Thursday, September 21, 2017

NJSO Chamber Players perform Aaron Jay Kernis string quartet in NJSO Accent event with the composer

NJSO with Xian Zhang at NJPAC 008 bow - credit Fred Stucker
Kernis to introduce, chat about the work with quartet at Prelude Performance
NJSO performance that follows features Musica celestis for string orchestra
Fri, Oct 13, at Richardson Auditorium in Princeton

Members of the NJSO Chamber Players will perform the Aaron Jay Kernis string quartet that the composer later orchestrated as Musica celestis in a special NJSO Accent event with Kernis on Friday, October 13, at 6:45 pm at the Richardson Auditorium in Princeton. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s 8 pm concert includes the NJSO premiere of Kernis’ ethereal work for string orchestra.

The Prelude Performance features NJSO Assistant Concertmaster David Southorn, violinist Minji Kwon, Assistant Principal Viola Elzbieta Weyman and Acting Assistant Principal Cello Na-Young Baek. Kernis and the musicians will chat about the string quartet and orchestral versions of Musica celestis before audiences hear the work in each form.

Musica celestis is inspired by the medieval conception of that phrase, which refers to the singing of the angels in heaven in praise of God without end,” Kernis writes in his composer’s note.

The NJSO’s 8 pm program, led by Music Director Xian Zhang, also features Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme with cello virtuoso Alban Gerhardt.

The Prelude Performance is free for October 13 ticketholders. Concert tickets start at $20 and are available for purchase at or 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476).

NJSO Accents are pre- and post-concert events that enhance the concert experience and bring audiences closer to the music and music makers. Learn more at


Zhang Conducts Beethoven
Fri, Oct 13, at 8 pm | Richardson Auditorium in Princeton

Xian Zhang, conductor
Alban Gerhardt, cello
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

KERNIS Musica celestis (NJSO premiere)
TCHAIKOVSKY Variations on a Rococo Theme
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral”

Additional performances of the NJSO program take place on Thursday, October 12, at 1:30 pm and Sunday, October 15, at 3 pm at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and Saturday, October 14, at 8 pm at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank. Learn more at

Novo Nordisk is concert sponsor of the October 13 performance.

Winner of the 2002 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, 1998 Pulitzer Prize and 2011 Nemmers Award, Aaron Jay Kernis is one of America’s most honored composers. His music appears prominently on concert programs worldwide, and he has been commissioned by America’s preeminent performing organizations and artists, including the New York Philharmonic; San Francisco, Toronto and Melbourne (AU) symphonies; Los Angeles and Saint Paul chamber orchestras; Walt Disney Company; Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Renee Fleming; Dawn Upshaw; Joshua Bell; Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Sharon Isbin. Recent and upcoming commissions include his Fourth Symphony for the New England Conservatory (for its 150th anniversary) and Nashville Symphony; concertos for violinist James Ehnes, cellist Joshua Roman, violist Paul Neubauer and flutist Marina Piccinini; a horn concerto for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Grant Park Music Festival; a work for the Borromeo String Quartet and a piece for the San Francisco Girls and Brooklyn Youth Choruses with The Knights for the New York Philharmonic Biennial.

His works have been recorded on Virgin, Dorian, Arabesque, Phoenix, Argo, Signum, Cedille and many other labels. Recent recordings include Goblin Market and Invisible Mosaic II (Signum); Three Flavors, featuring pianist Andrew Russo, violinist James Ehnes and the Albany Symphony with conductor David Alan Miller (Albany); and a disc of his solo and chamber music, On Distant Shores (Phoenix). Kernis’ conducting engagements include appearances with the Pascal Rioult Dance Company, at major chamber music festivals in Chicago and Portland and with members of the San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and New York Philharmonic.

He is the workshop director of the Nashville Symphony Composer Lab and, for 11 years, served as new music adviser to the Minnesota Orchestra, with which he co-founded and directed its Composer Institute for 15 years. Kernis teaches composition at Yale School of Music and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Classical Music Hall of Fame. Leta Miller's book-length portrait of Kernis and his work was published in 2014 by University of Illinois Press as part of its American Composer series.

David Southorn, violin
NJSO Assistant Concertmaster David Southorn currently enjoys a versatile career as a concertmaster, soloist and chamber musician. Recent solo highlights include performances of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Fremont Symphony and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with the Delaware Symphony, where he was lauded by Delaware Arts Info as “nothing less than brilliant … powerful sound; immaculate precision and compelling agility… impeccable phrasing and polished lyricism…a zestful performance.” As a chamber musician he has performed recently with his award-winning Amphion String Quartet at Alice Tully Hall as members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's CMS Two. The 2017-18 season marks his sixth year as concertmaster of the Delaware Symphony. In his second season with the NJSO, he will be featured as a soloist in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in May. In October, he joins three of his NJSO colleagues in a performance of Aaron Jay Kernis’ String Quartet No. 1 at Princeton University.

Based in New York City, Southorn performs regularly as an extra with the New York Philharmonic and has joined them on multiple recent tours to Shanghai, Vail and California. This season, he makes a guest concertmaster appearance with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and has previously performed as guest concertmaster with orchestras including the Incheon Philharmonic (South Korea), Miami Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra. Another highlight of this upcoming season is a collaboration with the Grammy-nominated ensemble A Far Cry and the Mirò String Quartet in Boston. He is also a member of the New York Classical Players and Le Train Bleu.

