November 10, 2021

By Stuart Mitchner

What passion cannot music raise and quell!

—John Dryden (1631-1700)

Driving toward the lake listening to Bob Dylan sing “Mother of Muses” (“sing your hearts out, all you women of the chorus / Sing of honor and fame and of glory be”), I’m brainstorming a column on the upcoming Friends of the Library Book Sale that would feature John Dryden, whose “Song for St. Cecilia’s Day” (1687) closes with a Grand Chorus that moves the Spheres:

“So when the last and dreadful hour / This crumbling pageant shall devour, / The trumpet shall be heard on high, / The dead shall live, the living die, / And music shall untune the sky.”

Dryden and Dylan? A rhyming made in heaven? Stranger things have happened. The Dylan of last year’s album Rough and Rowdy Ways would relate to the idea of music powerful enough to raise the dead, bring down the living, and untune the sky. His mother of muses isn’t all sweetness and light. “Unleash your wrath!” he tells her. “Things I can’t see, they’re blocking my path.”

Dryden knew about blocked paths. England’s first poet laureate “attained his celebrity at the cost of gossip and scandal and, in the last decade of his life (after the Glorious Revolution and his removal from the laureateship), of suspicion and scorn.” According to the introduction to the Penguin edition of Selected Poems, “He wrote about politics and religion, about trade and empire; he wrote for the theatre and for public occasion; he composed songs, fables, odes and panegyrics, brilliant satire and savage polemic; he translated from many languages and formulated an idiomatic, familiar and fluent prose style,” virtually inventing “the commercial literary career.” And having created a commercial career in music, Dylan might identify with Dryden’s “difficult public life, fashioned from his own unlikely personality — from his privacy, self-doubts, even verbal hesitation (qualities mocked by his enemies)” on his way to becoming “a public figure of literary distinction.”

While you may not immediately associate Dylan with “verbal hesitation” or “self-doubts,” the winner of the 2016 Nobel prize can definitely claim “literary distinction.” In “False Prophet,” he “opened his heart and the world came in,” and surely there’s room for Dryden’s rising, quelling music in there along with Walt Whitman’s “multitudes” and Stephen Crane’s Black Riders (“Black rider, black rider, you’ve been living too hard”). Like Dryden, Dylan’s “a man of contradictions, a man of many moods.” In “Key West,” the most haunting song on Rough and Rowdy Ways, he says “If you lost your mind you’ll find it there / Key West is on the horizon line.”

Last week my subject was Crane, who died at 28 in 1900, and now it’s Dryden, who died at 68 in 1700, both on the  horizon line of  new centuries. more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) presented the second of its live fall 2021 concerts this past Thursday night. Under the direction of Music Director Rossen Milanov, the Symphony performed a program centered on two Viennese masters at McCarter Theatre Center’s Matthews Theatre. Joined by guest piano soloist Shai Wosner, the ensemble performed music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Schubert, as well as a 21st-century piece by American composer Evan Williams.

PSO opened Thursday night’s concert with Williams’ one-movement The Dream Deferred for string orchestra and harp. Williams’ 2017 piece draws attention to the school-to-prison pipeline of individuals whose dreams are deferred by a derailed education and subsequent prison experience. With melodies written by New York area youth incorporated into the music, The Dream Deferred was inspired by the poetry of American author Langston Hughes. 

The symphony began the work with a dark unison from the strings and sharp accented jabs against a dissonant palette. Principal violist Stephanie Griffin played agitated viola passages depicting conflict and harpist André Tarantiles added to the intensity with precision and a percussive effect. The overall musical impression was one of tragic lost lives, contrasted by a melodic duet between the two violin sections. Conductor Milanov led the orchestra well through this accessible piece, effectively conveying the musical question of a provocative social issue in today’s world. 

