Join Us For Our 2021-2022 Season!
Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players
“This was music-making of a very high order”
Fred Kirshnit, The New York Sun
Why the name Jupiter: When Jens Nygaard named his orchestra Jupiter, he had the beautiful, gaseous planet in mind—unattainable but worth the effort, like reaching musical perfection. Many, indeed, were privileged and fortunate to hear his music making that was truly Out of This World. Our Players today seek to attain that stellar quality.
Join us for our next concerts...
Monday, October 25 ♦ 2 PM & 7:30 PM
Mark Kaplan violin
David Kaplan piano
Ariel Horowitz violin
Edwin Kaplan viola
Lauren Siess viola
Christine Lee cello
Vadim Lando clarinet
Karl Kramer horn
Gina Cuffari bassoon
If ever there was misleading information, it’s found in the opus numbers of musical compositions. Thus, don’t always believe that an “Opus One” number indicates a composer’s first work.
Franz BERWALD Quartet in Eb Major for piano, clarinet, horn, and bassoon Op. 1
Although the Quartet bears the opus number “1,” there is evidence of Berwald’s serious creative activity as early as 1816, when he wrote Theme and Variations for violin and orchestra in imitation of one by Pierre Rode. In 1817 he composed Fri fantasy on a national theme for orchestra (now lost), a concerto for two violins, and a septet for clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, and double bass (the same instrumentation as Beethoven’s Septet). The 3 pieces were well received at a concert at the Hovkapellet in Börssalen (the grand hall of the Stockholm Stock Exchange) on 10 January 1818, with the double concerto played by the composer and his brother Christian August. Later in 1818 Berwald wrote 2 string quartets—in G minor and in Bb major (now lost)—and in the fall he began publishing a Musikalisk Journal, which he maintained for 2 years. Its 6 issues include his own songs and piano pieces. In addition to a concert tour of Finland and Russia in 1819, Berwald wrote orchestral variations on the song “Göterna fordomdags drucko ur horn” (also lost after its performance on 7 December) and the “Op. 1” Quartet for piano and winds. The Quartet’s premiere took place in Stockholm in 1821 with 3 virtuoso wind players—Bernhard Crusell on clarinet, Johann Hirschfeld on horn and Franz Preumayer on bassoon—but it was attacked by conservative Swedish critics for its original style and “avant garde cacophony.”
Berwald, born in Stockholm in 1796 to a long line of musicians, is considered Sweden’s foremost composer, the founder of Romanticism in Sweden, and its first important symphonist He was, however, unable to earn a living as a musician, and became a successful orthopedic surgeon in 1835. In 1850 he took over the management of a glass factory, then launched a saw mill, and was also active as a polemicist from about 1856. He began composing again after his move to Vienna in 1841, the 1840s being his most productive musical years. In 1866, at the age of 70, he was finally acknowledged for his musical achievements with the award of the Swedish Order of the Polar Star, but it was not until the 20th century that his work became more widely recognized.
Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 1
After its premiere at a concert on 9 October 1893 devoted entirely to the composer’s works, the critic of the Croydon Advertiser called the Quintet “astonishing.” Coleridge-Taylor was in his third year of studies at the time. He had entered the Royal College of Music in 1890 at age 15 as a violin student. His “music class” taught by Walter Parratt, however, went badly and he slid from “fair” to “irregular” to “very irregular” by December 1891. Yet he wrote an anthem, In thee, O Lord, which was immediately published by Novello in 1891. As he continued to be uninspired by Parratt, young Samuel received the comment “bad” at the end of the Easter term in 1892, after which he dropped the class and studied harmony with Charles Wood, who reported, “his work has been in every respect excellent.” Just weeks after his 17th birthday, he also started studying composition with Charles Villiers Stanford and replaced his violin studies with the piano. By March 1893 he won the first in a succession of composition scholarships. Stanford regarded Coleridge-Taylor as brilliant—especially his flair for melody—and reported at the end of the Easter term of 1895: “Invariable” for Regularity and Punctuality,“Indefatigable” for Industry, and “Indisputable” for Progress.
Known as the “Black Mahler,” Coleridge-Taylor (1875–1912)—the son of a Sierra Leonean Creole father and English mother—was named Samuel after the poet. Much admired in his day for his prodigious talent and refined musical taste, his greatest hit was the cantata Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast. Coleridge-Taylor was proud to be “an Englishman” even though he suffered intense racism. On several occasions he visited the United States where he was warmly received; he met Booker T. Washington and President Theodore Roosevelt, who invited him to the White House. He was an ardent supporter of the Pan-African Movement, and was intent on establishing “the dignity of the Black man.” In 1912 he contracted double pneumonia and died at the age of 37. He left two children, Hiawatha and Gwendolyn, both of whom had distinguished careers as conductors and composers.
