Thursday, August 31, 2017

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra launches 2017–18 season with Beethoven and Berlioz


Acclaimed Music Director Xian Zhang conducts

Jeremy Denk performs Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto

Opening Night Celebration Gala includes pre-concert cocktails, post-concert dinner on Oct 7

Sat, Oct 7, at NJPAC in Newark

Sun, Oct 8, at Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown

NEWARK, NJ—The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra celebrates the start of Xian Zhang’s second season as Music Director with an Opening Night Celebration Gala on Saturday, October 7, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. Zhang leads the NJSO in a performance of masterworks, as Jeremy Denk, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, makes his NJSO debut with Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto. Zhang pairs Beethoven’s iconic concerto and Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, recognizing the latter composer’s admiration for the former.

The Opening Night Celebration Gala includes a pre-concert cocktail party with hors d’ oeuvres and an open bar at 5:30 pm; a post-concert dinner offers opportunities to meet and mingle with Zhang, musicians and special guests. Complimentary valet parking will be provided for all gala attendees. The gala is sponsored by Investors Bank.

The NJSO repeats the concert performance on Sunday, October 8, at 3 pm at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown. Concert tickets start at $20 and are available for purchase at or 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476).


COCKTAILS & CONCERT TICKET: $280* per person (includes a tax-deductible contribution of $90)
Pre-concert cocktail party, concert seating and valet parking.

COCKTAILS, CONCERT & DINNER TICKET: $780* per person (includes a tax-deductible contribution of $485)
Pre-concert cocktail party, concert seating, gala dinner and valet parking.

*Discounted tickets are available for patrons who already have tickets to the Oct 7 concert.

Sponsorship and Dinner Table packages ranging from $2,000 to $25,000 are also available. For more information, please contact Laura Bessey, NJSO Manager of Special Events, at or 973.735.1729.

Full gala information is available at


Opening Weekend: Denk Plays “Emperor”

Saturday, October 7, at 7:30 pm | NJPAC in Newark

Sunday, October 8, at 3 pm | Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown

Xian Zhang, conductor

Jeremy Denk, piano

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

BEETHOVEN Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”

BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique

Learn more at


Xian Zhang, conductor

In an acclaimed first season as Music Director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Xian Zhang “clearly made her mark,” NJ Advance Media writes. “Now it’s time to see how high [the Orchestra] can soar.” Zhang continues her tenure in 2017–18 with performances of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Mahler’s First Symphony and Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony, among others.

In September 2016, Zhang assumed the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales, becoming the first female conductor to hold a titled role with a BBC orchestra; the season culminated in a televised BBC Proms performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, anticipating the start of a two-year project devoted to the composer’s complete symphonies. Other highlights of her 2017–18 BBC NOW season include a concert tour of Wales. Zhang is also Conductor Emeritus of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, following completion of her tenure as Music Director from 2009–16.

Forthcoming engagements include returns to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Orchestre National de Belgique, Orquesta Nacional de España and Savonlinna Opera Festival, as well as debuts with the San Francisco Symphony and NAC Orchestra, Ottawa. Zhang is a regular conductor of the London Symphony and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras; recent highlights include her debut with The Cleveland Orchestra and a gala concert with Renée Fleming and the China NCPA Orchestra.

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 serving one year on its conducting faculty before moving to the United States in 1998. She was appointed the New York Philharmonic’s Assistant Conductor in 2002, then became its Associate Conductor and first holder of the Arturo Toscanini Chair.

Jeremy Denk, piano

Jeremy Denk is one of America’s foremost pianists. Winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the Avery Fisher Prize and Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year award, Denk was also recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Denk returns frequently to Carnegie Hall and has recently performed with the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, as well as on tour with Academy St. Martin in the Fields.

Denk recently made his debut at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Philharmonie in Cologne and Klavier-Festival Ruhr. This summer, he returned to the BBC Proms performing Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 2. He continues to appear extensively on tour in recital throughout the US, including Chicago, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Miami and Philadelphia. At New York’s Lincoln Center's White Light Festival, he appeared in a special program that included a journey through seven centuries of Western music.

This season, Denk returns to the San Francisco Symphony with Tilson Thomas, and Carnegie Hall with Orchestra St. Luke’s, and continues as artistic partner of The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with multiple performances throughout the season.

Denk’s upcoming releases from Nonesuch Records include The Classical Style. His disc of the Goldberg Variations reached number one on Billboard’s Classical Chart.

Denk is known for his original and insightful writing about music, which has appeared in the New Yorker and the New York Times Book Review. He is currently working on a book for Random House. His blog, Think Denk, was recently selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress web archives. More information is available at


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.

Music Director Xian Zhang—a “dynamic podium presence” The New York Times has praised for her “technical abilities, musicianship and maturity”—continues her acclaimed leadership of the NJSO. 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 community events in a variety of settings statewide through the NJSO’s REACH (Resources for Education and Community Harmony) program.

For more information about the NJSO, visit or email Tickets are available for purchase by phone 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.

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