Music Director Jacques Lacombe and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) welcome pianist André Watts back to the NJSO stage for performances of Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 through March 25. The program, "Watts Plays Brahms," also features Schumann's Symphony No. 3.
Of Watts, The Guardian has written, "You could hear notes you had never heard before, and the effect could be dazzling."
"I've worked with André Watts before, and we had a really great connection," Lacombe says. "From day one, it felt like working with a friend. I've always thought that he is a really fine musician-he has his own sound, his own approach to phrasing. This Brahms concerto is a key piece for him, and it will be wonderful to share the stage with him again. I am delighted to welcome him back to New Jersey."
The program opens with Edward T. Cone's Music for Strings, which the Orchestra presents as part of its New Jersey Roots Project.
"New Jersey has such a rich musical landscape, and what we're trying to do with the New Jersey Roots Project is present different aesthetics that were born in our state," the music director says. "When I started the project, I thought it would be interesting to present a musical portrait of one personality who played a significant role here in New Jersey but whose music we don't really know and who hasn't been performed a lot. [Cone is not very well known], partly because he wasn't really interested in promoting his own compositions. When I looked at his music, I saw in it the work of a very serious composer who was also a very important teacher [at Princeton University]. He was very influenced by certain German traditions, so I think it fits well on this program with Schumann and Brahms."
The final performance takes place on Sunday, March 25, (3 p.m.) at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. Classical Conversations begin at 7 p.m. on March 23 and 24 and are free to ticketholders.
Tickets range in price from $20 to $85 and are available for purchase online at www.njsymphony.org or by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476).