Princeton Symphony Orchestra Presents Annual PSO BRAVO! School Day Concerts
The smiles kept coming at Princeton Symphony Orchestra's (PSO) recent PSO BRAVO! School Day Concerts featuring harpist Jacqueline Kerrod and Flamenco dancer Griset Damas-Roche, held in Princeton's Richardson Auditorium on May 14. The orchestral program included a march by Georges Bizet, Johann Strauss (ii)'s On the Beautiful Danube waltz, Edvard Grieg's frenzied "Hall of the Mountain King," and more. Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov conducted the orchestra and engaged a hall full of hundreds of elementary students at three back-to-back performances. These were provided free of charge to area schools through the support of individual and corporate donors.
Maestro Milanov encouraged students to let their fingers do some marching, taught students to waltz onstage, and looked for volunteers to time the orchestra's performance of the Flight of the Bumblebee. He also introduced Yevgeny Faniuk, the PSO's principal flute, who performed Johann Sebastian Bach's "Badinerie" from Suite No. 2.
Harpist Jacqueline Kerrod commanded attention when she moved from an angelic performance of an excerpt from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker to a performance on electric harp, complete with amplified loop and wa-wa pedals, with kids clapping and singing along. She also explained and demonstrated the differences between a traditional and electric harp.
Flamenco dancer Griset Damas-Roche captivated the audience from the minute she began dancing in her vivid blue floor-length gown and clicking her hand-held black castanets, notably the smallest percussion instruments in the room. Following her graceful performance, she addressed some of the students in Spanish, thanking them for their attention and applause.
The Princeton Symphony Orchestra's acclaimed PSO BRAVO! education programs reach more than 10,000 students each year. Meet the Orchestra! establishes PSO musicians in teaching partnerships at more than 30 public, private, and special-needs elementary schools throughout Central New Jersey, and stages full-orchestra performances for elementary school students each spring. At the middle school level, Listen Up! invites students to attend Classical Series concerts and create visual art in response to the music they hear. Advanced high school and college instrumentalists participate in public masterclasses with world-renowned artists. From kindergarten through college, PSO BRAVO! inspires the next generation of musicians and audiences.
The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is a cultural centerpiece of the Princeton community and one of New Jersey's finest music organizations, a position established through performances of beloved masterworks, innovative music by living composers, and an extensive network of educational programs offered to area students free of charge. Led by Music Director Rossen Milanov, the PSO presents orchestral, pops, and chamber music programs of the highest artistic quality, supported by lectures and related events that supplement the concert experience. Through PSO BRAVO!, the orchestra produces wide-reaching and impactful education programs in partnership with local schools and arts organizations that culminate in students attending a live orchestral performance. The PSO receives considerable support from the Princeton community and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, regularly garnering NJSCA's highest honor. Recognition of engaging residencies and concerts has come from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the PSO's commitment to new music has been acknowledged with an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming and a Copland Fund Award. The only independent, professional orchestra to make its home in Princeton, the PSO performs at historic Richardson Auditorium on the campus of Princeton University.