(RAHWAY, NJ) -- The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) will present A Concert For Peace on Saturday, February 26 at 7:00pm at the Union County Performing Arts Center located at 1601 Irving Street in Rahway. Featuring Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 ‘Jeremiah’ for Orchestra and Mezzo-Soprano and the East Coast premiere of Marvin Hamlisch’s Anatomy of Peace, A Symphonic Suite in One Movement, the Garden State’s award-winning youth orchestra program invites audiences to enter a new year full of hope, celebrating peace and the joy of music together.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. Use promo code FAMILY PACK for 5 tickets for $50. Tickets are available at NJYS.org.
A Lindermann Young Artist at the MET, Mezzo-Soprano Cierra Byrd opens the concert as the featured soloist in Leonard Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony, one of the earliest large-scale works of the American conductor, composer, pianist, music educator, author, and humanitarian. Drawing from the book of Lamentations, Bernstein’s programmatic work following the Biblical story of the prophet Jeremiah explores a loss and recovery of faith in humankind.
Under the baton of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Helen H. Cha-Pyo, the concert concludes with the NJYS Youth Symphony’s performance of the one-movement symphonic suite by Marvin Hamlisch, Anatomy of Peace. Premiered by the Dallas Symphony on November 19, 1991 and based on a book by Emery Reves embracing the central theme of reconciliation and world peace, Anatomy of Peace reveals Hamlisch’s serious love for popular music in a well-crafted and complex yet easily appreciated classical art form. The recipient of Oscar, Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, Hamlisch is credited with bringing sophisticated mainstream hits to concert halls around the world. The New Jersey Youth Chorus joins the NJYS Youth Symphony in what is sure to be a moving concert tribute to the ideals of peace and how we can transform our world into one that is more equal, more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and harmonious.
Said Cha-Pyo, “I was absolutely blown away when I first encountered Anatomy of Peace by Marvin Hamlisch two years ago. As I studied and dug deeper into this powerful work, I got a glimpse of Marvin’s humanity at the core. Reves’ central message of peace is exquisitely translated in the language of the music with rich harmonies, thrilling rhythmic patterns, and the haunting melody that weaves its way through the entire work, symbolizing ‘One Law’ that brings us all together. I feel deeply honored to learn, teach, and perform Anatomy of Peace with our talented NJYS Youth Symphony musicians. Pairing Bernstein’s ‘Jeremiah Symphony’ with Hamlisch's Anatomy of Peace feels synergistic, with both works yearning for peace and harmony in humanity and the universe.”
“I am so proud that Maestra Helen Cha-Pyo and the New Jersey Youth Symphony have chosen to perform Marvin Hamlisch’s ‘Anatomy of Peace.’ It is a powerful classical composition that Marvin was proud of and it could not be more relevant in today’s world at this time,” said Terre Blair-Hamlisch, Marvin Hamlisch’s widow. “The message that humanity can come together as one, in a melodic theme through our differences and dissonance, resonates profoundly today.”
"We are delighted that Marvin Hamlisch's The Anatomy of Peace will be shared in this concert," said Cece Smith, Chair of the Dallas Symphony Association Board of Governors. "The work was commissioned to celebrate the naming of a key element of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center's outdoor structure, The Emery Reves Arch of Peace. The DSO is proud to call this building our home, and we're thankful that the work to commemorate it continues to have life and be heard by many more audiences."
“Two celebrated American master composers are featured in what is to be an amazing and very special concert,” said Peter H. Gistelinck, Executive Director at the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. “We all know music is truly an international language and therefore an ideal vehicle to communicate the message of peace on a global scale.”
The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS), founded in 1979, is a tiered orchestral program 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 NJYS 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.
Now in its 43rd season, NJYS continues to achieve musical excellence through intensive instruction and high-level performance. Under the guidance of a talented team of conductors, coaches, and teaching artists, students are immersed in challenging repertoire, learning the art of ensemble playing, and exploring their potential in a supportive and inclusive environment. NJYS remains committed to programming works by diverse composers and regularly features 20th century African American and women composers such as Duke Ellington, George Walker, Yvonne Desportes, Emma Lou Diemer, Julia Perry, and Florence Price.
The New Jersey Youth Symphony is a program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. Wharton is New Jersey’s largest non-profit performing arts education organization serving over 1,500 students of all ages and abilities through a range of classes and ensembles. In addition to the New Jersey Youth Symphony, programs include the Paterson Music Project and Performing Arts School.