The Downtown Concert Series proudly announces the 2018-19 season.

The Downtown Concert Series proudly announces its 2018-19 season with four memorable concerts that feature an internationally known tenor, a traditional piano trio, a pianist, and an Indian music ensemble. The concerts take place at the historic St. Peter's Church, 33 Throckmorton Street, in downtown Freehold. Season subscriptions are now available.

The series kicks off its ninth season with a performance by internationally acclaimed tenor James Valenti on September 29 at 7:30 p.m.  The tenor has built a global reputation for his elegant musicianship, commanding stage presence, ardent style and voice of warm Italianate lustre. Valenti made his professional debut at age 25 at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma as Rodolfo in the Franco Zeffirelli production of La Bohême. He has performed at theatres and opera houses around the world, including Teatro alla Scala Milan, Metropolitan Opera, Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, Royal Opera House London, Opéra National de Paris Bastille, and Sydney Opera House.

On November 17 at 7:30 p.m. the Neave Trio brings its “electric energy and easy virtuosity,” to St. Peter’s Church. The traditional piano trio, (piano, violin, cello), is based out of Boston. Since forming in 2010, Neave Trio – with violinist Anna Williams, cellist Mikhail Veselov, and pianist Eri Nakamura, has earned enormous praise for its, “engaging, cutting-edge performances,” WQXR explains. Neave has performed at venues, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center/La Jolla Music Society, Norwich Chamber Music Series (United Kingdom), and the Samoylov and Rimsky Korsakow Museums' Chamber Music Series in St. Petersburg (Russia). The trio strives to champion new works by living composers and reach wider audiences through innovative concert presentations, regularly collaborating with artists of all mediums.

The pianist Jenny Q. Chai brings her dynamic and unconventional style to Freehold on February 16, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. Chai is widely renowned for her ability to illuminate musical connections throughout the centuries. With razor-sharp intention, Chai integrates her prodigy’s training with personal fascinations in the latest in live electronics, artificial intelligence, and environmental research, creating layered multimedia programs and events which explore and unite elements of science, nature, and art. Based both in Shanghai and New York City, Chai’s instinctive understanding of new music is complemented by a deep grounding in core repertoire, with special affinity for Schumann, Scarlatti, Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, and Ravel, according to her web site. She has appeared throughout the US, and across the globe.

The Akshara Music Ensemble brings its Indian classical inspired sounds to close out the season on May 18, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. Akshara brings together world music traditions on the rhythmic and modal foundations of Indian classical music. With an instrumentation ranging from hammered dulcimer, violins, and cello to mridangam, kanjira, and bansuri, Akshara’s music utilizes a broad sonic palette that highlights its members’ backgrounds in Carnatic, Hindustani, Western Classical, and folk music. In addition to musical performances, Akshara is active in composing and performing new music to accompany classical dance productions, teaching workshops and masterclasses to music students, and bringing the richness of Indian classical traditions to audiences of initiates and neophytes alike.

Season subscriptions are available for a limited time. Subscriptions are $80 for adults and $30 for 18 and under. For additional information and to purchase tickets please visit our website at or call 732.431.8383.

The Downtown Concert Series to present the New Brunswick 
Chamber Orchestra as they “reframe classical music”

The Downtown Concert Series concludes the season on Saturday, May 19 at 7:30 PM with the New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble that is “Reframing Classical Music”. Led by Artistic Director Mark Hyczko, the NBCO performs “music that matters”, whether it was written in the Middle Ages or sometime next year, in the heart of Old Europe or the new conservatories of East Asia. As concert musicians they have inherited a tradition, but are not constrained by it. They love working with composers, and at almost every performance you can be guaranteed you’ll hear something new. Modern classical music has few boundaries and many possibilities: Come and see what you think.

The concert, “Take Flight”, will feature ethereal and soaring works from living and 20th Century composers. The American romantic Howard Hanson composed his “Serenade” for harp and flute soloists with the string orchestra in 1946 as a wedding gift to a friend. That lyrical piece will anchor this year’s concert, which is dedicated to the memory of Susanne Oldham. Ms. Oldham was a brilliant flautist, an associate of Leonard Bernstein, and a longtime friend of the NBCO. The concert will continue its exploration of soaring melodies and dizzying heights with Christopher Cerrone’s pensive “High Windows” and Mason Bates’ “Icarian Rhapsody” based on the Greek mythological character’s doomed flight. The music will then alight again to the earth, with classical music’s canon: Bela Bartok’s “Divertimento”, written shortly before the Hungarian composer’s escape from a ravaged Europe. Rounding out the show will be the winner of the joint NBCO and Composer’s Guild of New Jersey’s annual composition prize, “Son of Pandu” by Shruti Rajasekar. The Princeton University student has composed a striking work based on the “Mahabharata”, the epic poem that comprises the central myths and illustrates the teachings of the Hindu religion.