Recent highlights in his chamber music career include performances with the Amphion Quartet at Alice Tully Hall, David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher), Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music Northwest, La Jolla Summerfest, the Tilles Center, The Library of Congress, The Phillips Collection in Washington DC, BargeMusic, Caramoor, Kneisel Hall and the Seoul Arts Center, among many others. He has collaborated with such esteemed musicians as Anne-Marie McDermott, Carter Brey, Ani Kavafian, David Shifrin and Edgar Meyer, as well as the Tokyo String Quartet, to name a few. The Amphion Quartet's recent recording with Nimbus Records was selected by The New York Times as a "Best Classical Album of 2015". They have won a number of awards including the, 1st Prize and Audience Award at the Plowman Competition and the 1st Prize at the Hugo Kauder Competition. The New York Times named the Amphion String Quartet’s recent recording with Nimbus Records “Best Classical Album of 2015.” The quartet has won a number of awards, including the Concert Artists Guild competition, first prize and audience awards at the Plowman Competition and first prize at the Hugo Kauder Competition.

Southorn received a Bachelor of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Master of Music and Artist Diploma from Yale University and Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music. His teachers have included Ani Kavafian, Glenn Dicterow, Lisa Kim, Ian Swensen, Camilla Wicks and Wei He.

Minji Kwon, violin

South Korean violinist Minji Kwon joined the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in the 2015­–16 season. She has performed throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestra player. Kwon is the prize winner of the OSAKA International Music Competition, George Gershwin International Competition, Forte International Music Competition, National Symphony Orchestra Competition and Seoul Symphony Orchestra Competition.
She has also appeared as soloist with the State Philharmonic Orchestra Rzeszow in Poland, Seoul Symphony Orchestra, Seoul National Symphony Orchestra, Degu Philharmonic Orchestra, Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra, Hyup Strings Ensemble and Seoul National University String Ensemble. She has performed in solo recitals at Kumho Art Hall and Ewon Culture Center.

Kwon also participated in numerous festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival as a full scholarship recipient, Music Academy of the West, Juilliard Chamber Fest, Salzburg International Music Academy, Lake George Music Festival, Music Alp Festival, Lindenbaum Orchestra Festival (with conductor Charles Dutoit) and Tong Young International Music Festival.

As an orchestra player, she played various concerts at The Juilliard School as a concertmaster with ensembles including Juilliard Orchestra and New Juilliard Ensemble. She was selected as concertmaster at Music Academy of the West, where she performed with Alan Gilbert. Kwon is an active chamber musician; her trio has performed at many halls in New York and was invited to perform in Washington, DC. As a member of Sejong Soloists, she toured throughout the United States, Munich, London, Spain, Czech Republic and Korea.

Kwon started to play the violin when she was 8 years old. In 2009, she began working with Professor Young-Uck Kim and Kyung-Sun Lee at the Seoul National University, where she was granted a Graduates of Seoul National University Scholarship and a Graduates of Music College Scholarship. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree, summa cum laude, from the university in 2013. In 2015, Kwon received her Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School under the guidance of Hyo Kang. She is a faculty member at the New York Music School.

Elzbieta Weyman, viola
NJSO Assistant Principal Viola Elzbieta Weyman joined the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in 2013. A native of Newton, MA, Weyman began studying violin at age 4 and switched to viola at 13, studying with Boston Symphony member Michael Zaretsky. She continued her musical education at The Juilliard School, where she studied with Masao Kawasaki and Michael Tree. Weyman was a member of the New World Symphony, an orchestral training program for postgraduate musicians, from 2011–13.

Weyman has made several solo and chamber music appearances. She performed Walton’s Viola Concerto at the Aspen Music Festival under the baton of Leonard Slatkin in 2007 and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Juilliard Orchestra with conductor Xian Zhang in 2010. In addition to the Aspen Music Festival, she has participated in many summer festivals, including La Jolla Summerfest, Saito-Kinen Music Festival and the Verbier Festival Orchestra.

Na-Young Baek, cello
Winner of the Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition, Korean-born cellist Na-Young Baek made her American debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2000. She has appeared as soloist with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, DuPage Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic and Korean Chamber Ensemble at major venues, such as the Academy House in Philadelphia and the Rheingau Musik Festival in Frankfurt, Germany. Recent highlights include performances of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Ulsan Symphony Orchestra, Wonju Philharmonic Orchestra and Greenwich Village Orchestra in New York City and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the Macau-Hong Kong-Taipei Symphony Orchestra for its New Year’s Concert in Macau, China.

At the age of 15, Baek became the youngest winner in the history of the prestigious Choong Ang Times competition in Korea and also garnered the Virtuoso Prize at the first Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Moscow, Russia. Baek was a prizewinner in the Gyeongnam International Competition (in memory of Isang Yun) and won first prize in Hudson Valley Philharmonic Competition and Holland-America Music Society Competition. Her recital appearances have included a New York-debut recital at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, presented by the Korea Music Society, and the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago. An avid chamber musician, Baek has participated in and performed at the Marlboro Music Festival, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Casals Festival in Prades, Aspen Music Festival and Isaac Stern Seminar in Israel. She has been featured at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Salle Gaveau in Paris and Cadogan Hall in London, and on NPR’s “Performance Today.” She has toured twice with Musicians From Marlboro, playing the Mendelssohn Octet and Janáček Quartet.

Baek studied with Orlando Cole at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She continued her studies at Yale University for her master’s degree and at The Juilliard School for her Artist Diploma with Aldo Parisot, who awarded her the Aldo Parisot Prize at the end of her studies. She completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Stony Brook University, where she studied and performed with Colin Carr. Baek served as an adjunct faculty member at Kean University and is a member of the Sejong Soloists and East Coast Chamber Orchestra.

She performs on the Matteo Goffriller cello, Venice, ca. 1715, on a generous loan by Samsung Music Foundation through the Strad Society.

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.

PHOTO: By Fred Stucker

No comments:

Post a Comment