New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

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Who says 20th Century classical music must be inaccessible?

Not the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Their season-opening concerts featured all 20th Century pieces accented by jazz, tango, gypsy and cowboy influences. Guest conductor Teddy Abrams opened with three dances from Leonard Bernstein’s “On The Town,” which had the audience all but dancing in the aisles to the Broadway/jazz beat.

Then the divine Sarah Chang joined the orchestra for tango king Astor Piazzolla’s “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.” Her sultry glissandos were as seductive as her green mermaid gown.

After the break, and a change from green to red, Ms. Chang reappeared for Ravel’s gypsy-inspired “Tzigane,” a virtuoso showpiece if ever there was one. Some passages sounded if she were playing two violins at the same time.

Finally, Teddy Abrams got his cowboy on with a suite from Aaron Copeland’s “Rodeo.” The audience left hungry for more, and I don’t mean beef.

Philip Neches

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