Israel-born pianist Shai Wosner has been known for pairing classical masterpieces with contemporary works, so it was no surprise to hear Williams’ piece followed by a standard from Mozart’s piano concerto repertory. Mozart composed his 1784 Piano Concerto No. 15 in B-flat Major in a concertante style, with wind solos complementing the solo keyboard playing. The wind sections of PSO spoke well in the McCarter acoustic, with principal oboist Roni Gal-Ed elegantly carrying a great deal of the secondary melodic material of the first movement. Wosner displayed a light touch on the piano from the outset, with crisp unisons in tandem with the orchestra. Wosner kept the ornamental figures clean (especially an extended trill and playful cadenza) and played in a detached style to match the resonance of the hall. more

“HOW TO RAISE A FREEMAN”: McCarter Theatre and Bard at the Gate are presenting a prerecorded video of Zakiyyah Alexander’s “How to Raise a Freeman.” Directed by Reginald L. Douglas, the video is available via McCarter’s website. Above: Keith (Malcolm Barrett, top), Dean (Jamie Lincoln Smith, middle left) and Greg (Francois Battiste, middle right) teach Marcus (Aric Floyd, bottom) some lessons he will not learn in school. (Digital image courtesy of ViDCo)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter is presenting How to Raise a Freeman online as of November 3. The theater’s website describes Zakiyyah Alexander’s play as a “dark comedy that asks how a middle-class, African American family can keep their son alive in a world where every 28 hours a Black man is killed by law enforcement.”

The pre-filmed production is a collaboration between McCarter and Bard at the Gate. Founded by Paula Vogel, Bard at the Gate is “designed to become a widely accessible platform for powerful, overlooked plays by BIPOC, women, LGBTQ, and disabled artists,” according to the series’ website.

How to Raise a Freeman opens Bard at the Gate’s second season. The curators are Vogel; McCarter’s Associate Artistic Director Nicole A. Watson; and the Bard at the Gate Advisory Council. Princeton Public Library is hosting a Bard at the Gate Watch Party Series, the first installment of which took place on November 4.

Alexander is an award-winning writer whose other works include the plays 10 Things to Do Before I Die, The Etymology of Bird, and the musical Girl Shakes Loose. Her television credits include 24: Legacy, Grey’s Anatomy, and Hunters. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Alexander is co-founder of the Killroys, an organization that focuses on parity in American theater. more

DANCE FESTIVAL IS BACK: Choreographer Omari Wiles (center foreground) with Princeton University students in rehearsal for his new work to be featured in the 2021 Princeton Dance Festival. (Photo by Jonathan Sweeney)

The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance at Princeton University presents the 2021 Princeton Dance Festival November 19-21 at McCarter Theatre Center’s Berlind Theatre.

Princeton students in the program will perform new works by faculty members Tina Fehlandt, whose work is inspired by Mark Morris’ choreography on the 40th anniversary of the founding of his famed dance company, and Rebecca Lazier. Additionally, students will perform new works by guest choreographers Kyle Marshall, Larissa Velez-Jackson, and Omari Wiles. Repertory works in the festival will include Justin Peck’s Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes, staged by Michael Breeden; and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Germaine Acogny’s Woman’s Resistance, staged by Samantha Speis.  more

RAISE THE CURTAIN: Kitty Getlik, artistic director of Kelsey Theatre, shows off the new seating installed during the pandemic. Kelsey Theatre will kick off the 2021-2022 season with a live musical revue, “All Together Now – A Global Event,” on Friday, November 12. (Photo by Marcya Roberts)

With COVID-19 restrictions finally eased, the lights will be back up November 12 at Kelsey Theatre on the Mercer County Community College (MCCC) campus in West Windsor.

“It is our 49th season here at Kelsey, and I couldn’t be any happier right now,” said Kitty Getlik, artistic director. “The theater has been virtually dark since March 12, 2020 and I was only able to move a few special events indoors at the last minute this summer, but a full season of live indoor theater opens on November 12 and it can’t come fast enough.”

Upgrades during the time the theater was closed include new seats, new bathroom facilities, interior and exterior paint, new signage, and more. more

“THE WEIGHT OF ABSENCE”: Artsbridge’s Distinguished Artist Series event on November 18 at 7 p.m. at Prallsville Mills in Stockton will feature artist Jane Adriance discussing “Contract, Contradiction, and Clarity.”

