March 6, 2024

By Nancy Plum

The annual Princeton University Orchestra Concerto Competition has always shown the depth of talent in the University student body. This year was no exception, with the Orchestra performing a showcase concert of the Competition winners this past weekend. Under the direction of PUO Conductor Michael Pratt, the Orchestra played three full and complex concerti featuring tuba, cello, and violin soloists. As a bonus, the ensemble presented a world premiere of a collaborative work with the University’s African Music Ensemble and the West African Dafra Kura Band.

The Concerto Competition winners were young this year, with three underclassmen displaying impressive technical dexterity in the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams, Robert Schumann, and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Sophomore Wesley Sanders and the University Orchestra opened Friday night’s performance in Richardson Auditorium (the concert was repeated Saturday night) with Vaughan Williams’ Concerto for Bass Tuba. The first major concerto ever written for tuba and orchestra, the 1954 concerto packed within its three movements virtuosic requirements well illustrating the full capabilities of the instrument. more

DON’T BE SHY: The Arts Council of Princeton’s monthly Story & Verse Open Mic invites emerging and established artists to take a turn in the spotlight starting March 21 with “Open Theme Night.” These events are free and open to all.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) will continue its monthly Story & Verse Open Mic every third Thursday at their Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, 102 Witherspoon Street. The first in the series is March 21, “Open Theme Night.” The free events start at 7 p.m.

Since 2020, Story & Verse has provided a warm and welcoming spotlight for both emerging and established artists in the ACP’s Solley Theater.

“Story & Verse has really blossomed over the past few months”, said organizer and ACP Program/Marketing Manager Melissa Kuscin. “It’s diverse in every way possible, showing off the talent of every age group, every level of experience. In fact, we’ve been getting more beginners than ever, and we’re honored to host a space that makes everyone feel like it’s for them.” more

MULTIPLE PIANOS AND MORE: The Kyiv Virtuosi Symphony Orchestra brings a varied program to State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick on March 17.

State Theatre New Jersey presents the Kyiv Virtuosi Symphony Orchestra led by Chief Conductor Dmitry Yablonsky on Sunday, March 17 at 3 p.m. The program includes Myroslav Skoryk’s Melody; Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor; Mendelsohn & Moscheles’ Fantasie Brilliante & Variations; Ignaz Moscheles’ Les Contrastes Grand Duo Op. 115; Berliner’s Jacob’s Dream Cello Concerto; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F Major.

Soloists in the program include pianist Alon Kariv, Dmitry Yablonsky on cello, and the MultiPiano Ensemble.

Years of friendship and collaboration between a group of talented Ukrainian musicians, laureates of international competitions, and  world-famous conductor and cellist Dmitry Yablonsky has grown into the creation of Kyiv Virtuosi Symphony Orchestra.

During the orchestra’s first season, the orchestra performed more than 120 concerts in Ukraine, Israel, Azerbaijan, Spain, Switzerland, and other countries.

Crystal Glenn

On Sunday, March 17 at 4 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium, Princeton Pro Musica (PPM) Chorus and Orchestra returns to Mozart’s Requiem, presented alongside a new companion work by Baltimore-based composer Jasmine Barnes, Portraits: Douglass & Tubman. This concert will also feature guest artists from the Glassbrook Vocal Ensemble, directed by Chaequan Anderson, performing a set of works by Vincente Lusitano, Margaret Bonds, and Nathaniel Dett, some of the most celebrated Black composers across the history of music.

It is well known that Mozart did not live to complete his Requiem. Though the version completed by Franz Süssmayer is more frequently performed, Princeton Pro Musica will present the edition by pianist and Mozart scholar Robert Levin. His alternate completion “observes the character, texture, voice leading, continuity, and structure of Mozart’s music. The traditional version has been retained insofar as it agrees with idiomatic Mozartean practice,” said PPM Artistic Director Ryan Brandau. more

MUSICAL MIX: Multi-faceted singer and guitarist Ruth Wyand is known for her guitar virtuosity, ranging from original songs to instrumental arrangements of Doc Watson, Jimi Hendrix, and many others.

The Princeton Folk Music Society presents singer and guitarist Ruth Wyand at Christ Congregation Church, 50 Walnut Lane, on Friday, March 15 at 8 p.m.

Being diversified is Wyand’s specialty. Demonstrating guitar virtuosity with powerful fingerpicking, bottleneck slide and a warm alto voice, she plays a mix of Americana, jazz, blues, folk, and country, with a portion of Piedmont picking and bluegrass clawhammer thrown in. Her songwriting is universal, using a melting pot of styles with lyrics that are sometimes witty, sometimes serious, but always human and genuine. Wyand presents a mix of originals as well as instrumental arrangements of classics ranging from Doc Watson, Etta Baker, Jimi Hendrix, and Leo Kottke to Thelonious Monk and Nina Simone.

