Garden State Philharmonic Celebrates Women's History Month with Virtual Concert Featuring the South Orange Symphony

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Gardenstatephilharmonic Logo
TOMS RIVER, N.J. - March 24, 2021 - PRLog -- Under the brilliant leadership of Music Director and Conductor Diane Wittry, the Garden State Philharmonic has partnered with the Maplewood Division of Arts & Culture, South Orange Village, and South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), to present WOMEN IN MUSIC, an orchestral concert featuring musical works by notable women composers. Recorded at SOPAC in South Orange and The Woodland in Maplewood, the concert also features the euphonious South Orange Symphony under the leadership of Susan Haig. Both Susan Haig and Diane Wittry are conductors at the top of their profession, and New Jersey is extremely lucky to have them in the same region to hold such a special event.

"The last five years have seen a flurry of new initiatives designed to support and encourage women to take up roles in musical leadership. Still, less than 10% of orchestras are led by women. This program celebrates not only Female composers, but has been curated by two talented female conductors and their distinguished and primarily female ensembles. We are delighted to collaborate on such an important community program." - Ana De Archuleta, Director of Maplewood Division of Arts & Culture

The virtual WOMEN IN MUSIC concert will stream on Friday, March 26 2021 at 7:30pm, and is free with registration through SOPAC. The link can be found by visiting WOMEN IN MUSIC 2021 is sponsored by Maplewood Division of Arts & Culture, Maplewood Township, South Orange Village, SOPAC, Pollock Properties Group, Keller Williams Premiere Properties and Matt Kean Guaranteed Rate.

Two prominent women composers featured during the program are Valerie Coleman, a living African-American composers who was named Performance Today's 2020 "Classical Woman of the Year," and Florence Price, who was the 1st African-American composer to have a work performed by a major Symphony Orchestra – in 1933 the Chicago Symphony performed her Symphony No. 1. The concert will include "Umoja" (which means "Unity" in Swahili) by Coleman, and the "Andante" from String Quartet No. 2 by Price.

Music by Gabriela Lena Frank, another living composer who is of Latin-American heritage will also be performed. Ms. Frank is currently the Composer in Residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Her piece "Coqueteos" from Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout mixes elements from the western classical and Andean folk music traditions.

Other pieces on the concert include Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel's String Quartet in Eb Major, and the final movement of Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz's award winning String Quartet No. 4. Fanny was the sister of the famous composer Felix Mendelssohn, and Grazyna Bacewicz's music won numerous awards and recognition during her lifetime.

"It is so refreshing and enlightening to hear these wonderful pieces composed by women. The composers on this program, Maddalena Lombardini, Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel, Florence Price, Grazyna Bacewicz, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Valerie Coleman, span a time period of almost 250 years. They each have their own very distinct musical voice and a unique sense of melody and harmony. We are excited to be performing this music and hope that you will explore more of their compositions." – Diane Wittry, Music Director/Conductor, Garden State Philharmonic

The South Orange Symphony is a community orchestra comprised of local amateur and professional musicians, whose mission is to bring family-oriented concerts and community outreach in an effort to provide education and exposure to those who may not be familiar with classical music.

The Garden State Philharmonic, a professional orchestra based at the Jersey Shore, has been bringing music to the residents of New Jersey for over 65 years. Under the artistic leadership of Conductor Diane Wittry, the GSP has expanded their performances to multiple counties throughout New Jersey.


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