Wednesday, October 25, 2017

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra performs works by Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev


The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Xian Zhang present works by Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev, November 30–December 3 in Englewood, Newark and New Brunswick. Pianist Stephen Hough, whom The Times of London calls “one of the greatest living pianists,” performs Rachmaninoff’s kaleidoscopic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini on a program that also includes the composer’s Vocalise and the NJSO premiere of Prokofiev’s Sixth Symphony, a poignant post-war elegy.

Performances take place on Thursday, November 30, at 7:30 pm at bergenPAC in Englewood; Friday, December 1, at 8 pm and Sunday, December 3 at 3 pmat the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark; and Saturday, December 2, at 8 pm at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick.

The NJSO Academy Orchestra—the top ensemble of the NJSO Youth Orchestras family—opens the December 1 concert with a showcase performance of Shostakovich’s Festive Overture under the baton of Interim Artistic Director José Luis Domínguez.

In a special NJSO Accent event in New Brunswick, NJSO patrons can tour the Zimmerli Museum exhibition “Russian and Soviet Art, Commemorating the Russian Revolution, 1917/2017” with curator Julia Tulovsky on December 2 at 5 pm before the NJSO’s State Theatre New Jersey performance. Tickets for the tour are $10; reservations are required. Additional information is available at

The weekend’s NJSO Accent events also include Classical Conversations one hour before the November 30 and December 3 performances. The Orchestra holds its annual Toys for Tots drive at all performances; patrons can bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate in the lobby.

Concert tickets start at $20 and are available for purchase at or 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476).


Hough Plays Rachmaninoff

Thu, Nov 30, at 7:30 pm | bergenPAC in Englewood

Fri, Dec 1, at 8 pm | NJPAC in Newark *

Sat, Dec 2, at 8 pm | State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick

Sun, Dec 3, at 3 pm | NJPAC in Newark

Xian Zhang, conductor

Stephen Hough, piano

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra


RACHMANINOFF Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 6 (NJSO Premiere)

* Special NJSO Academy Orchestra performance: Friday’s concert opens with a performance by the NJSO Youth Orchestras’ Academy Orchestra.

Learn more at


Classical Conversation—Thu, Nov 30 at 6:30 pm and Sun, Dec 3 at 2 pm
Enjoy a lively Classical Conversation before the performance. Learn more about the music from NJSO musicians, guest artists and other engaging insiders.

Museum Tour—Sat, Dec 2 at 5 pm
Enhance your concert experience with this exclusive opportunity to tour the Zimmerli Museum’s special exhibition—Russian and Soviet Art, Commemorating the Russian Revolution, 1917/2017—with curator Julia Tulovsky. $10, reservations required. More info and reservations.

Toys for Tots
Bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the NJSO’s annual Toys for Tots drive.


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. Her 2017–18 BBC NOW season includes 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.

Stephen Hough, piano

Stephen Hough is regarded as a renaissance man of his time. Over the course of his career, he has distinguished himself as a true polymath, securing a reputation not only as a uniquely insightful concert pianist but also as a writer and composer. Hough is commended for his mastery of the instrument along with an individual and inquisitive mind, which have earned him a multitude of prestigious awards and a long-standing international following.

In 2001, Hough was the first classical performing artist to win a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. He was awarded Northwestern University’s 2008 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano, won the Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist Award in 2010 and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2014.

Hough has appeared with most of the major American and European orchestras and plays recitals regularly in major halls, concert series and festivals around the world. He has made more than 20 concerto appearances at the BBC Proms, including performing Tchaikovsky’s complete works for piano and orchestra over the summer of 2009—a series he later repeated with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Much of Hough’s catalog of more than 50 albums has garnered international prizes, including the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, Diapason d’Or, Monde de la Musique, Grammy nominations and eight Gramophone Awards.

Hough resides in London, where he is a visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music and holds the International Chair of Piano Studies at his alma mater, the Royal Northern College in Manchester. He is also a member of the faculty at The Juilliard School. 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 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, 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.

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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