April 17, 2019

…the consensus today is that the universe is speckled with black holes furiously consuming everything around them.
—Dennis Overbye, New York Times, April 11, 2019

By Stuart Mitchner

The black hole has become Dennis Overbye’s muse. He holds it to the light like a diamond flashing metaphors and analogies. Thanks to Overbye, the grim morning ritual of the New York Times became a joyous reading experience last Thursday. For a glorious half hour, his word-drunk response to the phenomenon consumed the gloom of the Trump-driven news cycle and put the universe back in balance.

The day began with a cat, a sixteen-year-old black and white female who expects me to sit on the chaise by the window with her every morning and read to her from whatever book is handy, W.S. Merwin’s poetry, Green Eggs and Ham, King Lear, she doesn’t care, she’s not picky as long as I read quietly and her stomach gets rubbed, gently, gently, at the same time. On the morning in question, the book was Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and as fate would have it, I was reading the first paragraph under the heading “On the Afterworldly.” Which is how I went from Nietzsche’s view of the world as “the work of a suffering and tortured god” to the Times’ front page photograph of “a cosmic abyss so deep and dense that not even light can escape it”; from the Overman’s “colored smoke before the eyes of a dissatisfied deity” to the  Overbye’s “smoke ring framing a one-way portal to eternity.” Says Zarathustra: “Good and evil and joy and pain and I and you —  colored smoke this seemed to me before creative eyes …. Drunken joy it is for the sufferer to look away from his suffering and to lose himself.”

A few minutes later it’s drunken joy for the sufferer of the news of the day to read of “Monster runaway stars,” “the behemoth of nothingness,” “the doughnut of doom,” and “the unknown forces that reign at the center, where theoretically, the density approaches infinity and smoke pours from nature’s computer.”

Thus spoke Overbye, and on the facing page of the Times a feast of subheads: “A black hole is a hungry beast,” “Black holes can sing,” “Black holes are stellar tombstones,” “‘A black hole has no hair,’” “A black hole is not forever.” more

The Westminster Conservatory at Nassau series will continue on Thursday, April 25 at 12:15 p.m. with En famille, a program designed to observe the centennial of the death of Claude Debussy. The recital includes a spoken monologue, readings, and selections from Debussy’s music for piano, performed by Westminster faculty member Mary Greenberg.

The recital will take place in the Niles Chapel of Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street, and is open to the public free of charge. To avoid a conflict with Holy Week observances, this recital takes place on the fourth, rather than the usual third Thursday of the month. more

“GOLDEN BUDDHA”: Helene Plank’s button and bead mosaic will be featured in the “Mercer Family and Friends 2019” art show at the Lawrence Headquarters Branch of the Mercer County Library System. The show runs May 2 through May 30, with a reception on May 5 from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Lawrence Headquarters Branch of the Mercer County Library System will feature the exhibit “Mercer Family and Friends 2019” from May 2 through May 30. A reception is scheduled for Sunday, May 5, from 2 to 4 p.m. The library is located at 2751 Brunswick Pike (Route 1) in Lawrenceville, at the corner of Route 1 and Darrah Lane.

The common thread among the artists in the exhibit is that all of them were associated with Mercer County Community College. The show features the watercolors of Clara Sue Beym and Margaret Simpson, along with Giancarla Macaluso’s sculptures. Helene Plank’s jewelry and button mosaics will be on display. Margaret Woo will also be exhibiting her jewelry. Connie Cruser will display her works in paper filigree and other mixed media. The show will also feature acrylic paintings by Bill Plank and John A. Brecko Jr.

For more information, call (609) 883-8294, email lawprogs@mcl.org or visit www.mcl.org.

“MANHATTAN SKYLINE FROM THE RIVER”: This watercolor by John Marin is featured in “Becoming John Marin: Modernist at Work,” on exhibit at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University through May 26.

The artistic evolution of an iconic American modernist is the focus of an exhibition now open at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. “Becoming John Marin: Modernist at Work” explores the artist’s intuitive draftsmanship and innovative work in watercolors. A revelatory look at Marin’s work, the exhibition affords a unique opportunity to vicariously watch an artist inspired by his surroundings and responding through drawing.