Antonín DVOŘÁK String Quintet No. 1 in A minor Op. 1
The String Quintet is the first of Dvořák’s extant pieces of chamber music he thought well enough of to assign an opus number. Brimming with musical ideas, it was written at age 20 during the summer of 1861. Its public premiere took place 17 years after his death in 1921, and it waited another 21 years for publication in 1943. Dvořák had likely written a large number of works before 1861, none of which were performed. He was extremely self-critical and destroyed the majority of his scores. When he graduated from the Prague Organ School in July 1859 with a public concert, he performed a Bach prelude and fugue and also two of his own works—Prelude in D major and Fugue in G minor—among his first pieces to survive as autograph manuscripts.
Dvorák (1841–1904), the first of 9 children, was born to a family of butchers and innkeepers in the village of Nelahozeves, some forty miles north of Prague. Although it was assumed that he would take over the family business as the eldest son, Dvorák was destined to develop his exceptional talent. (Even his own father later abandoned the trade and earned somewhat of a living playing the zither.) However, before embarking on his musical studies in earnest, before his 12th birthday, Dvorák spent a year, rather reluctantly, learning butchery. In 1857 he attended the Prague Organ School for two years, then played viola in a band led by Karel Komzák, an ensemble that was to form the nucleus of the Czech Provisional Theatre Orchestra, established in 1862. Such was the setting for the String Quintet.
By now you know the danger of gathering indoors with people outside your bubble. If you come, it’s at your own risk. If you are in the least bit fearful of CoVid-19, please do not come. We’ll follow state-city guidelines, however, and we can offer:
Refreshments may not be served.
Jupiter 2021 - 2022 Season
Please visit our Media Page to hear Audio Recordings from the Jens Nygaard and Jupiter Symphony Archive
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Jupiter in the News
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As promised, here are the videos of John Field’s Divertissement No. 1 and Sir Hamilton Harty’s Piano Quintet. Fortuitously, our Jupiter musicians had the good sense to record the rehearsal in an impromptu decision, literally minutes before pressing the record button. Pianist Mackenzie Melemed (replacing Roman Rabinovich at the last minute) learned the music in 2 days! Bravo to him.
Both works are Irish rarities that were scheduled for the March 16 performances which had to be canceled because of the coronavirus epidemic. Even though the entire program could not be recorded because of technical issues, we are pleased to be able to share with you the 2 musical gems. Enjoy.
John FIELD Divertissement No. 1 H. 13
We thank the University of Illinois (Champaign) for a copy of the Divertissement music.
Mackenzie Melemed piano
Sir Hamilton HARTY Piano Quintet in F Major Op. 12
Andrew Clements of the Guardian proclaimed the beautiful Quintet “a real discovery: a big, bold statement full of striking melodic ideas and intriguing harmonic shifts, which adds Brahms and Dvořák into Harty’s stylistic mix, together with Tchaikovsky in some passages.” There’s folk music charm as well, reminiscent of Percy Grainger—notably in the Scherzo (Vivace) with its folksy quirks and nonchalance, and the winding, pentatonic melody in the Lento.
Our gratitude to the Queen’s University Library in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for a copy of the autograph manuscript of the music. Much thanks, too, to Connor Brown for speedily creating a printed score and parts from Harty’s manuscript.
Mackenzie Melemed piano
I Allegro 0:00
Jupiter featured on Our Net News
American program opener on March 18, with grateful thanks to Michael Shaffer of OurNetNews.com for recording the matinee concert, and making available the Horatio Parker Suite video for our viewing pleasure.
Horatio Parker Suite in A Major, Op. 35, composed in 1893
Stephen Beus piano
More video from this performance can be viewed on our media page
Jupiter on YouTube
NEW YORK CANVAS : The Art of Michael McNamara is a video portrait of the artist who has painted iconic images of New York City for more than a decade, capturing the changing urban landscape of his adopted city. Our Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players provide the music from Brahms’s Piano Quartet in G Minor, underscoring the inspiration the artist has drawn from Jens Nygaard and the musicians. Michael was also our Jupiter volunteer from 2002 to 2010.
Here is a video of the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players performance of the Rondo alla Zingarese movement:
The producer-director, Martin Spinelli, also made the EMMY Award-winning “Life On Jupiter: The Story of Jens Nygaard, Musician.”
For more information, visit our media
New York Sun Review
“Some great musicians get a statue when they pass away. Some get their name imprinted on the roof of a well-known concert hall. But the late conductor Jens Nygaard has a living tribute: an entire ensemble of musicians and a concert series to go along with it...
It is one of the city’s cultural jewels...
In the end, if Mr. Nygaard was known for anything, it was unmitigated verve. That’s what the audience regularly returned for, and that’s what they got Monday afternoon. To have a grassroots community of musicians continue to celebrate Mr. Nygaard with indomitable performances like these week after week, even without the power of world-famous guest soloists, is proper tribute. And with more large orchestras and ensembles needing more corporate sponsorship year after year, I, for one, hope the Jupiter’s individual subscriber-base remains strong.
New York’s musical life needs the spirit of Jens Nygaard, and Mei Ying should be proud she’s keeping it alive.”
Read the complete article on our reviews page.
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