NJSO Presents Elgar’s Enigma Variations

NEWARK—On Thanksgiving weekend, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Jacques Lacombe present a vibrant program featuring Elgar’s timeless Enigma Variations and NJSO Concertmaster Eric Wyrick performing Princetonian Edward T. Cone’s Concerto for Violin and Small Orchestra, as part of the Orchestra’s New Jersey Roots Project. The program also includes Webern’s orchestration of Bach’s “Ricercare” from The Musical Offering.

Performances take place on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m., at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark and Sunday, Nov. 28 at 3 p.m. at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. Classical Conversations begin one hour before each performance and are free to all ticketholders.


Lacombe says Enigma Variations is “probably one of—if not the—best pieces ever written to represent the spirit of the British. It has the qualities that make England so great, so special. The melancholy, wit, humor … it’s almost like a national anthem!

“It’s no secret why this piece has been Elgar’s most performed—it leaves us with a question no one has answered. But the quality of the inspiration is marvelous; like a concerto for orchestra, everyone shines. To combine the Enigma Variations with this piece by Bach, especially in this orchestration, creates such amazing different orchestral colors. Melodies aren’t played on one single instrument—every one contributes, changes the sound. It creates a very mystical experience.”

The NJSO’s innovative New Jersey Roots Project highlights composers who were born in New Jersey or whose time in the Garden State influenced their artistic identity. On this program, the project intersects with Wyrick’s annual solo performance with the NJSO.

“I’m very happy that Eric wanted to learn this concerto, which has been rarely performed, and only in Princeton,” Lacombe says. “It speaks for itself to know that our concertmaster has added this challenging concerto to his repertoire and to help promote the music of Cone, who was so important as a professor at Princeton University. Cone’s music is not very well known. He was a great composer, but he didn’t have a big interest in getting his music performed. We’re going to try to fix that! I want to allow this music to become alive.”

Tickets range in price from $20 to $82 and are available for purchase online at www.njsymphony.org or by phone at 1-800-255-3476.

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