“Drawing was central to Marin’s artistic process, and he made thousands throughout his career,” said Ann Prentice Wagner, Ph.D., curator of drawings at the Arkansas Arts Center, who organized the exhibition. “These working drawings give us invaluable insights into Marin’s creative process. The on-the-spot sketches are priceless. They capture the artist’s initial ideas about subjects he went on to paint or depict in prints — like the Brooklyn Bridge and the New York skyline.”

“The works featured in ‘Becoming John Marin’ provide both beautiful and exciting examples of Marin’s rigorous drawing practice, and visitors will delight in seeing how he translated familiar regional sites into dynamic compositions,” added Christine Giviskos, Ph.D., curator of prints, drawings, and European art at the Zimmerli. more

FINDING REDEMPTION: In “The Mustang,” a violent criminal (Matthias Schoenaerts) learns to tame his anger by participating in a program that pairs inmates with wild mustangs. (Photo courtesy of Focus Features)

By Kam Williams

Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts) has too quick a fuse to think before he acts. That’s why he’s done a dozen years and counting in a maximum-security prison for impulsively delivering a brutal beating that left his victim permanently brain-damaged. 

Even while incarcerated, Roman never learned to control his temper. Consequently, he’s voluntarily spent the bulk of his time in solitary confinement.

A shot at rehabilitation arrives when Myles (Bruce Dern), a salty old horse whisperer, offers Roman a spot in his program pairing inmates with wild mustangs. The hope is that each participant will learn to tame his own raging inner soul while bonding with his stallion. more

MOVING ON: “I’ve had many wonderful and loyal clients over the years. It has been a great experience, and although Chelsea Crimpers is closed, I still plan to work at what I enjoy doing.” Bob Lovuolo, longtime owner of Chelsea Crimpers hair salon, is proud of his years at the salon, and looks forward to some time off while still being involved in the hair industry.

By Jean Stratton

For more than 45 years, Chelsea Crimpers on Spring Street helped scores of customers look their best. Whether a special style, cut, or color change was needed, owner Bob Lovuolo and his staff could be counted on to provide expert service.

After so many years, Lovuolo decided to close Chelsea Crimpers and take a semi-retirement. “I had an opportunity to sell the building,” he says, “and after all these years, it seemed like a good time to make a change. I still plan to keep my hand in however, and I will be affiliated with the EYStaats & Company Haircutters at 10 Moore Street. I’ll be available for my clients at least two days a week, on Tuesday and Thursday.”

His longtime associate and stylist Armida Bella will also join him at EYStaats. more

April 10, 2019

By Stuart Mitchner

My life has a happy ending.
— Dexter Gordon (1923-1990)

It’s that time of year, Princeton’s in its glory, baseball’s here again, and I’m driving with the windows down listening to Dexter Gordon, a player for all seasons. I can choose from postwar wonders like “Dexter Rides Again,” where Long Tall Dexter comes charging, guns blazing, out of the box, or it might be the headlong post-penitentiary euphoria of “Daddy Plays the Horn” and “Stanley the Steamer,” or the sound of his early 1960s New York renaissance in Go, surely the only jazz album to make it into a Swedish novel in which a character who hears it feels “blessed, clear-headed and strong,” for when you’ve listened to Dexter “you tell nothing but the truth for a long while.”

That quote from Svante Foerster’s novel is among the riches in Maxine Gordon’s Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon (Univ. of California Press), which was the subject of a lively, jazz-ambient conversation late last month at Labyrinth Books between Maxine and Richard Lawn, the author of Experiencing Jazz, and All About Jazz’s Victor L. Schermer. The only thing  lacking was a set of speakers so that everyone present could hear samples of the tenor saxophonist’s massive sound; instead, people happily settled for the story of the fan who fainted when he heard the real thing in person.  more

By Nancy Plum

Boheme Opera NJ is marking its 30th anniversary this season, and the regional opera company is not celebrating quietly. In this past weekend’s productions at the College of New Jersey’s Kendall Mainstage Theater, Boheme Opera NJ took on a blockbuster from a master of Italian dramatic opera in Giuseppe Verdi’s monumental Aida. An opera in four acts (the last two are often combined), Verdi’s 1871 Aida was a departure for the composer in that there were no show-stopping arias of vocal fireworks for superstar singers; rather, the technical demands were evenly spread among all performers. The principal singers assembled by Boheme Opera NJ for Friday night’s performance (the production was repeated Sunday afternoon) consistently demonstrated their mastery of Verdi’s rich harmonic score and musical drama. Against a simple set leaving much of the locale depiction to a digital backdrop, the performers in this production were able to easily captivate the audience throughout the poignant story.

