Celebrating its 47th year, the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra tackles traditional baroque and romantic masters as well as contemporary songsters throughout its 2011–2012 season.
An accomplished conductor of opera, Broadway, pops, and classical music, music director Gerald Steichen massages mellifluent tones out of Ridgefield's vibrant violins and boisterous brass. RSO highlights name-brand classical masters with its Beauty of Beethoven and Brahms Fulfilled shows. Young and aspiring musicians congregate at the Young Impressions concert, featuring 16-year old soloist Madeleine Bouissou. Celebrate the time signatures of foreign composers with A Trip to the British Isles, or sit back as visiting Broadway performers Nat Chandler and Teri Hansen belt homegrown classics during February 4th's Rodgers and Hammerstein Celebration, attended by Oscar Hammerstein's grandson Andy Hammerstein.
In 2004?on a mission to bolster its community?s wellspring of creativity and education?the nonprofit Bergen Performing Arts Center took over the former John Harms Center, an art-deco-style movie and vaudeville palace built in 1922. Today, in the same antique theater where Frank Capra screened his first car chase, the venue hosts 150 yearly events that bring dance, music, and theatrical productions to an estimated 250,000 annual audience members. Networks such as HBO, PBS, and MTV all have filmed international broadcasts on the stage, which has seen the likes of Diana Krall, Heart, and ZZ Top.
For more than half a century the American Symphony Orchestra has hewn to founder Leopold Stokowski's original vision: "to offer concerts of great music within the means of everyone." That means its shows aren't just financially affordable, they're also demystified by conductor lectures and never held inside biodomes. In recent years, the organization has added a new facet to its time-tested strategy: curated concerts built around a theme. Shows might explore a particular place and time, examine a literary motif, or delve into the interaction between music and visual art. This strategy has attracted a lot of attention, and not just from audiences: such greats as Yo-Yo Ma, Deborah Voigt, Sarah Chang, and Carnegie Hall's mask-wearing Phantoms of the Barbershop Quartet have all vied to play with the Orchestra.
To make classical music engaging and build future audiences: that's the mission of the Little Orchestra Society. And it's one the company has ably carried out for nearly 70 years by producing family- and kid-friendly works that pair live orchestration with puppetry, dance, and other arts. The multidisciplinary performances range from Lolli-Pops concerts for aspiring conductors ages 3?5, to the Peabody Award-winning Happy Concerts for Young People series, recommended for those ages 6?12. It's a unique approach that has won them some notable fans?the society's artistic advisors include Patti Smith, Kevin Kline, Rita Moreno, and Joel Grey.
Designated a city landmark in 2008, Webster Hall was named Nightclub of the Year in 2011 by Nightclub & Bar magazine and called the “jewel of the Village” by Nobel laureate Eugene O’Neill. First opened in 1886, its iconic framework has hosted such major acts as Prince and Mick Jagger, and served as a speakeasy, a lecture hall, and a mentor to troubled teenage buildings. Today, live shows performed by stars such as Kanye West and Alicia Keys take place in the Grand Ballroom, which is equipped with state-of-the-art acoustics and cutting-edge audio-visual equipment. In addition, the venue hosts weekly dance-club nights, the official NYC Halloween Parade Afterparty, and an annual New Year’s Eve Ball.
In 1922, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra performed its first concert at the Montclair Art Museum. They weren't called by that name yet, and they only had 19 string players at the time, but it was a show that established the orchestra as an important organ in the artistic community. It also might have been the last time the group was largely unknown. The ensemble quickly swelled in size, talent, and popularity as it racked up one significant achievement after another. In 1968, Henry Lewis joined the company to become the first African-American music director of a major symphony. The orchestra reached new heights under his leadership, taking the stage at Carnegie Hall and at the Garden State Arts Center with Luciano Pavarotti?a guest who joined the musicians again in 1984 to perform the first-ever classical program at the humble speakeasy known as Madison Square Garden. The group's illustrious career continued into the late '80s, as it performed live on PBS and played a concert of Bernstein works that won the admiration of the man himself.
Today, the NJSO continues to confidently play into the 21st century. Under the current leadership of Music Director Jacques Lacombe, the ensemble shares seasons of classical, pops, and family programs, along with outdoor concerts, and educational projects. But the group has never forgotten its humble beginnings, maintaining a commitment to the community that caused The Wall Street Journal to call them ?a vital, artistically significant musical organization."