At the age of 10, Jane Adriance dreamed of being an artist; more than eight decades later she continues to make that dream come true. She will present her work in watercolor, oils and mixed media as Artsbridge’s Distinguished Artist on Thursday, November 18, at 7 p.m. at Prallsville Mills, 33 Risler Street in Stockton. The presentation is entitled “Jane Adriance: Contrast, Contradiction, and Clarity.”

“The lens of my presentation will focus on dynamic compositions from different points of view,” said Adriance. “By painting contrasts, and sometimes contradictory expressions, my work becomes richer, deeper and clearer. Color is my language.”

Adriance received associate and bachelor’s degrees in fine and applied arts, but her education did not stop there. She studied art appreciation for four years at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pa., and traveled near and far to attend workshops. From Deer Isle in Maine to Paris, Morocco, and Turkey, Adriance traveled to different landscapes, and other cultures colored her artistic perception. She has exhibited widely in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York City, winning awards for her work. more

Zuzu Gallery at 23 Phillips Avenue in Lawrenceville will host a reception on Saturday, November 13 from noon to 4 p.m. to welcome five new artists: Jo-Ann Osnoe, Christine Seo (whose work is shown here), Mark Moscarello, Susan Hogan, and J. Marion Simmons. Artist Susan Rizzo opened the gallery in September with the mission of introducing a greater number of artists to the larger community by showcasing both established and emerging artists in a rotating schedule.

This painting by Janet Purcell is part of “Off the Beaten Path,” on view November 16 through February 27 in the gallery at Ficus Bon Vivant, 235 Nassau Street. The seasonal exhibition will also feature works by Joy Kreves and Lori Langsner. An opening reception with the artists will be held on Tuesday, November 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. RSVP to contact@ficusbv.com by November 14.

“ROUTE 1 ROCKLAND NIGHT”: This painting by Lois Dodd is featured in “Painting the Moon and Beyond: Lois Dodd and Friends Explore the Night Sky,” on view November 19 through April 29 at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion in Cadwalader Park.

The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion will present an exhibition focusing on a community of artists surrounding New Jersey native and revered American landscape painter Lois Dodd. “Painting the Moon and Beyond: Lois Dodd and Friends Explore the Night Sky,” opening Friday, November 19, and on view through April 29, 2022, will include 75 paintings by Dodd, Jeff Epstein, Dan Finaldi, and Elizabeth O’Reilly. This is the first time these paintings are being shown together.

Communities of artists have always been a part of Dodd’s life, from her early years at Cooper Union and Skowhegan, to the New York galleries where she exhibited with Alex Katz, Philip Pearlstein, Tom Wesselmann, Yvonne Jacquette, and others.

Communities of artists can be a space for nurturing and encouragement. “Had it not been for Lois, many of us wouldn’t be where they are today,” says Finaldi.

Dodd, 94, a founding member of the legendary artist-run Tanager Gallery, has, for more than 70 years, painted her surroundings — New York’s Lower East Side, rural Mid-Coast Maine, and the Delaware Water Gap. more

November 3, 2021

By Stuart Mitchner

I’m as much of a Jerseyman as you will find.

—Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

Here’s how Stephen Crane happens. One late October day in the 1980s you’re in the Quadrant, a secondhand bookstore in Easton, Pa. You take down a first edition of Wounds in the Rain: War Stories (Stokes 1900), said to be the last of Crane’s books published in his lifetime. Standing there, you glance at the first story, “The Price of the Harness.” On the second page, you find yourself drawn into a paragraph that begins “The day wore down to the Cuban dusk, in which the shadows are all grim and of ghostly shape,” and that ends “From somewhere in the world came a single rifle-shot.” You jump ahead a few pages to this sentence: “As the infantry moved along the road, some of the battery horses turned at the noise of the trampling feet and surveyed the men with eyes as deep as wells, serene, mournful, generous eyes, lit heart-breakingly with something that was akin to a philosophy, a religion of self-sacrifice — oh, gallant, gallant horses!”

The book is $39, too high, but never mind, you’re committed, you have to have it, you’re in a state of happy confusion, and it’s not the gallant horses, it’s the way Crane’s excitement in the writing and your excitement in reading fused in that moment. Before you can say a word about the price, the owner lowers it to $20. Just like that. Like a single rifle-shot somewhere in the world.

