For the past three years, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has teamed up with Princeton University to present a week-long Composition Institute sponsored by the Edward T. Cone Foundation. Last week, four emerging composers, selected from an international applicant pool of university composition students and composers in the early stages of their careers, worked on the details and refinements of their pieces, aided by the players of the NJSO, Institute conductor David Robertson, and Institute Director and composer Steven Mackey. The week culminated in a performance by the NJSO Saturday night in Richardson Auditorium. more
THIS ONE’S FOR THE GIRLS: See 14-time Grammy nominated country star Martina McBride perform at the State Theatre of NJ in New Brunswick on Thursday, August 25 at 8 p.m. McBride is well-known for her soprano singing range and country pop materials. Her greatest hits include “Independence Day,” “A Broken Wing,” “Wild Angels,” and “This One’s for the Girls.”
In pursuing its theme of “the Other,” Princeton Summer Theater (PST), last weekend opened its third production of the season, a funny, philosophical, verbally dazzling production of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard’s 1966 masterpiece spin-off from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. more
Oscar October (his stage name) introduced Spacetime Riffs, a local improvisational theater group of about ten performers, to the assembled audience at a recent performance.
“It’s not stand-up comedy,” he said. “It’s not set piece comedy. It’s unique. It’s improv.” And just to make sure the spectators were fully prepared, “I’m pretty sure we’ll offend everybody before the evening is over.” more
The city of Trenton and The Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) host The Levitt AMP Music Series on Capital Green, July 23 through September 24. Trenton was selected to receive a grant of $25,000 to hold 10 free, family-friendly concerts each beginning at 7:30 p.m. Trenton based NJM Insurance Group is also a presenting sponsor. more
BLUE CURTAIN RETURNS WITH AN EVENING OF WORLD MUSIC TO HEAT UP THE SUMMER NIGHT: Celebrating 12 years of bringing world-class musicians from around the globe to Princeton for FREE summer concerts, Blue Curtain returns to Community Park North Amphitheater in Pettoranello Gardens on Saturday, July 16 starting at 7 p.m. with Latin jazz legend Papo Vázquez, Mighty Pirates Troubadours and Sofia Rei, who has been called “one of the best Argentine singers ever.”
Featuring Caribbean and South American sounds, Blue Curtain welcomes Papo Vázquez Mighty Pirates Troubadours and Sofia Rei to Pettoranello Gardens on Saturday, July 16 at 7 p.m. The concert is free. more
In musical performance, the term “trio” refers to any combination of three instruments, often two stringed instruments and a keyboard. Prima Trio, which performed last Tuesday night on the Princeton Summer Chamber Concerts series, has put their own twist on this tradition by combining piano and clarinet with either violin or viola. Gulia Gurevich has expanded the range of Prima Trio by playing both violin and viola, joining clarinetist Boris Allakhverdyan and pianist Anastasia Dedik. Each of these players comes from a unique part of the world, and brought their multicultural backgrounds and solid training to Richardson Auditorium for last Tuesday night’s performance. The members of Prima Trio honed their craft at Oberlin Conservatory and through 12 years of playing together and touring, their performance moved from traditional to contemporary, with much of the program drawn from the 20th century.
The setting is a fashionable living room in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn. The leather furniture is spare and tasteful. A large vase of tulips graces the elegant coffee table, which is covered with art books. An expensive-looking painting fills the back wall.
Two sets of well-educated upper middle class parents are discussing a playground dispute that has taken place between their 11-year-old sons. “Fortunately, there is still such a thing as the art of co-existence, isn’t there?” says Veronica, whose son has lost two teeth in the incident.
Since its inception 49 years ago, Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts has presented many fine string quartets. All-female quartets have been few and far between, and ensembles which can mesmerize an audience as well as the Aizuri Quartet are even rarer. The Summer Chamber Concerts opening event last Thursday night featuring the Aizuri Quartet brought a nearly full house to Richardson Auditorium to hear excellence in chamber music performance.
Princeton Summer Theater’s (PST) 2016 season opener, Assassins, is chilling in its timeliness.
Just five days after a gunman assassinated 49 people in Orlando, the opening-night audience watched as nine characters — all wannabe assassins of U.S. Presidents — paraded across the Hamilton Murray stage, brandishing an array of firearms. more
This season Princeton Festival has undertaken one of the most complex and challenging operas in the repertory with Benjamin Britten’s dark but poetic Peter Grimes. Like the World War II years in which the opera was composed, Peter Grimes has many levels, reaching back to 19th century morality while drawing on fears and suspicions still prevalent today. The date of the opera’s premiere, in London’s first few post-war months, makes the genesis of this work even more remarkable. more
State Theatre of NJ in New Brunswick will host a free screening of Disney’s “Frozen” on Tuesday, July 12 at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. The event is part of a Free Summer Movie Series at the State Theatre. Upcoming films include “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Babe,” and “Monsters University.” For more information, visit www.statetheatrenj.org.
SUMMER COURTYARD CONCERT SERIES: Soul R&B artist Lindsey Webster will perform at the Princeton Shopping Center on Thursday, July 7 at 6 p.m. as part of the Summer Courtyard Concert Series.
The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP), in partnership with the Princeton Shopping Center and Edens, presents the Summer Courtyard Concert Series every Thursday from June 23 to August 25 at 6 p.m. in the Princeton Shopping Center Courtyard, 301 North Harrison Street. more
Dark Star Orchestra – Publicity Images – 2016 – Suzy Perler
The Mercer County Park Commission announces that “Dark Star Orchestra: Continuing the Grateful Dead Concert” is coming to Mercer County Park Festival Grounds on Friday, August 12. The concert will start at 6 p.m., with doors opening at 5 p.m. Tickets are $27 for general admission and are available now for purchase through the Sun National Bank Center box office. To purchase, call (800)-298-4200 or visit www.sunnationalbankcenter.com.
