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.