The owner tells you that Crane went to Lafayette College, right there in Easton. According to Paul Auster’s biography, Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane (Holt $35), Lafayette was “a madhouse of violent hazing rituals and masculine mayhem, with constant battles between the sophomore and freshman classes.” A classmate is quoted recalling how a bunch of raucous sophomore “gangsters” broke into Crane’s dorm room one night and were “persuaded to leave” only after he “pointed a loaded revolver at them.” more

By Nancy Plum

After eighteen months, students at Westminster Choir College of Rider University were able to perform choral music live this past weekend. In a short but certainly welcome concert at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton on Saturday afternoon, the 75-voice Westminster Symphonic Choir performed a single work well representing the profoundness and solemnity of the past year and a half. Although usually directed by James Jordan, the Symphonic Choir concert his past weekend was led by guest conductor James Bagwell and accompanied by the Westminster Festival Chamber Orchestra. 

Composers have been creating works from the Mass for the Dead “Requiem” text for centuries. Settings by such composers as Verdi and Berlioz were full of apocalyptic terror, but the 1947 Requiem for chorus, soloist, orchestra and organ by French composer Maurice Duruflé has served as a musical standard for the opposite — full of forgiveness and comfort. Through this piece, conductor Bagwell led the chorus and chamber-sized orchestra to convey the devastation of this past year and offer peace and resolution for the coming season. Princeton, Duruflé and Trinity Cathedral have come together once before, when in 1972, Duruflé helped prepare the Princeton High School chorus for a performance of his Requiem at the Cathedral, with his wife, Marie-Madeleine as organist. 

Conductor Bagwell began the nine-movement Requiem in a quick-moving tempo, with the Symphonic Choir women singing ethereally as if angels were leading the dead on their journey. Bagwell maintained good control over the cadences, leading the ensemble to the high point of the movement on the text “et lux perpetua luceat eis.” This movement flowed effortlessly into a second movement showing a solid sound from the alto section leading the melodic material. Duruflé based much of the music in this work on Gregorian chant, and organist Clara Gerdes brought out well the chant lines through the registration combinations on Trinity’s four-manual organ.  more

BACK AND IN PERSON: The Princeton Symphony Orchestra returns to Richardson Auditorium with an ambitious spring season of works by contemporary and classic composers. Among them are cellist Pablo Ferrández, familiar to PSO audiences for his recent performances with the orchestra.

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) has announced its 2022 spring subscription series of live, in-person performances at the orchestra’s home venue of Richardson Auditorium on the campus of Princeton University. The season includes works by contemporary composers James Lee III and Gabriela Lena Frank, plus symphonic works by Dvorák, Stravinsky, Brahms, and Mendelssohn. Concertos by Jean Sibelius, Antonín Dvorák, Alexander Scriabin, and Erich Korngold, with guest soloists, are also planned.

Guest artists Diana Adamyan, violin; Mackenzie Melemed, piano; and Stefan Jackiw, violin are appearing for the first time with the PSO, with Adamyan making her U.S. debut. Jackiw was originally scheduled to perform with the PSO in 2020, but the concert was canceled due to the pandemic. Cellist and fan favorite Pablo Ferrández returns to Princeton, having performed live with PSO in 2019 and again on the orchestra’s digital series in 2020.  more

TOGETHER AGAIN: The Trenton Children’s Chorus recently performed a benefit concert at Morven Museum & Garden. They were led by artistic director Brittany Slaymaker. (Photo by Sherry Rubel)

The Trenton Children’s Chorus performed together for the first time in 18 months on October 7, in a concert at Morven Museum & Garden. They were accompanied by the Princeton University Sinfonia. 

Tanice Fitzpatrick, TCC board member and longtime supporter, said, “I was impressed, enchanted, and inspired. A very impactful message for all of us right now. I still think about that night and how important it is to hold fast to your dreams.”

The centerpiece of the evening was the TCC Opportunity Fund — a development of the Support a Chorister campaign that aims to open doors for every TCC chorister in their academic, social, and musical lives. The benefit brought in over $125,000 in revenue for the organization. more

Lynne Toye

The New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund has hired a longtime nonprofit leader as its executive director.