Over 120 young pianists competed in this year’s Princeton Festival Piano Competition. The 2016 Young Artist Winners are (l to r): Mia Huang, Petrina Steimel, Stephen Joven-Lee, Isabella Florendo, Kyle Huang, Angeline Ma and Linsy Wang. Jacobs Music was again the sponsor for the Young Pianists Competition, which has been a highly anticipated feature of The Princeton Festival since 2008. Lois Laverty and Glenn Smith were Masters of Ceremonies and Randy Brown from Jacobs Music Company presented the awards. (Photo Credit: Pia Ruggles)
“THE PLAY’S THE THING”: “We thought this was an opportunity for Pennington School graduates to continue to work in the theater. They might not have been able to do this after graduation, and found they missed it. It’s also an opportunity to work together with alumni who were not classmates. We have graduates from the Class of 2016 and one from 2011.” Henry Sheeran (left) and Tim Secrest, Pennington School Class of 2014, have started a new theater company, which will have its first production June 23.
CLARIFICATION: The Pennington School production of “Charlie and Bruno” will be performed on Thursday and Friday, June 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 25 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The curtain is going up on a brand new production at The Pennington School. Charlie and Bruno, a one act play, written, produced, directed, and acted by former Pennington School students, will be performed at the school June 23rd and 24th. more
Princeton Festival has placed a special emphasis on the music of 20th-century British composer Benjamin Britten this year. The cornerstone opera of the Festival’s 2016 season is Britten’s Peter Grimes, and this past Friday night, Concordia Chamber Players offered some of Britten’s more charming works for voice and instruments as the festival concluded its first week. more
The Prima Trio will perform at Richardson Auditorium on Tuesday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts series. Founded in 2004 while its members were studying at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, the Trio triumphed at the 2007 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, winning the coveted Grand Prize, as well as the Gold Medal in the Senior Division. In addition, the Prima Trio was awarded a Midwest Winner’s Tour and a European debut at Italy’s Emilia Romagna Festival. more
Soprano Dominika Zamara and classical guitarist Stanley Alexandrowicz will perform arias, songs, and solos at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 10, at the Lawrence Headquarters Branch of the Mercer County Library System. The program will highlight Romantic-era songs by Croatia’s preeminent 19th century composer-guitarist Ivan Padovec (1800-1873), Baroque and contemporary guitar solos, as well as famous operatic arias by Vincenzo Bellini (“Casta Diva” — from the opera “Norma”), and Georges Bizet (“Habanera” — from the opera “Carmen”). more
Photography by Erica Cardenas
The Historical Society of Princeton’s Concert Under the Stars took place on Saturday, June 4 at Updike Farmstead in Princeton. Guests enjoyed wine and dined outdoors while exploring the property’s six acre estate. This year’s fundraiser featured a 90-minute live performance by The Samples, an indie rock band formed in 1985. The event proved to be one of the most memorable nights of the summer.
A PRESTIGIOUS PRIZE: Max Azaro and his mother, Kathy Azaro, attended the opening of American Ballet Theatre at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. As part of the festivities, Max was presented with the coveted Northern Trust Scholarship. (Photo Courtesy of ABT Jackie Kennedy Onassis School)
Max Azaro was already studying gymnastics when he first took his place at the ballet barre at Princeton Dance and Theater Studio in Forrestal Village. For the energetic 10-year-old, there was something about this different way of movement that grabbed his attention. He has never looked back.
Princeton Pro Musica closed its 2015-16 season with a concert of Americana this past weekend. In this election year, Pro Musica Music Director Ryan James Brandau chose to program Sunday afternoon’s performance at Richardson Auditorium in the hope that the spirit of American classical music might effectively ground people amidst the political flurry. With a sampling of 20th and 21st-century choral works, the 100-voice Pro Musica ended their season in uplifting fashion. more
The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is pleased to be partnering with the Princeton Festival and Princeton Garden Theatre to present Voices of Light, an oratorio by Richard Einhorn with the 1928 silent film classic The Passion of Joan of Arc, on Thursday, June 9 at 8:30 p.m. at the Princeton University Chapel. It is a first collaboration of the orchestra with the festival, made possible through the generous support of long-term PSO patrons Enea and Dave Tierno.
PSO Executive Director Marc Uys elaborated on the benefits of the new partnership, “The PSO is always looking for opportunities to work with other arts organizations in the community. This partnership with the Princeton Festival is ideal as it provides patrons and new audiences the chance to experience the excellence of PSO musicians in a unique setting, accompanying beautiful vocals with the added element of a classic film.”
The Princeton Festival’s General and Artistic Director Richard Tang Yuk is equally pleased with the collaboration. He said, “We are thrilled to be collaborating with the PSO on this very engaging and moving multi-media project.” more
Princeton Day School (PDS) Director in Residence Stan Cahill announced that Austin Phares ’16, star of the fall production of Our Town, was named Outstanding Actor in a Drama at the 2016 New Jersey Theatre Awards held at Montclair State University on May 16, 2016. The cast of Our Town was also named Outstanding Acting Ensemble. Productions from 57 schools across New Jersey were eligible. more
Many dance schools place students in classes based solely on age. At Princeton Ballet School, age is only one factor in determining a student’s placement. Entering students with prior dance training for 1st through 5th grades, and grades 6 and up are welcome to audition. Open enrollment for all other students is underway, as well.