This year, the Newark Symphony Orchestra is test-driving some conductors to find a new Music Director.
Nicole Aldrich took the baton yesterday, conducting the Bacchanale from Camille Saint-Saens’ opera Samson et Dalila. I was delighted to see former Music Director Roman Pawlowski in the percussion section - not just because he knows how to keep the beat – but also because he can enjoy the fruits of his labors as he experiences the impressive sound of the orchestra he worked so hard to develop.
Kathleen Hastings, violin and Cheryl Everill, cello were soloists in the Double Concerto for violin and cello by Johannes Brahms. Their smooth ensemble and the chiaroscuro contrast between soloists and orchestra was a pleasure to hear.
The Symphonic Dances, Opus 45 by Sergei Rachmaninov gave both the string section and the woodwinds/brass a chance to shine. Laura Grass’ trumpet and Anna Montejo’s English horn playing were highlights, as was Serban Petrescu’s violin solo.
It is time we started paying attention to this very well-established orchestra. The next concert dates are December 13, 2009, March 7, 2010 and May 16, 2010. Each concert will have a finalist conducting with the last two featuring the Youth Concerto Competition Winners.