Conductor Mark Hyczko states “St. Peter’s Church is the perfect space to hear an orchestra of this size. I’m excited to be able to bring my two musical organizations together for the first time by displaying the thrilling playing of the NBCO on the stage of the Downtown Concert Series.” He continues: “We love to focus on new music, which can seem intimidating, but in fact there’s a lot of great stuff being written by young composers today that’s accessible and exciting.” 

The Downtown Concert Series is hosted at St. Peter’s Church, located at 33 Throckmorton Street, Freehold, New Jersey. For additional information and to purchase tickets please visit our website at or call 732.431.8383.


The Downtown Concert Series to present the “eclectic and engaging” East End Quartet on Saturday, February 17

The Downtown Concert Series continues on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 7:30 PM. with an exciting evening of music by the East End Quartet, known for presenting concerts described as “deep and powerful, sweet and high, fast and mad- cap”. They are rapidly gaining recognition for their unique approach to programming, which features close collaboration with composers, in-house arrangements, and an eclectic range of their own transcriptions for the saxophone quartet. Col- lectively, the ensemble has premiered over forty works by prominent composers. Come and experience an entirely new side to the saxophone.

The program will feature Antonín Dvořák's second Piano Quintet featuring pianist Szu-Yi Li, Astor Piazzolla's “Four Sea- sons of Buenos Aires”, and the world- premiere of “Symphony Cocteau”, a work written for East End Quartet by English composer Graham Lynch.

Formed in 2014 among graduate students at the Eastman School of Music, the group quickly won first prize at the Music Teachers National Association Chamber Music Competition and Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition and sprang to national attention. Its members have additionally garnered individual top prizes from various national and international competitions. The focus of the ensemble is to expand the repertoire for the saxophone quartet, and so they have collabo- rated with several prominent composers, including Michael Djupstrom, Graham Lynch, Ken Thomson and Samuel Adler, among others.

This quartet performs almost exclusively from memory, according to Jonathan Wintringham, who plays the soprano saxo- phone for the quartet, and is also one of its founding members. Wintringham said their approach “engenders a closer con- nection to the music they present while facilitating a deeper level of communication with the audience.” He said the musi- cians work collaboratively to produce new arrangements and present concerts that are, “eclectic, engaging, and representa- tive of diverse musical styles.”

Wintringham has been described as, “a major force in the saxophone world,” according to American Record Guide. The internationally acclaimed saxophonist and recording artist has also been described as “absolutely stunning,” and “nothing short of a virtuoso, according to ‘The Sax’ Magazine, Japan. The Arizona Daily Star offers that Wintringham, “possesses a confidence and grace that comes from somewhere beyond experience.” He has received awards in numerous competitions including, the Astral Artists National Auditions and the Mahler Philharmonic Artists Auditions, among others. Myles Boothroyd is the alto saxophonist for the quartet and, “comfortably at home in [the] classical and jazz realm” according to Grand Traverse Insider. Matthew Amedio is tenor saxophonist in the quartet and holds the alto saxophone chair in Project Fusion and the tenor saxophone chair in East End Quartet. Timothy Harris plays baritone saxophone for the quartet and was highly involved in the activities of the Eastman Saxophone Project (ESP) prior to his joining East End.

The Downtown Concert Series is hosted at St. Peter’s Church, located at 33 Throckmorton Street, Freehold, New Jersey. For additional information and to purchase tickets please visit our website at or call 732.431.8383.

The Downtown Concert Series to present pianist Xiayin Wang in an unforgettable performance in the grand Romantic tradition.

The Downtown Concert Series continues on Saturday, November 18 at 7:30 PM with an evening of music by the pianist Xiayin Wang, “an artist of keen musicality and sweeping virtuosity,” who has brought audiences to their feet with playing in the grand Romantic tradition. Come and enjoy an evening of superb music performed by Ms.Wang. Having made numerous celebrated recordings, she has performed throughout the world, from New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, to music centers in South America, Europe, and Asia, exciting music lovers and critics alike with her impressive artistry. This will be a rare opportunity to hear her in an intimate performance in the heart of downtown Freehold.

In a recent interview, Ms.Wang revealed that her debut at Carnegie Hall was, “a dream come true.” Calling the experience “unforgettable,” she said, “I just put all my love into the piano and shared music with the audience.” Whether she is softly lulling the piano keys to life or pounding them with a fervor, her passion to make the keys come alive turns into musical magic.

