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New Jersey Youth Symphony Presents
Two Nutcrackers

originally published: 12/04/2019

New Jersey Youth Symphony Presents Two Nutcrackers

(RAHWAY, NJ) -- The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) presents a rare side-by-side concert of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite performed by the NJYS Youth Symphony alongside Duke Ellington’s jazz rendition performed by the NJYS Jazz Orchestra on Sunday, December 8 at 3:00pm at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway. 

After opening with Leroy Anderson’s classic Sleigh Ride, the 80-minute holiday spectacular of Two Nutcrackers will feature each of the eight movements of the beloved holiday tale alternating between the symphony and jazz orchestras onstage together.

“More than just a fun concert, the Two Nutcrackers is an exciting educational project for our young musicians on how creativity at its highest form can bring together two completely different worlds: the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky, a 19th century Romantic composer juxtaposed with the genius of Duke Ellington, one of the creators of the American big band sound of the 20th century,” says Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Helen H. Cha-Pyo. “It’s rare for a youth symphony to be able to program such a concert, mainly because not many youth organizations have a Jazz program capable of executing this repertoire. Both versions of The Nutcracker are extremely challenging technically and stylistically. It has been my personal dream to present such a concert for a long time, and I am thrilled that we are able to share this side-by-side performance this season.”

New Jersey Youth Symphony Presents Two Nutcrackers

Says Julius Tolentino, Director of NJYS Jazz, “The challenge for the NJYS Jazz Orchestra, now in its second year, is that Ellington's Nutcracker is a very long work. We typically perform 10-12 pieces during a season, and this year we are playing 8 movements and 3 other challenging pieces in less than half that time. It is an ambitious undertaking, but the students have proven they are up for the challenge.”

“It is extremely important and part of the mission and vision of the New Jersey Youth Symphony to continue to present diverse, equitable and inclusive concert programs,” says Peter H. Gistelinck, Executive Director of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. “This holiday concert is just one example of how we can bring communities together through innovative programming.”



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Union County Performing Arts Center  is located at 1601 Irving Street in Rahway, New Jersey. Tickets are $20/Adults, $15/Seniors and Students or 5 tickets for $50. Use code FAMILYPACK at www.ucpac.org.

The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS), founded in 1979, is a tiered orchestral program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts offering ensemble education for students in grades 3–12 across New Jersey. NJYS has grown from one orchestra of 65 students to over 500 students in 15 different orchestras and ensembles, including the internationally recognized Youth Symphony. NJYS ensembles have performed in venues including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Carnegie Hall, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. NJYS has received numerous prestigious awards for its adventurous programming from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and has had six European tours, including participation in the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Festival and Competition (Vienna), winning First Prizes in July 2014 and 2017.

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. 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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