Tickets are $10-$25 ($5 for children 11 and under). Visit

“AIR SPACE”: Watercolor paintings by Barbara Kaiser will be featured in “Shifting Perspectives,” her dual show with ceramicist Elisabeth Quatrano, on view March 16 through April 13 at the Arts Council of Princeton.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) will present “Shifting Perspectives: Capturing Moments in Ceramics and Watercolor,” a dual exhibition by Barbara Kaiser and Elisabeth Quatrano, in its Taplin Gallery March 16 through April 13. A free gallery opening will be held on Saturday, March 16 from 3 to 5 p.m.

This collection of Kaiser’s watercolor paintings — created during a time touched by tragedy, uncertainty, and fear — explores remembrance, resilience, and hope. Through depictions of motion and upward-looking compositions and sharing the common threads of blue sky and flight, the works represent a shift from melancholy to brightness, possibility, and joy. The artist employs her signature use of bold color, thoughtful composition, and varied watercolor techniques throughout. more

“WILDEST DREAM”: Princeton artist Trudy Borenstein-Sugiura recently received a 2024 Finalists Award from the Mid-Atlantic and New Jersey State Council for the Arts for her work.

Longtime Princeton resident Trudy Borenstein-Sugiura has been awarded a 2024 Finalists Award from the Mid-Atlantic and New Jersey State Council for the Arts.

Borenstein-Sugiura’s collages explore issues of memory, time, cultural identity, ecological, and ideological concerns and are made entirely out of cut paper relating to the topic. Personal documents, brochures, textbooks, magazines and family photos are all worked into an image of a person, or, often, a bird.  more

“ON SENTRY DUTY”: This quilt by Deb Brockway is part of “Nature Captured in Fabric,” her solo exhibit on view through April 30 at the Tulpehaking Nature Center in Hamilton.

The nonprofit Friends for the Abbott Marshlands (FFAM) is hosting a new art quilt exhibit, “Nature Captured in Fabric,” at the Tulpehaking Nature Center in Hamilton through April 30. The solo exhibit features works by Deb Brockway, a volunteer and executive board member of Friends for the Abbott Marshlands. As stewardship chair, she is well known for her trail building skills, while her professional background is in education research and STEM education. more

ART AT NIGHT: Works by ceramicist Zohar Lavi-Hasson will be among those featured at an art party on Saturday, March 9 from 6 to 11:30 p.m. at the Princeton Makes Artist Cooperative in the Princeton Shopping Center.

Princeton Makes, a Princeton-based artist cooperative, will host Art at Night, an evening art making party, on Saturday, March 9 from 6:30 to 11 p.m. at its artist studios and art market in the Princeton Shopping Center.

The art party will feature creative activities for children and adults, open drawings of live models (dressed till 10 p.m., nude after 10 p.m.), artists working in their studio, refreshments, live music by Dharmasoul, and a raffle for artwork from Princeton Makes artists.  more

Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) showcases the artistry of Anandi Ramanathan, a member of the local art scene, with this year’s graphic design look for its June 7-22 Princeton Festival. Ramanathan’s studio is at Princeton Makes, an artist cooperative at Princeton Shopping Center on North Harrison Street.

Tapping into her knowledge of flowers and talent for rendering them vibrantly in watercolor, the PSO is decoratively applying her florals to Princeton Festival posters, flyers, and other marketing materials through a collaborative design process. Ramanathan reviews each design application along the way to ensure her work and artistry remain intact.  more

ALL IN: Princeton University men’s basketball player Matt Allocco looks to pass the ball last Friday night against Columbia. Bouncing back from a knock that sidelined him in the second half of Princeton’s 84-70 win over the Lions, Allocco scored 19 points as the Tigers edged Cornell 79-77 a night later in Ivy League first-place showdown. Princeton, now 23-3 overall and 11-2 Ivy, plays at Penn on March 9 in its regular season finale. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University men’s basketball team hosted Columbia last Friday night, Matt Allocco got knocked out of the game late in the first half.

Princeton senior guard and co-captain Allocco crashed to the floor when taking a charge and didn’t return for the second half as he was treated by the program’s medical staff while the Tigers pulled away to an 84-70 win.

While Allocco’s status for Saturday’s regular season home finale and Ivy League first-place showdown against Cornell was unclear, he had no doubt that he would take the court for his Senior Night. more

LEAVING IT ON THE COURT: Princeton University women’s basketball player Ellie Mitchell hits the floor to get a loose ball last Friday against Harvard. Senior star forward Mitchell came up big last weekend for the Tigers, scoring six points with nine rebounds as Princeton defeated Harvard 60-49 on Friday and then had six points along with six rebounds, one assist, and two steals in a 68-42 win over Dartmouth a day later. The Tigers, now 22-4 overall and 12-1 Ivy League, host Penn on March 9 in their regular season finale. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University women’s basketball team coming off a tough 67-65 loss at Columbia to end February, Ellie Mitchell sense that the Tigers were primed to get back on the winning track as they hosted Harvard and Dartmouth last weekend to start March.