Lynne Toye, of South Orange, will become the first leader of the fund that has awarded $3.9 million in grants to nonprofit arts, culture and history organizations that have suffered losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“We are thrilled to welcome Lynne as the inaugural executive director of the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund,” said Jeremy Grunin, co-chair, NJACRF, and the President of the Grunin Foundation. “With her dynamic and diverse experience, Lynne will provide strategic vision and lead NJACRF to its next phase of development. We look forward to continuing to help ensure the survival of the arts, cultural and historical sector in New Jersey with Lynne at the helm.”

The New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund (NJACRF) was created last year with an initial gift from the Grunin Foundation, based in Toms River. Donations from other foundations in New Jersey quickly followed for the fund, which is hosted by the Princeton Area Community Foundation. 

NJACRF was formed to help stem the losses the pandemic caused for the arts sector. In 2020, the state’s nonprofit arts industry reported losses of more than $100 million, and more than half of its workforce was furloughed or laid off. more

“BURST”:  Ceramic artist Kyle Johns will discuss his work in a virtual studio visit on December 3. It is one of five virtual visits by artists, beginning November 5, based on “Chroma Terra,” on view through December 11 at The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster.

The Center for Contemporary Art (The Center) in Bedminster has announced five virtual studio visits with artists from The Center’s fall exhibition, “Chroma Terra,” on view through December 11. 

This exhibition brings together the work of 10 contemporary ceramic artists from across the country: Chris Alveshere (Missoula, Mont.), Sloane Angell (Los Angeles, Calif.), Lauren Skelly Bailey (New York, N.Y.), Wes Brown (Bloomington, Ind.), Kyle Johns (Lincoln, Neb.), Lauren Mabry (Philadelphia, Pa.), John Oles (Jacksonville, Ala.), Peter Pincus (Rochester, N.Y.), Scott Ross (Union Lake, Mich.), and Rebecca Zweibel (St. Petersburg. Fla.).

The five virtual studio visits will be on Friday afternoons and moderated by curator John Reinking. The schedule is as follows: John Oles – November 5 from 1-2 p.m. ; Chris Alveshere –  November 12 from 1-2 p.m.; Lauren Skelly Bailey – November 19 from 2-3 p.m.; Kyle Johns – December 3 from 1-2 p.m.; and Wesley T. Brown – December 10 from 1-2 p.m. more

“THE DUALITY OF ANXIETY”: Glitch art by Phillip McConnell will be featured in “Analog Surrealism,” on view at JKC Gallery in Trenton November 8 through December 4. An opening reception and artist talk will be held on Monday, November 8 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The James Kearny Campus Gallery at Mercer County Community College, 137 North Broad Street in Trenton, has announced a solo exhibition featuring work by New Jersey based digital contemporary artist Phillip McConnell. “Analog Surrealism,” curated by Michael Chovan-Dalton, will be on view November 8 through December 4. 

“Analog Surrealism” features 16 new works by McConnell. These works will be the exploration of not only a new body of work, but a new style for him. This body of work juxtaposes two different mediums (photography and digital art) against each other to create something vibrant and fresh. This is a new take on the aesthetic medium of glitch art that McConnell is used to working in. more

“RED SKY AT NIGHT”: This painting by Robert Heyer is part of “Friends of Color,” featuring the work of 13 watercolor artists from Watercolorists Unlimited. The exhibit is on view at the Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury through the end of November.

During the month of November the Gourgaud Gallery, 23-A North Main Street in Cranbury will host an exhibit, “Friends of Color,” featuring the work of 13 watercolor artists from Watercolorists Unlimited.

Watercolorists Unlimited, a group of New Jersey artists who meet monthly to critique work together, has been meeting for more than 27 years. Each month the group chooses a new subject to paint, and they meet at the end of the month to have lunch and conduct a formal critique. There will be several paintings from each artist on exhibit, and most works will be for sale.

The show will be on view November 4 through November 29. Hours are Monday through Friday,  9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The gallery is closed on November 25 and 26.

The artwork is for sale with 20 percent of each sale going to support the Cranbury Arts Council and its programs. Cash or a check is accepted as payment. Visit cranburyartscouncil.org for more information.

