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NJYS Youth Symphony, CL4tet & Montclair State University Symphony Orchestra To Perform October 26

originally published: 10/15/2019

NJYS Youth Symphony, CL4tet & Montclair State University Symphony Orchestra To Perform October 26

(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) kicks off the 2019-20 concert season with a joint performance with the Montclair State University (MSU) Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, October 26 at 8:00pm at the Alexander Kasser Theater located at 1 Normal Avenue in Montclair. 

The concert opens with NJYS’ newly minted clarinet quartet CL4tet, featuring Alex Cha,  Jonathan Yu, Benjamin Swinchoski, and Jennifer Weiss. Coached by Bryan Rudderow, the ensemble will perform works by Osborne and Templeton. Following the clarinet quartet, the NJYS Youth Symphony under the baton of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Helen H. Cha-Pyo will take the stage for awe-inspiring performances of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino Overture and Liszt’s Les Préludes. The MSU Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Nicholas DeMaison will perform Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in B Minor and Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration, and the concert will conclude with Wagner’s famed Ride of the Valkyries in a spectacular combination of the two orchestras.

“As NJYS continues to inspire our students to strive for personal excellence through orchestral training, we strive to give our students opportunities to have exceptional experiences on and off the stage,” says Cha-Pyo. “To this end, our joint concert with the MSU Symphony Orchestra allows our young musicians to be on the campus of one of the best music schools in the state of New Jersey and perform side-by-side with John J. Cali School of Music musicians in the beautiful Kasser Theater.”

“As incoming Executive Director, I am pleased and honored to experience NJYS’ exciting concert season and share with Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Helen H. Cha-Pyo our continued commitment to transform communities through music education,” says Executive Director Peter H. Gistelinck.

Tickets are $15 available online at www.peakperfs.org/box-office.



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With 112 of the highest level musicians from 40 different high schools in New Jersey, the NJYS Youth Symphony has appeared at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. This season culminates with the NJYS American Celebration of Music Concert Series in Italy, June 27-July 6. The tour, including four orchestral concerts and one chamber concert, will present some of NJYS’ and the Garden State’s most talented young musicians at Milan’s Teatro dal Verme, Florence’s Teatro Verdi, Rome’s St. Andrea della Valle and St. Eustachio, and Albano’s Festival Liszt Albano at Castel Gandolfo. NJYS will participate in a festival exchange with the Florence Conservatory of Music (Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini) in an exclusive concert series through Music Celebrations International.

Says Cha-Pyo, “Looking ahead to Italy in the summer of 2020, Youth Symphony will explore music written by composers with connections to Italy, including Verdi, Liszt, Menotti, and Barber. Additionally, we will give four performances of a newly commissioned work by Aferdian Stephens, a John J. Cali School of Music alumni and a winner of the 2018 ASCAP Young Composer Award. For our classical music lovers, NJYS ensembles will perform over 10 works by Beethoven throughout the season to celebrate the 250th anniversary of his birth.”

Helen H. Cha-Pyo is in her second season as the Artistic Director of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts and Principal Conductor of the New Jersey Youth Symphony. She has also served as the Visiting Associate Professor of Orchestral Studies and Conductor of Montclair State University Symphony Orchestra at John J. Cali School of Music (2018-19).

For sixteen years as Music Director and Conductor of the Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO), Cha-Pyo inspired hundreds of young musicians to perform at the highest level, resulting in ESYO being recognized as one of the nation’s premier music organizations for youth. Cha-Pyo’s creative programming has resulted in three prestigious ASCAP awards and a $100,000 grant to partially fund a music festival that commissioned nine works, one for each ESYO ensemble. She has conducted in outstanding concert halls including Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Zankel Hall, EMPAC, Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall, and Carnegie Hall. She led ESYO on three international tours: to Europe in 2008, China and South Korea in 2012, and Portugal in 2016.  Cha-Pyo’s vision was instrumental in the founding of ESYO CHIME in 2015, a music education program dedicated to serving underprivileged youth in Schenectady and Troy (NY). ESYO has established the Helen Cha-Pyo Golden Baton Award and Scholarship for students who embody her passionate commitment to music as a means to uplift and enrich the community.

From 1996 to 2002, Cha-Pyo served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Riverside Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir and Associate Director of Music at The Riverside Church in New York City. She has released three recordings with the Riverside Choir (JAV Recordings). A committed music educator, she pioneered the Riverside Music Educational Program which served thousands of New York City public school children in Districts 4, 5, and 6.

Born in Seoul, Cha-Pyo immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 12. She studied piano and organ in the pre-college program at The Juilliard School. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music degree in conducting and organ performance from the Eastman School of Music. She served as assistant conductor to Eastman Philharmonia and the Britt Festival Orchestra (OR). She won conducting fellowships at Aspen Festival and Yale School of Music. Her conducting mentors include David Effron, Peter Bay, Murry Sidlin, Lawrence Leighton Smith, Benjamin Zander, and Kurt Masur. She is a frequent guest conductor and clinician for All-State and Regional Festival Orchestras throughout the country and is a conductor at the Kinhaven School (VT) in the summer.

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.

Wharton Arts is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,500 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve 500 students in grades 3 – 12 by audition. Beginning with Out of the Box Music and Pathways classes for young children, Wharton Arts offers private lessons, group classes, and ensembles for all ages and all abilities at the Performing Arts School. With the belief in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay, Wharton teaches all instruments and voice and has a robust musical theater program. Based in Paterson, New Jersey, the Paterson Music Project is an El Sistema-inspired program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts that uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing.

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 10 counties. All of Wharton’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.


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