The timeframe of Aida is deliberately vague and open to interpretation, described only as during the “Old Kingdom of Egypt” (covering a good four centuries), and  Boheme Opera NJ placed the story “during the reign of the Pharaohs,” with virtual set artist J. Matthew Root’s digital scenery showing settings of Luxor in Upper Egypt and inner tombs of pyramids while the opening orchestral prelude was played. The orchestra assembled in the pit, and led by Artistic Director and Conductor Joseph Pucciatti, began the opera to the digital accompaniment of the Nile River flowing by as lean violins and graceful wind solos moved the tempo along as smoothly as the Nile. more

“FICTION”: Performances are underway for Pegasus Theatre Company’s production of “Fiction.” Directed by Peter Bisgaier, the play runs through April 14 at the West Windsor Arts Center. Linda (Jennifer Nasta Zefutie, foreground) is forced to re-examine her marriage to Michael (David C. Neal, rear left), when she reads his journal entries about his encounter with the mysterious Abby (Sarah Stryker, rear right) at a writers’ retreat.  (Photo by Darren Sussman)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

When author Linda Waterman is diagnosed with a malignant tumor and given three weeks to live, she secures a promise from her husband Michael, who also is a writer, that he will read her diaries after she dies. She also asks him to let her read his journals. This request makes him edgy, but he agrees — after tearing a page out of one of his notebooks. What follows is the unveiling of multiple layers of secrets in a seemingly close, if contentious, marriage — secrets that may or may not be true.

Written by Steven Dietz, Fiction premiered in 2002 at McCarter Theatre Center. The play returns to the Princeton area through the Pegasus Theatre Company. more

Princeton Record Exchange, at 20 South Tulane Street, will mark the 12th annual National Record Store Day on Saturday, April 13. Record Store Day celebrates the culture of the independently owned record store.

The day is designed to bring together fans, artists, and thousands of independent record stores across the world. On this day, hundreds of limited-edition titles are sold exclusively at stores such as Princeton Record Exchange.

The main attraction of Record Store Day is the availability of titles on vinyl that can only be found in participating independent bricks-and-mortar stores. At last count, there are over 400 limited edition titles being released this year.

Adding to the collectible appeal, most of these records have very limited production runs, typically from 100 to 5,000 pieces. They are allocated by the distributors to stores around the country, and the stores don’t know what they’ll receive until the last minute. For the last few years, Princeton Record Exchange has ended up with over 1,500 pieces for sale. more

On Saturday, April 20 at 8 p.m., the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk) performs “Mirror Displays,” a free concert, at Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall on the Princeton University campus. Rage Thormbones is special guest.

Pieces feature electronically processed tap dance, live-coded orchestra sounds, trombones equipped with custom electronics to provide musical control of feedback, a piece of music that is also a video game, live group-typed spoken work poetry, tap dance controlled lights, and a piece where the audience’s cell phones are part of the musical soundscape. more

“SHAD”: This painting by Trenton artist Abelardo Montano is featured in “UpStream,” a group art show celebrating spring by the river, on view at Cross Pollination Gallery in Lambertville April 12 to May 11. An opening reception with the artists is Saturday, April 13 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Cross Pollination Gallery in Lambertville invites the public to an opening reception of “UpStream,” a group art show celebrating spring, the river, and the fish that are coming back to spawn and start a new life cycle. The show is on view April 12 to May 11. The opening reception is Saturday, April 13, 5-8 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. more

“ORPHEUS LOOKED”: Works by New York-based photographer Rachel Stern will be on display in at Mercer County Community College’s James Kerney Campus Gallery in Trenton April 11 through May 9. A community reception and artist talk take place Wednesday, April 17, 5 to 7 p.m.

Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) James Kerney Campus Gallery (JKCG) will showcase works by Rachel Stern in the exhibit “Orpheus Looked.” The show runs from Thursday, April 11 to Thursday, May 9. The community is invited to a reception and artist talk with Stern on Wednesday, April 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. The talk starts at 6 p.m.

JKCG is located in MCCC’s Trenton Hall, 137 North Broad Street, across the street from the James Kerney Building.  more

“THE OVERGROWN QUARRY”: This archival print on Kinwashi paper is featured in “Intrepid Alchemist: Diane Levell’s Bucks County,” on view at the Michener Museum of Art through July 28. The exhibit features more than 20 photographs of Bucks County through the seasons.