In November 2016, Ms. Wang released her recording of Alberto Ginastera’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 with the BBC Philharmonic, celebrating the centennial anniversary of the composer’s birth. In addition, her series of discs for Chandos Records has drawn critical international attention with Gramophone calling them, “four out of four superb discs in succession.” Her 2014 recordings of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Sonatas were lauded for “flawless” technique (BBC Music Magazine) and, “awesome clarity and poise,” (Gramophone, Editor’s Choice for both Rachmaninoff discs), and her 2013 disc of American Piano Concertos was crowned disc of the month by MusicWeb International.

Recent and upcoming highlights included orchestral debuts with the Pacific Symphony and Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, a solo recital in Buenos Aires and performances and a recording of the Tchaikovsky and Khachaturian Piano Concertos with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. She most recently joined the Fine Arts Quartet in Milwaukee for a chamber music performance then quickly returned to New York City’s celebrated International Keyboard Institute & Festival for a solo recital in Hunter College’s Kaye Playhouse.

Ms.Wang has performed with the Baltimore, Houston, and Pittsburgh Symphonies, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma. She has appeared in recital in New York at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Vienna at Mozartsaal, as well as in France, Italy, Hungary, Russia, Mexico, Cuba, Chile, Costa Rica, and her native China.

Ms. Wang completed her studies at the Shanghai Conservatory and garnered an enviable record of first prize awards and special honors for her performances throughout China. Ms. Wang, who began piano studies at the age of five, came to New York in 1997. She holds a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and professional studies degrees from the Manhattan School of Music.

Enjoy an evening of musical magic on November 18 with Xiayian Wang. You will not be disappointed!

The Downtown Concert Series is hosted at St. Peter’s Church, located at 33 Throckmorton Street, Freehold, New Jersey. For additional information and to purchase tickets please visit our website at or call 732.431.8383.


The Downtown Concert Series to present international star and “high-powered” violinist Lara St. John

The Downtown Concert Series is proud to present violinist Lara St. John on September 23, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. Canadian-born violinist Lara St. John has been described as "something of a phenomenon" by The Strad and a “high-powered soloist” by the New York Times. Ms. St. John has performed as soloist with North American orchestras in Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver as well as orchestras throughout Europe including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Symphony, Zurich, Paris, Strasbourg, Bournemouth, Ireland, Belgrade, Amsterdam, and the Akbank Chamber Orchestra in Turkey, among others.  She has also performed throughout Australia, China and Japan, as well as traveling to South America to appear with the famous Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, as well as ensembles in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo and Peru. 

She will perform with pianist and composer Matt Herkowitz who has produced a series of critically acclaimed recordings, premiered his works in settings from New York’s Central Park to Germany’s Kolner Philharmonie, collaborated with top classical, jazz and pop artists and performed at music festivals across the globe.

Mark Hyczko, Artistic Director of the series, states “Lara is really something of a rarity in the classical world.  She’s a fabulous musician with a huge technique, but she’s also just a lot of fun to watch! She’s not afraid to be playful on stage, and her performances always reflect that independent spirit.”

Ms. St. John has garnered staggering reviews throughout her career including the Los Angeles Times which wrote “Lara St. John happens to be a volcanic violinist with a huge, fabulous tone that pours out of her like molten lava. She has technique to burn and plays at a constant high heat,” and Denise Ball, CBS radio 2 who wrote, "Truth is, St. John can play anything, from the most classical of classical music pieces, to things that are way out in left field, and she does it all without a hint of pretentiousness or stuffiness. In fact, she knocks the stuffing and the stuffiness out of music in the best possible way....”

Ms. St. John owns and runs her own label, Ancalagon, which she founded in 1999. “Bach: the Six Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Solo” was the best-selling double album on iTunes in 2007. Her 2008 world premiere recording of Matthew Hindson’s Violin Concerto prompted Gramophone to write: “It’s the sort of work that should get audiences running, not walking, back to concert halls on new-music nights.”

The international star has been featured in People, US News and World Report, and on CNN's Showbiz Today, among others

Her recital in the historic St. Peter’s Church will allow audiences to witness her enchanting music up close in this intimate setting not possible in the many larger concert halls she appears in.

Ms. St. John performs on the 1779 “Salabue” Guadagnini thanks to an anonymous donor and Heinl & Co. of Toronto.

The Downtown Concert Series is hosted at St. Peter’s Church, located at 33 Throckmorton Street, Freehold, New Jersey. For additional information and to purchase tickets please visit our website at or call 732.431.8383.