(NEWARK, NJ) -- NJ PBS airs TRANSCEND: An NJSO Concert Film—presented by The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and DreamPlay Films—on Wednesday, July 21 at 8:00pm. A two-part film born of the challenges of the pandemic and inspired by the people braving it, TRANSCEND marries NJSO concerts conducted by Music Director Xian Zhang with footage captured in the Newark/New York City metro area during the winter months of 2020 and 2021. The film is directed by award-winning, Newark-raised filmmaker Yuri Alves and produced by DreamPlay Films, part of Newark-based DreamPlay Media.
Director Yuri Alves says: “I hope this marriage of music and film empowers us to hear, see and feel beauty beyond the shared pain of the pandemic. It is a call for reflection and for appreciation of what we value most. TRANSCEND aims to honor the music, the musicians and the people of New Jersey, while stirring the collective soul in the audience.”
The film features Zhang and the NJSO performing works by Daniel Bernard Roumain, Mahler, Mozart, Michael Abels, Still, Puccini, Coleridge-Taylor and Dvořák, recorded on stage at NJPAC in Newark in October 2020.
Alves and the DreamPlay Films team captured the performances live with a highly immersive and uniquely intimate camera approach, while filming on ultra-high-definition RED cinema cameras. Longtime NJSO audio engineer and multiple Grammy Award winner Tim Martyn recorded and mixed the concert audio.
The additional footage for TRANSCEND features images reflecting a world reeling from disruption while bearing witness to the everyday cycles and momentum in nature and urban society.
TRANSCEND: An NJSO Concert Film
Wed, July 21 at 8:00 pm
Runtime: 89 minutes
Arising from a pandemic shutdown, world-renowned conductor and star music director Xian Zhang leads the illustrious New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in a concert film directed by award-winning filmmaker Yuri Alves, who expands the magnetic soundscape with evocative visual meditations on a world in turmoil.
DANIEL BERNARD ROUMAIN i am a white person who _____ Black people (World Premiere, NJSO Commission)
MAHLER Adagietto from Symphony No. 5
MOZART Divertimento in D Major K. 136
MICHAEL ABELS Delights & Dances
STILL Mother and Child
PUCCINI I Crisantemi
COLERIDGE-TAYLOR Deep River
DVOŘÁK Serenade for Strings
XIAN ZHANG conductor & piano
ERIC WYRICK violin
RUBÉN RENGEL violin
JANNINA NORPOTH violin
DANA KELLEY viola
THOMAS MESA cello
NEW JERSEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
YURI ALVES director
IGOR ALVES, YURI ALVES producer
IGOR ALVES executive producer
TIM MARTYN audio producer
Part I sponsored by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.
The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra connects with the people and diverse communities of New Jersey through the power of live symphonic music to inspire, entertain and educate. Internationally renowned Music Director Xian Zhang has garnered critical acclaim on the podium and has deepened the NJSO’s commitment to presenting diverse voices that reflect the communities the Orchestra serves.
The NJSO embraces its legacy as a statewide orchestra through mainstage and chamber performances at venues across New Jersey, as well as partnerships with fellow Garden State arts organizations, universities and civic organizations. The Orchestra’s education and community engagement programs promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NJSO has made virtual performances and educational online programs available for free, reaching more than 10 million people across the Orchestra’s digital channels. NJSO Concert Films pair world-class NJSO performances with stunning imagery of the people and cityscapes of New Jersey. The NJSO has presented innovative programs with fellow arts organizations, community ensembles and statewide partners. Musicians perform solo and chamber works from iconic New Jersey locations in NJSO Everywhere. NJSO at Home spotlights intimate at-home performances, instrument demonstrations, educational videos and hours of concert recordings.
The NJSO Youth Orchestras have not only continued virtual instruction but have introduced an entirely new dimension to the program. Students are working together on a yearlong creative composition project—a uniquely engaging opportunity for students to explore their own musical voices and shape new works that draw from all the genres that inspire them.
The Orchestra’s online hub for free musical content is njsymphony.org/virtual.
PHOTO BY FRED STUCKER