Opening Night, logo. (Credit : Courtesy njsymphony.org)
  • By Mabel Pais

“What the New Jersey Symphony has established, bringing music to the Garden State in schools and in six different cities, is a sincere accomplishment. And it’s never been better.” – nj.com

The New Jersey Symphony (NJS) presents ten concerts in five venues throughout New Jersey this October. The 2023–24 season opens on October 14 in Newark and October 15 in New Brunswick with concerts titled ‘Ellington & Dvořák: New Worlds,’ which explore the music of Black composers such as Duke Ellington and William Grant Still. The concerts open with a work by living composer Valerie Coleman, which starts with a whisper and gradually builds to a melody, evoking the power and sweetness of ‘Umoja,’ the Swahili word for unity (also the title of the piece).

Pianist Aaron Diehl will perform William Grant Still’s ‘Out of the Silence, which is a gentle and ethereal hymn written in the depths of the Great Depression. The Aaron Diehl Trio performs Duke Ellington’s ‘New World A-Comin’,’ which is a lush musical portrait of, in the words of Ellington himself, a “new world where there would be no war, no greed—where love was unconditional.” The trio members are Aaron Diehl on piano, Aaron Kimmel on percussion and Ben Wolfe on double bass.

The finale of the opening weekend program is Dvořák Symphony No. 9, ‘From the New World.’ Robert Spano, music director laureate of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and current music director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will conduct. Season-opening performances in New Jersey Symphony’s Princeton and Red Bank venues will continue on October 20 and 21, along with additional concerts in Newark on October 19 and 22. Schumann’s Cello Concerto, performed by Sterling Elliott — winner of the Senior Division of the 2019 National Sphinx Competition — will be performed alongside Elgar’s Enigma Variations and the East Coast premiere of a New Jersey Symphony co-commissioned work by composer Jessie Montgomery, titled Snapshots. Joseph Young, music director of the Berkeley Symphony, will conduct.

On October 25–29, the unforgettable main theme to Jurassic Park will be heard at four venues throughout the state, in Morristown, Red Bank, Newark and New Brunswick. Audiences can experience Jurassic Park in a unique way: projected in HD on a large screen with a full symphony orchestra performing John Williams’ iconic score live to the complete film. Constantine Kitsopoulos, a frequent New Jersey Symphony guest conductor, will conduct. The Symphony invites all fans to attend in their favorite dinosaur or Halloween costume.


October 14 & 15: Ellington & Dvořák: New Worlds

Featuring Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World” conducted by Robert Spano

October 19–22: Schumann’s Cello Concerto

Also including works by Jessie Montgomery and Edward Elgar

Jurassic Park in Concert. (Credit : Courtesy njsymphony.org)

October 25–29: Jurassic Park in Concert

The complete film projected live as John Williams’ iconic score is performed by the New Jersey Symphony

Ellington & Dvořák: New Worlds

New Jersey Symphony Classical

Robert Spano conductor

Aaron Diehl piano

Aaron Diehl Trio

New Jersey Symphony

Newark → Saturday, October 14, 8 pm, New Jersey Performing Arts Center

New Brunswick → Sunday, October 15, 3 pm, State Theatre New Jersey

Valerie Coleman Umoja

Still Out of the Silence

Ellington New World A-Comin’

Dvořák Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”

Schumann’s Cello Concerto

New Jersey Symphony Classical

Joseph Young conductor

Sterling Elliott cello

New Jersey Symphony

Newark → Thursday, October 19, 1:30 pm, New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Princeton → Friday, October 20, 8 pm, Richardson Auditorium

Red Bank → Saturday, October 21, 8 pm, Count Basie Center for the Arts

Newark → Sunday, October 22, 3 pm, New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Jessie Montgomery Snapshots (New Jersey Symphony Co-Commission)

Schumann Cello Concerto

Elgar Enigma Variations

Jurassic Park in Concert

New Jersey Symphony at the Movies

Constantine Kitsopoulos conductor

New Jersey Symphony

Morristown → Wednesday, October 25, 7:30 pm, Mayo Performing Arts Center

Red Bank → Friday, October 27, 8 pm, Count Basie Center for the Arts

Newark → Saturday, October 28, 8 pm, New Jersey Performing Arts Center

New Brunswick → Sunday, October 29, 3 pm, State Theatre New Jersey

 For more information on concerts and tickets, visit njsymphony.org/events


For Concert tickets, visit njsymphony.org.

Patrons can also attend an Opening Night Celebration event on Saturday October 14, which includes a dinner prelude, the concert and a fun after-party. Details at njsymphony.org/gala.

Tickets for all other programs are available by phone 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or on the Orchestra’s website.

New Jersey Symphony

The Emmy and Grammy Award-winning New Jersey Symphony is redefining what it means to be a nationally leading, relevant orchestra in the 21st century. The Symphony is renewing its deeply rooted commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by championing new, and often local, artists; engaging audiences for whom the inspiring depth and breadth of classical music will be a new experience; and incorporating the broadest possible representation in all aspects of its organization-all to better reflect and serve our vibrant communities.

Since 2021, Music Director Xian Zhang has worked together with composer, violinist, educator and social-justice advocate Daniel Bernard Roumain, the orchestra’s Resident Artistic Catalyst, to offer programming that connects with diverse communities in Newark and throughout New Jersey. Internationally renowned Chinese American conductor Xian Zhang began her tenure as the New Jersey Symphony’s current Music Director in 2016. Since her arrival at the New Jersey Symphony, Zhang has revitalized programming with an industry­ leading commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in mainstage concerts.

For more information about the New Jersey Symphony, visit www.njsymphony.org or email information@njsymphony.org.

Connect with NJS:


@NJSymphony on Facebook, lnstagram, TikTok and X, formerly known as Twitter

@NewJerseySymphony on YouTube

Email: information@njsymphony.org

(Mabel Pais writes on The Arts and Entertainment, Social Issues, Spirituality, Education, Cuisine, Health & Wellness, and Business)

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