a transformative performing arts education in an inclusive community to be accessible for everyone.

Wharton Arts is New Jersey's largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving nearly 2,000 students through a range of classes and ensembles. The 5 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Chorus, an auditioned choral ensemble program for students in grades 3–12, encourage a love and appreciation of choral music while nurturing personal growth and creative development. The 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve nearly 600 students in grades 3–12 by audition, inspire young people to achieve musical excellence through high-level ensemble training and performance opportunities. Based in Paterson, the Paterson Music Project is an El Sistema-inspired program of Wharton Arts that uses music education as a vehicle for social action by empowering and inspiring young people to achieve their full potential through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. From Pathways classes for young children to Lifelong Learning programs for adults, the Wharton Performing Arts School has a robust musical theater and drama program and offers both private and group classes for instruments and voice for all ages and all abilities. With the belief in the positive and unifying influence of music and that performing arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay, Wharton Arts offers need-based scholarships. 

Wharton Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence, and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 12 counties. All of Wharton Arts' extraordinary teaching artists, faculty members, and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.


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