“MOUNTAIN LAKES HOUSE AT SUNRISE”: This photo by Frank Sauer is featured in “Perspectives on Preservation: Capturing the Mountain Lakes Preserve from Up Close and On High.” Presented by Friends of Princeton Open Space, the exhibit is on view at Small World Coffee, 14 Witherspoon Street, through December 6. An opening reception is Friday, November 5 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS) is presenting a group show, hosted by Small World Coffee, of photographs taken at Princeton’s Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve in the winter of 2020. The works are on view at Small World’s location at 14 Witherspoon Street through December 6.

The show, “Perspectives on Preservation: Capturing the Mountain Lakes Preserve from Up Close and On High” includes photos selected from submissions made to the Friends of Princeton Open Space’s annual Give Thanks for Nature Photo Contest, as well as aerial photographs of the Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve taken by Princeton photographer Frank Sauer. All photos are offered for sale with a portion of the sales benefiting the Friends of Princeton Open Space.

An opening reception is Friday, November 5 from 5 to 7 p.m., featuring jazz guitar by Ilan Eisenzweig. more

October 27, 2021

By Stuart Mitchner

Feeling blue, in need of a lift, I drive downtown with Abbey Road on the stereo. I’m listening to “Here Comes the Sun,” the song hospitals played to celebrate survivors of the virus and the caregivers who saw them through. In just over three minutes, the Beatles have blitzed the blues. So have various Halloween yardscapes, the usual cobweb-curtained display of skeletons, tombstones, ghosts, witches and ravens, good dark fun, fear dressed up in jack ‘o lantern orange and gold for the kids and the big kids the adults are supposed to be “somewhere deep down inside.”

Halloween has the big kid inside me thinking outlandish thoughts, like a paranormal birthday party for the Born on October 27th Club, featuring a poetry slam with the ghosts of Dylan Thomas and Sylvia Plath; the ghost of Erasmus reading from In Praise of Folly; a lecture on etiquette by the ghost of Emily Post; and a musical remake of Psycho, with the Minister of Silly Walks John Cleese as Norman Bates and the ex-president’s ex Marla Maples as Marion Crane. The problem is the main event, the stabbing in the shower, which surely even Stephen Sondheim couldn’t set to music. There’s only one director who could pull that off, and you’d still have to rewrite the film, put the Slayer in the shower, make Norman a vampire, and have Joss Whedon writing the words and the music, the way he did for “Once More, with Feeling,” the all-singing seventh episode from the sixth season of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), which is on every list of the best episodes in television history. As far as that goes, Whedon’s Buffy routinely makes similar lists of the greatest television shows ever. more

By Nancy Plum

This season, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) has been putting its toes into the waters of live performance slowly, presenting concerts in select halls in the state while maintaining an online presence. The Orchestra will be returning live to Princeton after the first of the year, but area audiences were able to enjoy a high-quality digital performance by the Orchestra players last week. Led by Music Director Xian Zhang and joined by superstar violinist Joshua Bell and soprano Larisa Martínez, NJSO launched an online concert of three composer prodigies: Felix Mendelssohn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Henryk Wieniawski.

Violinist Bell was a prodigy himself, debuting with The Philadelphia Orchestra at age 14 and setting concert stages ablaze ever since with virtuosic technique and passionate musical expressionism. Bell and his wife, soprano Larisa Martínez, were a musical power couple during the last 18 months of the pandemic, exploring new arrangements of existing repertoire and creating imaginative digital content. In the NJSO concert, recorded at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in May 2021 and launched last Wednesday night, Bell and Martínez joined the Orchestra for two elegant concert arias by Mendelssohn and Mozart.