The Michener Art Museum shines light on a series of photographs for its newest exhibition, “Intrepid Alchemist: Diane Levell’s Bucks County.” On view through July 28, this collection of landscape images by master photographer Diane Levell (American, born 1946) features more than 20 photographs printed on Japanese rice paper which illuminates Levell’s unique approach of transforming the familiar into the magical.

“Diane, a fearless adventurer and pioneer, continues to surprise, experiment, and push the boundaries of photography, and challenges viewers to slow down and look closely enough for an alchemical transformation of matter to take place before their eyes,” says Michener Executive Director Kathleen V. Jameson. “Her works are marked by poetic beauty coupled with technical prowess, and it has been a delightful experience to work with her on this presentation.” more

SURVIVAL TALE: “Breakthrough,” based on a memoir by Joyce Smith, recounts the unlikely survival of her son John (played by Marcel Ruiz) after he was submerged for more than 15 minutes in a frozen lake. (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

By Kam Williams

Despite having a couple of generic American names, John Smith’s (Marcel Ruiz) life story has been anything but boring. It’s just too bad that the shy 14-year-old has been too embarrassed to share it. 

He was born in Guatemala, but raised in Missouri by Brian (Josh Lucas) and Joyce Smith (Chrissy Metz), the missionary couple that adopted him as an infant. But even the terrific childhood they provided couldn’t supply answers to nagging questions that still burdened the boy in junior high, like wondering why his birth mom didn’t love him enough to keep him. John was so traumatized that he gave his teacher an excuse the day he was supposed to make a class presentation about his family tree. more

April 3, 2019

By Stuart Mitchner

With Town Topics set to print on Marlon Brando’s 95th birthday, I’ve been riding the wild west of cyberspace to Odessa, the birthplace of Charles Neider, who wrote the novel that inspired One-Eyed Jacks, possibly the most quotable western ever made and the only film Brando ever directed.

You might think the writer of such a book would hail from the Odessa in Texas where there’s an eight-foot-tall statue of a jackrabbit downtown. In fact, Charles Neider was born in January 1915 in the Russian city where Pushkin wrote part of Eugene Onegin and Eisenstein shot the cinematic landmark of the slaughter on the Odessa Steps for his 1925 film Battleship Potemkin.

When Neider died in Princeton in July 2001, the New York Times remembered him as a prolific essayist, novelist, nature writer and a devoted Twain scholar who edited, arranged, and introduced The Autobiography of Mark Twain (1959). The first time Neider read The Innocents Abroad, which is included in his edition of The Complete Travel Books, he must have smiled to find that Twain had “not felt so much at home for a long time” as he had when he visited Odessa, which “looked just like an American city …. Look up the street or down the street, this way or that way, we saw only America!”

Mentioned in passing in the Times obit was Neider’s book The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones (1956), which novelist Wirt Williams suggests “may be the greatest ‘western’ ever written” in his introduction to the 1972 paperback edition. Almost 40 years later, a July 2010 article in The Independent claims that Hendry Jones is “better than any other book on the subject of men, horses, and death, except Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry.”  more

Momix is an outgrowth of the groundbreaking dance company Pilobolus, and it comes to McCarter Theatre Saturday, April 6 at 8 p.m. The creations of founder Moses Pendleton and colleagues conjure up a world of surrealistic images using props, lights, shadow, humor, and the human body in sometimes startling ways. On the program are excerpts from “Botanica,” “Alchemia,” “Remix,” “Opus,” and “Lunar Sea.” Tickets start at $25. Visit mccarter.org or call (609) 258-2787.

Gustavo Dudamel, Princeton University Concerts’ first artist-in-residence and current music and artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will return to the Princeton University campus for the final leg of his residency, from Monday, April 22 through Sunday, April 28.

Events include a performance by and community jam session with members of the Berlin Philharmonic, a showcase by students from the El Sistema-inspired Harmony Program of New York City, conversations with Nobel Prize-winning physicist Kip Thorne and Irish public intellectual Fintan O’Toole, a day of shared music-making by almost 300 students from El Sistema-inspired programs across the East Coast, a film screening at the Princeton Garden Theatre, and two concerts in which Dudamel conducts the Princeton University Orchestra and Glee Club — one of which is a free (but ticketed) community concert at the Trenton War Memorial.

On Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m., members of the Ensemble Berlin will present works by Schubert, Wagner, and a world premiere by Princeton University faculty composer Steven Mackey in a program curated by Dudamel that celebrates the intersection of music and nature. Ensemble Berlin is made up of five players from the Berlin Philharmonic. They are joined by another four players from KonstKnekt, the orchestra’s training program located in Norway. A post-concert discussion extending this topic to the intersection between art (broadly defined) and nature will follow with Dudamel and Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Kip Thorne (California Institute of Technology). more

“GUMJI IN TOWN”: Whimsical digital illustrations by Sunghye Cho are featured in “Fly Gumji,” on view April 6 through May 1 at the Plainsboro Library Gallery. An artist reception is Sunday, April 7 from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Plainsboro Library Gallery presents “Fly Gumji” April 6 through May 1. Inspired by her beloved pet, Gumji, artist Sunghye Cho depicts a character that travels the world in detailed, fun, and humorous digital illustrations. From Manhattan to Sapporo, Japan, and Chamonix, the viewer is treated to whimsical urban scenes throughout the world in the form of colorful large format prints.

Large sketches will also be displayed, including renderings that show the development of the illustrated character. Cho’s work is created in Photoshop, and those interested in digital and graphic illustration are sure to enjoy this exhibit. An artist reception will be held on Sunday, April 7, from 2 to 4 p.m.  more

“BOOK CLUB”: This painting by Natalie Kinnemon of Pennington is among approximately 60 works on display at the Gallery at Mercer County Community College’s 2019 “Visual Arts Student Exhibition.” The show runs through April 25.

The work of visual arts students at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) is now on display as the Gallery at Mercer presents its annual “Visual Arts Student Exhibition.” The exhibit, featuring the best works of MCCC students, runs through Thursday, April 25. It is free and is open to the public.

MCCC Gallery Director and Curator Alice Thompson notes that the student exhibition is an important element of the continued growth of students studying visual arts. “It’s a departure from the relative safety of the classroom to present one’s creative exploration to the public. The ongoing encouragement and support of the MCCC visual arts faculty continues to guide our students along the path to becoming visual arts professionals,” she said. more

“SUMMIT”: This painting by Florence Moonan is featured in “Mélange,” her exhibit at the East Amwell Museum April 6 through May 12. An artist reception is Friday, April 12, 7 to 9 p.m.

Contemporary artist Florence Moonan will be mixing things up for her solo exhibition at the newly-dedicated East Amwell Museum. “Mélange,” a medley of art, will run from April 6 through May 12, with a free public reception with the artist on Friday, April 12 from 7-9 p.m.

Moonan says an expressive language felt deep inside her directs her work as an artist. Its song is aroused by family memories, the natural world, her travel experiences, and vivid recollections of performing in St. John Terrell’s Lambertville Music Circus, a cultural attraction in Hunterdon County from 1949 to 1970. Her love of performing merged into painting in adulthood after her father gave her a set of acrylics and told her to paint. more

MYSTERY AT TWIN ELMS: Nancy Drew (Sophia Lillis, left) investigates paranormal activity inside an old mansion owned by Flora (Linda Lavin) in “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase.” (Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)

By Kam Williams

After the untimely death of his wife, Carson Drew decided he and his daughter Nancy (Sophia Lillis) might benefit from a change of scenery. So, they moved from Chicago to an idyllic oasis in suburbia called River Heights.

The relocation proved to be far more of a challenge for Nancy than her civil rights attorney father, a pillar of the legal community, since the 16-year-old found herself having to adjust to a new school. Plus, the picture-perfect town seemed pretty dull, at first blush, to a thrill-seeker born with a sense of adventure. more

March 27, 2019

By Stuart Mitchner

Say you’re on a dream tour of literary capitals. Instead of London, you get off the train in the ramshackle world of Dickens. Instead of Paris, you disembark in the swarming, exciting metropolis of Balzac. Each time your expectations will be satsfied and exceeded by a variety of metropolitan possibilities. But if the train stops at Kafka, it’s another, darker story. The skies will be grey, if not drizzling, the wind will be stiff and harsh, the station will have a dreary, haunted look, and two men in overcoats will intercept you before you have a chance to get your bearings. They want your papers, only you have the wrong papers it seems. But who’s complaining? This is  the scene the guidebook promised. It’s only a dream, so enjoy your stay in Kafka, even if you don’t get out alive or in your right mind.