“We know there was a lot we could improve on, hopefully there is a lot left for us in March,” said Princeton senior forward Mitchell. “We were excited to get back on the court and try to make a statement game with Harvard and then Dartmouth, one at a time.” more

MAC ATTACK: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player McKenzie Blake unloads the ball in a 2022 game. Last Saturday, junior attacker Blake tallied three goals in a losing cause as Princeton fell 11-9 to Yale in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The No. 21 Tigers, now 2-2 overall and 1-1 Ivy, host Monmouth on March 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

McKenzie Blake and the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team will try to get back on track against Monmouth this Wednesday evening as they host the Hawks in non-conference play.

A dreary afternoon last Saturday with driving rain all game was made a little worse for the Tigers when they lost, 11-9, to Yale in their Ivy League opener. Princeton dropped to 2-2 overall as it heads into three straight non-conference games. more

ON THE STICK: Princeton University men’s hockey player David Jacobs sends the puck up the ice in a game last season. Last Friday, sophomore forward Jacobs tallied two goals and an assist as Princeton rallied to tie visiting St. Lawrence 4-4 through regulation and overtime and then came up short in a penalty shootout. The Tigers, who fell 6-2 to Clarkson on Saturday to move to 10-15-4 overall and 8-11-3 ECAC Hockey, are the ninth-seed in the upcoming ECACH playoffs and will play at eighth-seeded Harvard on Friday in a single-elimination opening round contest with the victor advancing to the best-of-three quarterfinal series from March 15-17.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Princeton University men’s hockey player David Jacobs, taking a nasty hit against Yale in late February that split his chin open and required 24 stitches hasn’t slowed him down.

“It is just in a tough spot,” said Princeton sophomore forward Jacobs. “We wear cages in this league, so it is not so big of a deal. It sucked that it happened. It is what it is — it’s hockey.” more

BLASE OF GLORY: Princeton High wrestler Blasé Mele, left, controls a foe in action this season. Last Saturday, junior Mele placed sixth at 138 pounds in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Boys Wrestling State Championships in Atlantic City.

By Justin Feil

Blasé Mele is hoping to continue his trend of improving his state finish each year.

The Princeton High junior placed sixth at 138 pounds in his third trip to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Boys Wrestling State Championships in Atlantic City on Saturday.

“It’s such a hard tournament,” said Mele. “I’ve been there twice. The environment is like no other. I’d like to say I’ve competed everywhere, and the environment is like no other. It’s starting to set in how it’s been pretty cool. I have one more year and I’m shooting for gold. I’m trying to get Princeton its first state title.” more

HEARTBREAKER: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Lily Ryan races up the ice in a game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, senior star Ryan tallied a goal and an assist as second-seeded PDS fell 4-3 to third-seeded Immaculate Heart Academy in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Girls’ Ice Hockey State Tournament semis at the Mennen Sports Arena. The Panthers, who led the Blue Eagles 3-1 in the third period, ended the winter with a 12-6 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It was round four this winter between the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team and Immaculate Heart Academy as the foes met in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Girls’ Ice Hockey State Tournament semis last Wednesday at the Mennen Sports Arena.

In the previous three meetings, the teams played tight, tense contests with PDS coming away with two wins, including a 4-3 victory over the Blue Eagles in the Librera Cup semifinals on February 7 in their last clash before the state tournament. more

February 28, 2024

Princeton High girls’ swimmer Kyleigh Tangen takes off to do the anchor leg in the 400-yard freestyle relay last Sunday as PHS battled Chatham in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group B state final at the Rutgers Aquatics Center. Tangen and the Tigers fell just short of a second straight statetitle as they lost 89-81 to the Cougars to end the winter at 14-1. For more details on the meet, see page 28. (Photo by Steven Wojtowicz)

By Anne Levin

At a meeting on Monday, February 26, Princeton Council held its annual discussion with Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber on the relationship and collaborations between the University and the municipality. The gathering allows members of the governing body to ask Eisgruber about specific areas of collaboration with the University, while giving him an opportunity to speak about the state of the University, its priorities, and higher education in general.

On January 30, the University announced its plan to contribute more than $50 million over five years to the municipality, community organizations, and lower- and middle-income residents to support mutual community interests including college access, sustainability, diversity and equality, mass transit, municipal infrastructure, safety, and emergency services. The plan provides for contributions of $39.5 million to the municipality. more

By Anne Levin

For retailers and restaurateurs, post-Valentine’s Day is a traditionally quiet time of year. What better time, the creators of Princeton Restaurant Week thought four years ago, to jump-start the local culinary scene with seven days of special menus and reduced prices?

