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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

NJSO presents world premiere of Richard Danielpour concerto alongside works by Tchaikovsky and Haydn


Sara Daneshpour performs world premiere of Danielpour’s Carnival of the Ancients for Piano and Orchestra
Quartet of NJSO musicians take center stage for Haydn’s Sinfonia concertante
Music Director Xian Zhang conducts program that also features Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini and selections from Sleeping Beauty
NJSO Accents include ‘Sunday Afternoon Out’ LGBTQ event, Classical Conversations, musician talkback, food drive

Fri, Mar 9, at NJPAC in Newark
Sat, Mar 10, at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank
Sun, Mar 11, at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick

NEWARK, NJ—In a program anticipating major themes of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s recently announced 2018–19 season, the NJSO and Music Director Xian Zhang present the world premiere of Richard Danielpour’s Carnival of the Ancients for Piano and Orchestra alongside works by Tchaikovsky and Haydn, March 9–11 in Newark, Red Bank and New Brunswick.

With Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini and selections from Sleeping Beauty and the Danielpour concerto, the program, like many in the 2018–19 “Music Speaks” season, features music inspired by storytelling plus introduces a new work to NJSO audiences. The program also celebrates the artistic talent within the Orchestra, as a quartet of NJSO musicians takes center stage for Haydn’s Sinfonia concertante.

Performances take place on Friday, March 9, at 8 pm at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark; Saturday, March 10, at 8 pm at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank; and Sunday, March 11, at 3 pm at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick.

Pianist Sara Daneshpour joins the Orchestra for Danielpour’s concerto—a work written for her. Carnival of the Ancients is the third Danielpour world premiere the NJSO has presented in recent seasons, following The Wounded Healer (Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra) in 2016 and Kaddish for Violin and Orchestra with Gil Shaham in 2012. (The Orchestra also co-commissioned his Clarinet Concerto for Anthony McGill in 2014.)

The composer writes: “[Carnival of the Ancients] is really a series of ‘Persian Miniatures.’ The first three movements reflect images and stories from the Shahnameh, or Book of Kings, an ancient Persian book of fables. The last movement, ‘The Poets’ Invention,’ is an image of my own invention in which the spirits of the great Persian poets Rumi, Hafez and Khoyam dance the dance of whirling dervishes in paradise.”

Haydn’s Sinfonia concertante features NJSO Concertmaster Eric Wyrick, Principal Cello Jonathan Spitz, Principal Oboe Robert Ingliss and Principal Bassoon Robert Wagner.

Zhang has noted her affinity for Tchaikovsky, and press have praised her performances of his work. In November, NJ Advance Media wrote, “[Zhang] opened her tenure here just over a year ago with a concert of all-Tchaikovsky and her efforts with the romantic, Russian composer’s music continue to impress.”

The NJSO hosts Sunday Afternoon Out, with a post-concert reception for LGBTQ community members and friends, on March 11. The reception is free to ticketholders, but advance reservations are required. More information is available at

Other NJSO Accent events include a post-concert talkback about the orchestral audition process with a panel of NJSO musicians on March 9, as well as Classical Conversations beginning one hour before the March 10 and 11 performances.

The Orchestra hosts its annual food drive and will collect non-perishable food donations at all performances. More information is available at

Concert tickets start at $20 and are available for purchase online at or by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476). To register for the Sunday Afternoon Out event, use promo code SUNDAYOUT.

Zhang Conducts Tchaikovsky
Fri, Mar 9, at 8 pm | NJPAC in Newark
Sat, Mar 10, at 8 pm | Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank
Sun, Mar 11, at 3 pm | State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick

Xian Zhang, conductor
Sara Daneshpour, piano
Eric Wyrick, violin
Jonathan Spitz, cello
Robert Ingliss, oboe
Robert Wagner, bassoon
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

TCHAIKOVSKY Selections from The Sleeping Beauty
DANIELPOUR Carnival of the Ancients for Piano and Orchestra (World Premiere)
HAYDN Sinfonia concertante
TCHAIKOVSKY Francesca da Rimini

Classical Conversation—Sat, Mar 10 at 7 pm and Sun, Mar 11 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.

Talkback—Fri, Mar 9, after the concert
NJSO Behind the Scenes: don’t miss a panel of NJSO musicians describe the often grueling, but genuinely fascinating audition process.

Sunday Afternoon Out—Sun, Mar 11, after the concert
Spend an afternoon with LGBTQ friends and enjoy the NJSO’s concert, followed by a reception for members of the LGBTQ community. More info at

NJSO Food Drive
Non-perishable food items will be accepted for donation to local food banks. More info at

Full concert information is available at

The March 11 performance is generously sponsored by Bank of America.


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, currently led by José Luis Domínguez; 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 Community Partners 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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