But imagine arriving in the sunlit splendor of another city with the same name, the station lined with smiling booksellers whose carts are stocked with volumes rich and strange. The station master not only shakes your hand, he gives you a hug. Everyone’s glad to see you. The girl driving the cab that takes you to your hotel is unthinkably charming, speaks English with an adorable accent, and offers to show you around town (by now the rain is gently falling), no strings attached, no design on your wallet. Would you be disappointed? Ask for your money back? Well, maybe.

Inspired by a Mistake

Just putting Kafka’s name at the top of this column is the equivalent of saying, “Close the curtains and prepare to be unnerved.” And it’s true that I’m returning to what might be called the scene of the crime, since a mistake is what set everything in motion. In my March 13 piece on Stanley Corngold’s new book Walter Kaufmann:Philosopher, Humanist, Heretic, I incorrectly attributed a quotation from Kafka to the “Letter to His Father” when in fact, the passage comes from Dearest Father (1953), a collection of writings centered on that famously unsent letter.

My atonement has been to read around in Kafka’s short fiction, sample some chapters from Amerika, his unfinished first novel (as are they all), and, in particular, plunge at random into The Diaries of Franz Kafka, 1914-1923, edited by his close friend  and executor Max Brod. As with the diary entries, I found the quotation in question at random, as if by accident, in the notes at the back of Corngold’s book. Here it is again: “I feel too tightly constricted in everything that signifies Myself: even the eternity that I am is too tight for me. But if, for instance, I read a good book, say, an account of travels, it rouses me, satisfies me, suffices me….From a certain stage of knowledge on, weariness, insufficiency, constriction, self-contempt must all vanish: namely at the point where I have the strength to recognize as my own nature what previously was something alien to myself that refreshed me, satisfied, liberated, and exalted me.” more

By Nancy Plum

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra launched into spring this past weekend with a performance at Richardson Auditorium that was three-fold — presenting an audience favorite, a monumental cello concerto, and a work showing Music Director Xian Zhang’s development of the ensemble since taking the NJSO helm. Friday night’s concert of “Zhang Conducts Schubert and Dvorák” was heavy on concerto soloists, and their collective technical abilities were well appreciated by the Richardson audience. 

Ninteenth-century composer Robert Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns in F Major had never been performed by the NJSO before this past weekend; this three-movement work placed the entire NJSO horn section front and center to showcase the capabilities and rich variety of colors available from the instrument. Horn players Chris Komer, Andrea Menousek, Lawrence DiBello, and Eric Reed played from the front of the stage, allowing the audience to hear Schumann’s motivic solo writing travel up and down the row of horns. Zhang began the first movement in a lively tempo, with a fanfare in well-tuned thirds from the horn soloists. Throughout the Konzertstück, Zhang kept the orchestral background clean, as horn solos were often answered by the Orchestra. Kathleen Nester’s piccolo playing added a sharply-defined color to the instrumental sound.

The darker second movement romanze was played in a more pensive style, with the four horn soloists providing a chorale-like texture.  Both Orchestra and soloists played uniform crescendi, and Zhang tapered the sections within the movement well. Komer, Menousek, DiBello, and Reed well handled the tricky fast-moving motives in the closing movement, emphasizing the hunting character of Schumann’s writing. The clean runs from the horns were complemented by lyrical melodies from the Orchestra, and the four players interacted well with each other. The trumpet section’s use of rotary trumpets enhanced the classical roots of this piece, adding a mellow color to the brass orchestration. more

Westminster Community Orchestra, conducted by Ruth Ochs, will present a concert titled “Solos to Symphony” on Sunday, March 31 at 3 p.m. in Hillman Performance Hall on the campus of Westminster Choir College on Walnut Lane. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

Featuring pianists Jian Kai Ang and Yi Zhang as well as students from Westminster Conservatory’s Suzuki violin program, the program includes Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in D Minor, Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in A Minor, and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3, “Scottish.” 

Jian Kai Ang has received recognition for his accomplishments in Singapore, Illinois, and New Jersey. Most recently, he was awarded the Grand Pix in the Music-Fest Rising Talents Festival and performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. Yi Zhang is a PhD student in science at Princeton University, and she has been studying piano since she came to the United States in 2016.  Both pianists are students of Phyllis Alpert Lehrer at Westminster Conservatory. more