The first Princeton Restaurant Week debuted in 2020 with a few participating eateries. Then the pandemic hit, putting the concept on a two-year hiatus. The event returned last year under the aegis of Experience Princeton, the nonprofit formed in 2022 as the Princeton Business Partnership, a Special Improvement District (SID) dedicated to promoting and marketing the town. Some 40 restaurants signed on. more

By Donald Gilpin

“Sustainability,” “resiliency,” “stormwater control,” and “flood mitigation” are words appearing with great frequency in current media and engineering studies, and a look at descriptions of infrastructure projects underway in Princeton reveals the predominance of these environmental concerns.

The February 26 Municipality of Princeton newsletter reports on plans to replace six old and out-of-date storm drains (culverts) in town. The project is in the early design stages and may take a year or two before it is completed.  more

“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”: Princeton High School (PHS) students are rehearsing for their upcoming musical production, running March 14 to 16 at the PHS Performing Arts Center. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Public Schools)

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton High School (PHS) and Princeton Middle School (PMS) are offering a rich assortment of performing arts and cultural enrichment in the coming weeks, starting next weekend with Mary Poppins JR. at PMS March 7 to 10, the 17th Annual Asian Festival at PHS on March 8, and Beauty and the Beast at PHS the following weekend, March 14 to 16.

The Asian Festival, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the PHS New Gym, is a collaboration of the Mandarin and Japanese language classes, the Asian American Club, Chinese Club, Korean Club, Japanese Club, Bollywood Dance Club, and Chai Club. more

By Donald Gilpin

This Friday, March 1, the Princeton Fire Department (PFD) will be adding a valuable piece of equipment to its toolkit of resources used in fighting fires. In a 10:30 a.m. presentation at the Princeton Firehouse on Witherspoon Street across from the Municipal Building, Polestar of Princeton, a Swedish electric vehicle manufacturer, will be donating an electric vehicle fire blanket to the PFD and demonstrating how to use it.

“This looks like an excellent tool to safely extinguish an EV vehicle fire,” said Princeton Department of Emergency and Safety Services Director Michael Yeh. “When an EV vehicle is on fire, firefighters would cover the vehicle with the blanket, effectively covering the vehicle and depriving it of air while smothering the fire.” more

By Anne Levin

A few weeks ago, Mimi Omiecinski was dropping off some posters for Pi Day Princeton at the front desk of Princeton Public Library when two teenaged boys who were walking by stopped to comment. “Oh, Pi Day,” one of them said to the other. “We have to do the Pie Eating Contest.”

Omiecinski, whose Princeton Tour Company started the annual Pi Day celebrations in 2009, was pleasantly surprised. “I said to them, ‘You know Pi Day?’ And they said, ‘Of course! We’ve done this since we were kids.’ It hit me then,” Omiecinski said. “This is a thing.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

And what curious flower or fruit
Will grow from that conspiring root?

—Elizabeth Bishop

Those lines are from the poet Elizabeth Bishop’s reimagining of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.” Bishop has admitted that she was hoping someone would compose tunes for her suite “Songs for a Colored Singer” (an acceptable title in the 1940s). “I think I had Billie Holiday in mind,” she said in a 1966 interview. “I put in a couple of words just because she sang big words so well — ‘conspiring root,’ for instance.”

The Bishop-Holiday connection was pointed out by Paul Alexander in Bitter Crop: The Heartache and Triumph of Billie Holiday’s Last Year, the subject of last week’s column. In fact, a misprint in that article (“Back” for “Black”) is the reason I’m  returning to Holiday and rereading Bishop with particular attention to “The Man-Moth,” a great New York poem inspired by a newspaper misprint for “mammoth.” more

By Nancy Plum

The fall performance of the Richardson Chamber Players, postponed from its original November date at Richardson Auditorium, took place last Thursday night at Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall on the University campus. The concert was devoted to the music of “Les Six,” a group of composers working in Paris during the early 20th century and credited with developing a purely French repertory of music. The nine musicians who performed Thursday night as the Chamber Players presented a program of works for a variety of instrumental and vocal combinations, allowing the audience to experience collective artistry close up.

Clarinetist Jo-Ann Sternberg, violinist Brennan Sweet, and pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti opened the concert with the 1936 Suite for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano of Darius Milhaud, immediately showing a bright ensemble sound. Sternberg’s clarinet lines richly resonated through the intimate space of Taplin Auditorium and Brennan’s lyrical violin passages brought out well Milhaud’s graceful melodies. The three players highlighted the saucy feel of the closing movement, bringing the work to a graceful close.  more