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NJSO and DreamPlay Films present Still & Dvorak: An NJSO Concert Film On Jan 14

NJSO and DreamPlay Films present Still & Dvorak: An NJSO Concert Film On Jan 14

(NEWARK, NJ) -- The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and DreamPlay Films present Still & Dvořák: An NJSO Concert Film, premiering January 14. Music Director Xian Zhang conducts. The film is directed by award-winning, Newark-raised filmmaker Yuri Alves and produced by DreamPlay Films, part of Newark-based DreamPlay Media.

The film premieres on January 14 at 7:30pm at njsymphony.org/dvorak and on the NJSO’s YouTube and Facebook channels.

The program pairs Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings with Still’s Mother and Child and Puccini’s I Crisantemi. In an NJSO concert first, Zhang will take to the piano for an intimate performance of Coleridge-Taylor’s arrangement of the spiritual Deep River with Concertmaster Eric Wyrick on violin.

Zhang says: “William Grant Still was an American trailblazer, and I loved sharing his beautiful and poignant work Mother and Child with the NJSO. Its songful sense of nostalgia and tenderness pairs perfectly with works of Puccini and Dvořák. And it’s a special treat to make my NJSO debut as a pianist alongside Concertmaster Eric Wyrick for Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s magnificent arrangement of the spiritual Deep River.”

To provide a high-quality video and audio experience on audiences’ televisions and speakers, DreamPlay Films filmed the performance with cinema cameras. Longtime NJSO audio engineer and multiple Grammy Award winner Tim Martyn recorded and mixed the audio for the concert, recorded on stage at NJPAC in Newark in October.

Director Yuri Alves says: “It was an honor to direct this project, which features a superior NJSO performance of some of the most beautiful music ever. My aim was to match the visual quality to that of the splendid music, which meant reimagining both the presentation of the stage performance and fusing it with the lived experience of local residents, who are living through an exceptionally challenging time.”


Producer Igor Alves says: “I think this work is a revelation, both in concept and in process, as it shows the fruitful potential of uniting talented artists from different disciplines to create special work together. I’m grateful for NJSO’s trust and leadership, as it expands beyond the expectations of what a classical orchestra is and what it can do.”

NJSO President & CEO Gabriel van Aalst says: “Yuri Alves and DreamPlay Films continue to powerfully capture the NJSO concert experience with our fabulous musicians and Xian Zhang’s dynamic conducting. Audiences will love being immersed in this great orchestral music with cinematic visuals from the NJPAC stage and beyond.”

This film, which will be available on demand after the premiere, is part of NJSO Virtual 20–21, the Orchestra’s digital season. For more information, visit njsymphony.org/virtual.


Thu, Jan 14, at 7:30pm

Xian Zhang, conductor & piano

Eric Wyrick, violin

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra



Yuri Alves, director

Igor Alves, producer

DreamPlay Films

Tim Martyn, audio producer


STILL Mother and Child


PUCCINI I Crisantemi


DVOŘÁK Serenade for Strings


Filmmaker Yuri Alves has written and directed films, primetime television programs and commercial projects in the US and Europe. Alves’ films have screened at over 100 film festivals worldwide, earning 20 awards. Alves’ projects include GrindOn the Cusp and Exit Road and the European primetime television series “Tempo Final” and “Filha da Lei.” Alves is the co-founder and creative director of DreamPlay Media and served as head of production at Fox Digital Studios. Alves is represented by the agency Brawler Los Angeles. Alves was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Portuguese parents, and raised in Newark, New Jersey.  

DreamPlay Films develops and produces narrative and documentary films, television programming and more. DreamPlay Films is a division of DreamPlay Media, an original and creative media company, based in Newark, NJ.  

Named “a vital, artistically significant musical organization” by The Wall Street Journal, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra embodies that vitality through its statewide presence and critically acclaimed performances, education partnerships and unparalleled access to music and the Orchestra’s superb musicians.


Music Director Xian Zhang—a “dynamic podium presence” The New York Times has praised for her “technical abilities, musicianship and maturity”—continues her acclaimed leadership of the NJSO. The Orchestra presents classical, pops and family programs, as well as outdoor summer concerts and special events. Embracing its legacy as a statewide orchestra, the NJSO is the resident orchestra of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and regularly performs at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick, Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Richardson Auditorium in Princeton, Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and bergenPAC in Englewood. Partnerships with New Jersey arts organizations, universities and civic organizations remain a key element of the Orchestra’s statewide identity.

In addition to its lauded artistic programming, the NJSO presents a suite of education and community engagement programs that promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music. Programs include school-time Concerts for Young People and the NJSO Youth Orchestras family of student ensembles, led by José Luis Domínguez. NJSO musicians annually perform original chamber music programs at community events in a variety of settings statewide through the NJSO Community Partners program.

The Orchestra’s online hub for free NJSO Virtual 20–21 content is njsymphony.org/virtual.

originally published: 01/13/2021

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