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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey 2017 Festival Events and More


Photo of: Maestro Robert W. Butts, Soprano Timothy Maureen Cole (Mimi), Violinist Alessia Kim who will be playing Sibelius & Soprano Allie Mion (Musetta)

The 2017 Festival continues with the popular BONJ Cabaret, Saturday evening August 12 at 7:30 PM at Grace Church, 4 Madison Ave., Madison, NJ.

Singers Timothy Maureen Cole, Kevin Peters, Don Sheasley, and Ann Urbanowicz will join Maestro Robert W. Butts and pianist Cristine Ciufredda for an evening of songs and arias from Broadway and the Opera world. Patrons are invited to bring refreshments and arrive at 7:00 PM to enjoy best the cabaret atmosphere.

Tenor Kevin Peters, singing Rodolfo, is thrilled to be exploring his first full Puccini role. Peters has been seen recently in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Verdi’s La Traviata and Rigoletto, and Monteverdi’s La Incoronazione di Poppea. Peters sang in Princeton Opera Festival’s production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman.

Soprano Timothy Maureen Cole, singing Mimi, is equally excited to explore Puccini’s vibrant if tragic heroine. Cole has recently sung in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Handel’s Acis and Galatea. She has premiered opera arias by Vatican composer Marco Frisina at The National Opera Center in New York. Cole is equally at home in contemporary opera, having performed the role of The Lady in The Tell-Tale Heart and Julia Grant in Mark Twain and the General.

Baritone Don Sheasley has been described as one of New Jersey’s Vocal Treasures. He has sung with many opera companies, in oratorios, and in recitals. He has performed with Eastern Opera, The Little Opera Company, New Jersey Concert Opera, and a special performance of Beethoven’s Symphony no 9 with Maestro Butts and the New Jersey Symphony.

Mezzo Ann Urbanowicz has resumed her voice training as a mezzo-soprano with internationally known operatic soprano Amy Shoremount-Obra. She has sung the role of Third Lady in Opera Theatre of Montclair’s abridged version of The Magic Flute in community venues. Ann has performed the role of Mistress of the Novices in Eastern Opera’s performance of Suor Angelica. In September of 2016, Ann made her musical theater debut as Augusta Tabor in the new musical, Wilde’s Wild West.

Admission: All Tickets $25

The annual summer chamber music celebration will be presented on Sunday August 13 at 3:00 PM at Grace Church. This summer’s concert features a mix of rarely heard gems, new music, and old favorites. Among the highlights will be the World Premiere of Octahedron – a composition by New Jersey composer David Williams for 8 solo celli! Another highlight will be the discovery of a true treasure by Ludwig van Beethoven – Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola. Also on the program will be Mozart’s Duo #1, Robinson’s Ballad for Americans, and Dvorak’s magical American Quartet. Performers include baritone Don Sheasley, violinist Agnes Kwasniewska, violist Olga Terlitsky, flutist Laura Ferraro, and The Four Continents Quartet.

BONJ will be premiering David Williams’ cello octet, Octahedron on Sunday August 13th. The octet was written in 2001. Octahedron hopes to involve the listener in a way that conjures up the idea of the music of the spheres, the continual movement of the heavens as well as the machinations of those things too small for us to see. The piece was inspired by R. Buckminster Fuller and those things his genius brought into the public forum and our everyday lives; polyhedral, chord factors, his unique way of seeing things differently than the masses do – a true polymath. David Williams started writing music while studying at William Paterson University under the renowned composer Hugh Aitken and later received his M.A. from Montclair State University as a student of Doctor Ting Ho. His compositions over the past four decades include orchestral, solo, vocal and ensemble works. Octahedron is happily and humbly dedicated to my friend Maestro Robert Butts.

Ballad for Americans, sung by Don Sheasley, was composed in late 1930s by Earl Hawley Robinson (1910-1991) to a text by John LaTouche (1914-1956) and first performed on CBS by Paul Robeson and chorus on November 5, 1939.

Violinist Agnes Kwasniewska has served as concertmaster for The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, Eastern Opera, Light Opera of New Jersey, and Opera at Florham. Her performance of Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto was hailed by critic Sheila Abrams as “dazzling…brought tears to my eyes.” She was a founding member of the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong. She was invited as a faculty member at the United Nations International School in Manhattan and at the Virtuoso Suzuki Academy in New York where she is currently serving as a director to over 150 students and many teachers.

Admission: All Tickets $20

The popular lunchtime keyboard recitals directed by Dr. Anne Matlack will be held at Grace Church at 12:15 Monday-Friday August 7-11. Keyboardists include Dr. Matlack, Kevin Davis, Jeff Clearman, Evan Currie, and Josh Stafford performing selections by Bach, Buxtehude, Brahms, Vivaldi and others.

Admission is by freewill donation. Lunch can be purchased after the performances.

The festival concludes with a full orchestra concert on Sunday August 20 at 3:00 PM at Dolan Hall, The College of Saint Elizabeth. The concert will feature violinist Alyssa Kim, winner of the 2017 Pearl & Julius Young Music Competition, performing the first movement of Violin Concerto by Jean Sibelius.

Other works on the program include Overture Suite by Georg Philipp Telemann, Variations for Orchestra by Johann Nepumuk Hummel, and the great Symphony no. 40 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The concert will be conducted by Maestro Robert W. Butts.

Admission: Adults $40, Seniors $30

For further information and to order tickets, please visit

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