Mendelssohn’s concert aria “Ah, ritorna, età dell’oro,” was part of a commission of Mendelssohn from the Philharmonic Society of London and was published after the composer’s death. Composed in the “scena and aria” form popular at the time, Mendelssohn’s work features a soprano conveying the text with violin obbligato. Mendelssohn often composed two melodic paths in the same piece, bringing them together toward the end, and this work was no exception. Against a subtle orchestral accompaniment, Bell began the violin part with grace and sensitivity. Singing from memory, Martínez performed expressively in a clear soprano tone, with an especially light and translucent top register well matched by the violin. The text, beginning with “Return, golden age, to the abandoned earth,” certainly has a connection to these times, and Martínez well captured both the words and Mendelssohn’s refined classical roots.  more

WHAT WASHINGTON HEARD: The Practitioners of Musick will play music favored by George Washington in a virtual concert from Rockingham State Historic Site, his final wartime headquarters, on Saturday, November 20 at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, November 20 at 7 p.m., the Rockingham Association presents The Practitioners of Musick in a virtual program, “Nothing More Agreeable — Music in the Washington Family.”

In a document dated June 4, 1777, General George Washington wrote, “Nothing is more agreeable and ornamental than good music.” The Practitioners concert, with commentary, will explore the work of three select generations of the extended Washington family. more

Tickets are now on sale for the 22nd annual Rutgers Jewish Film Festival, which will be held November 7-21. All films will be available in the Virtual Cinema and five film screenings will be presented in person at Rutgers Cinema and the Princeton Garden Theatre.

The festival features award-winning international films from the United States, Israel, Germany, and Switzerland as well as online discussions with filmmakers, scholars, and special guests. Virtual film tickets are $11, and an all-access pass is available for $95.

Some films have a limited time frame for online viewing, and some are limited by geographic location. Tickets for in-person screenings must be ordered online through the theaters and will be available November 7. Campus screenings are free, but tickets must be reserved in advance. All guests must be fully vaccinated and wear masks in theaters. more

“EAR WIGGLER”: Conceptual artist Jesse Stecklow’s site-responsive works will be featured in “Components in the Air / Jesse Stecklow,” on view November 6 through January 2 at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art@Bainbridge gallery at 158 Nassau Street.

From air samplers that record the microclimate to scale replicas of the rooms at Bainbridge House that spin on the quarter hour, Jesse Stecklow’s work investigates the ways in which both atmospheric and built surroundings affect our perceptions.

In “Components in the Air / Jesse Stecklow,”  the Los Angeles-based artist explores the processes of perception and creativity through site-responsive installations at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art@Bainbridge gallery, located in a restored 18th-century home.

The exhibition, on view November 6 through January 2, brings together works from five of the artist’s series — some newly commissioned — that interweave imagery, motion, and sound to heighten visitors’ attention to the ways in which our personal associations, memories, and perspectives shape our experiences of space.

These installations engage both the macro and the particular, examining broad networks that govern environmental conditions, such as the American reliance on corn byproducts; systems of play, as in his series of anagrams; and a recollection of his grandfather’s ability to wiggle his ears.  more

“STILLNESS / MOTION”: “Lighthouse Keeper’s House” by Debbie Pisacreta, above, and “In Motion” by Jane Adriance, below, are featured in their dual art exhibition, on view November 4 through December 5 at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville.

Artists Jane Adriance and Debbie Pisacreta will exhibit paintings in an art exhibition entitled “Stillness / Motion,” running November 4 through December 5 at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville.  An opening reception will be held on Saturday, November 6 from 4 to 7 p.m.

“I find it thrilling to have this title for our exhibit,” said Adriance. “The contrast of stillness and motion seems to enhance and clarify each of our perspectives. The beauty of stillness in the paintings by Debbie, juxtaposed with my paintings of movement, captures and communicates our ability to look from many points of view. This contrast seems to make our perspectives richer, deeper, and clearer. Come dance or meditate or both.”  more

“BUST OF SHEILA JOHNSON BRUTSCH” Alec Miller’s  1937 limewood work of Robert Wood Johnson’s daughter is now on view at Morven Museum & Garden on Stockton Street.

Morven Museum & Garden was recently gifted a small bust of Sheila Johnson Brutsch (Robert Wood Johnson’s daughter) as a child. “Commissioned by Maggi and Robert Johnson in 1937, this portrait bust of their 3-year-old daughter gives a glimpse of what Sheila would have looked like during her childhood living at Morven,” said Elizabeth Allan, Morven’s curator and deputy director.

The bust is on a Johnson desk and reflects the sweet relationship between father and daughter. Through oral histories it is known that the two shared breakfast together nearly every day during their tenure at Morven.  more