Live music almost always makes for a worthwhile day trip, and two unique opportunities are arriving soon.
The Princeton Symphony Orchestra will make an appearance in Monroe Township (at Monroe High School, 200 Schoolhouse Road, Monroe Township) May 12, courtesy of the Monroe Arts Committee, and returns to its home auditorium the next day.
"In fact, our regular Classical Series concert in May, Spun Beauty, takes place Sunday, May 13 at 4 p.m. at Richardson Auditorium in Princeton," Meredith Laing, spokeswoman for the orchestra, said.
The program includes "Disquiet" by Sarah Kirkland Snider, "Piano Concerto in G Major" by Ravel, and "Symphony No. 4" by Brahms. The guest pianist for the concerto will be Rieko Aizawa.
Sarah Kirkland Snider’s piece will not be included in the May 12 concert, due to time constrictions.
Spun Beauty is the thematic title for the program. Pianist Aizawa will perform "Piano Concerto in G Major" (1931), which is one of Ravel’s last completed works. Aizawa was invited by PSO music director Rossen Milanov to return this season as a Classical Series guest artist, after her revelatory first experience with the orchestra in the previous season.
After that, "Brahms’ Symphony No. 4" (1885) promises a grand finale for a soaring, thrilling evening of live music.
So what do you say? Would you like to head to Princeton or to Monroe Township? Both offer a fantastic night of the arts, which is why we’ve selected the Princeton Symphony Orchestra this time out for Day Tripper, a weekly look at destinations that are out of town, but in reach and worth the trip.
DAY TRIPPER DIGEST
Estimated Travel Time: About 20 minutes or less to either location
Why it’s Worth the Trip: With two options, one perfect for the starting orchestral enthusiast and another for those looking for the full experience, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra has a performance that is just right for everyone.
You’ll Probably Get Hungry — Monroe: For an elegant sit-down dinner, order up an Italian meal at Ciro’s, try American style gourmet at Fiddleheads in nearby Jamesburg, or relax in a casual setting at Garvey’s Family Restaurant and Pub.
You’ll Probably Get Hungry — Princeton: The Nassau Inn features the Yankee Doodle Tap Room. If you’re inclined to try other things, give Mediterra Restaurant and Taverna's Mediterranean cuisine a try, taste the French-American combo of The Ferry House, or try a unique and rustic slice of pizza at Teresa Caffe. If you want your coffee to go, grab a cup at Small World Coffee. And if your sweet tooth is demanding indulgences, head to The Bent Spoon.
While You’re in the Area — Monroe: For those who want to spend some time in the park, Thompson Park is all you could want and is located next to the high school. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for thrills instead, Raceway Park is located in nearby Englishtown.
While You’re in the Area — Princeton: Check out the building that once stood as the governor’s mansion, now a destination in its own right as the Morven Museum & Garden; see what the current exhibitions are at the Princeton University Art Museum; delve into the region’s past at the Historical Society of Princeton; catch a performance at the McCarter Theatre; see a recent film at Garden Theaters; or tour the world-famous Princeton University grounds.
"The Monroe concert has been done several times in the past,” Laing said, adding the Orchestra modified the May 13 program just a bit. "One other difference from the Sunday concert is that the township has requested that Rossen Milanov speak from the stage about each of the pieces before they are performed. Other than that, the two concerts are very much the same."
That performance will take place in the auditorium at the Monroe Township High School. Such a performance would be ideal for attendees who might have been intrigued by going to see a live performance such as this, but daunted by visiting a full-fledged concert hall, or might be looking to introduce children to the world of orchestral music.
But for the avid concert-goer, Richardson Auditorium, located in Princeton on the Princeton University campus, in Alexander Hall, is probably the way to go.
“As such, many of its events are campus music groups,” Laing said. “The Princeton Symphony Orchestra, however, is not affiliated with Princeton University. We are a professional orchestra who rents the auditorium for our concerts, as do some other professional orchestras and other groups in the area,” Lang said.
“Richardson Auditorium seats 850 people and we are fortunate to always have a large or sold-out audience,” Laing said. Those who would like to attend would be wise to purchase tickets in advance, especially in light of the debut of Disquiet by Sarah Kirkland Snider.
Snider was born and raised in Princeton, and graduated from Princeton Regional High School, going on to study composition at Wesleyan University and the Yale School of Music. The 38-year-old composer now splits her time between Princeton and New York City, where she is co-director of New Amsterdam Records, a nonprofit record label and artists’ service organization that supports the creation and performance of new music.
"Disquiet" is one of her more traditional compositions, as she has a varied range of compositional styles, lending to her work in the alt/indie classical scene), written in 2005 while she was a graduate student at Yale. Snider said that time had made her approach the music differently and a revision was in order.
“I changed the orchestration and added a sheen that made it more abstract, maybe even with a touch of irony,” Snider said of the piece. While originally inspired by the concept of loss and regret, and perhaps the rawness of a relationship in the ending phases, she alluded to a newfound objectivity that further informed her conceptualization. “I approached the revision with some level of distance and reflection, and it’s so different now that it could almost be called a premiere.”