NJSO College Night

Being a college student has its perks—one is $10 tickets for front-row seats for a New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) Concert.

A busload of eager concertgoers arrived at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark this past Saturday evening. It was a chilly night, and the sky was black save for the glowing full moon. It was eerie, but at the same time gorgeous—just like the program they were about to hear.

The program commenced with Beethoven’s “Overture to Coriolan,” followed by Bartok’s “Piano Concerto No. 3,” and concluded with Beethoven’s infamous “Symphony No. 5 in C Minor.” The first Beethoven piece set the tone for the evening of music: the overture, in C minor, which begins with intense chords that lead to a suspenseful crescendo. The piece conveys the story of a tortured hero that in the end, ends up being destroyed. Although the piece sounds depressing at times, it is powerful. The piece would have fit well into the soundtrack of a thriller movie—I kid you not, the chords almost made me jump out of my chair. It was a great opening number.

Bartok’s “Piano Concerto No. 3” was lighter and more carefree compared to the first piece. It reminded me of a butterfly, wings flapping and free in nature. As it turns out, Bartok drew inspiration for this piece from his long walks in North Carolina where he jotted down bird melodies. Additionally, the piece showcased the talented Conrad Tao on piano. At only 23, he had incredible stage presence and musical technique, as well as a killer sense of style. He sported a pair of metallic silver shoes which stood out from the traditional concert black attire, the norm for orchestra concerts.

Ending the program was Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5,” which began with the famous four-note opening. Unlike the “Overture to Coriolan,” this piece ends victoriously with a crescendo going from the third movement into the final fourth movement. The finale closes with powerful, resounding chords that make for a satisfying end to a multi-faceted program.

This was my second time attending College Night at the NJSO, and I had so much fun. Concerts like these usually do not draw much of a young crowd, so it was nice to see people my age geeking out over classical music alongside me.

If you get the chance, check out the NJSO! They are incredible and upcoming events can be found on their website: https://www.njsymphony.org/events/all