Praise for the Montclair Orchestra

It has been enormously gratifying to be a part of the Montclair Orchestra and to have watched the ensemble grow over our first two seasons. As with any new organization, it takes time to achieve recognition beyond one’s immediate circles; but last Sunday’s concert, titled “Lyric,” was rapturously received by the New York Classical Review. Among the superlatives from critic David Wright:

— “An orchestra capable of playing in the big leagues, as evidenced by one of the most superb performances of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor this reviewer has ever heard … the kids who heard Sunday’s performance … may spend a lifetime looking for a better one.”

— “Major credit clearly went to conductor Chan, who must be some kind of natural at this … it sounded like a kinder, gentler Toscanini was running the show.”

The complete review can be found here, and you can watch excerpts of the performance in the linked video.

I am immensely proud of our musicians, who gave all their heart and soul in a performance full of beauty, grace, and virtuosity. But I am equally grateful to Andre Weker and the entire MO organization who “get it” — who are willing to think outside the box, who have supported my artistic vision, who understand that music has the power to unite communities. But most importantly, they also realize that, at the end of the day, people are more important than music. Art cannot exist in a vacuum — it requires the right environment in order to flourish; so many thanks to Andre and the team for providing that environment for us.

For those of you that don’t already know, the Montclair Orchestra is a unique blend of professionals and students in which members of leading orchestras (such as the MET Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra) play alongside top conservatory talent from Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes, and Montclair State University. We’ve dubbed ourselves “The Orchestra for the Next Generation” as this unique setting is the closest one might come to an internship in the performing world. But the results are very much for this generation — once again we see the power of music to bring people together, as our more experienced “mentors” and our younger “fellows” combine to deliver an energy and emotion too often missing from classical music concerts.

So if you haven’t yet heard the Montclair Orchestra in action, don’t miss the final concert of the season on Sunday, April 28! The program, called “French Connection,” features the music of Haydn, Berlioz, and Bizet with baritone Yunpeng Wang.