Music Celebrations was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with the New Jersey Youth Symphony on their tour to Austria and the Czech Republic, where they visited and performed in Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague. Performances in Salzburg included a chamber music concert in the Salzburg Cathedral, and an orchestra concert in the Stadttheater Gmunden as part of the American Celebration of Music in Austria. Local choir Lacus Felix sang a few works to welcome the orchestra to Gmunden.
"The concert of chamber ensembles in the hall of the Dommusik was the perfect first performance opportunity. The groups played really well, and Prof. János Czifra was a treat and so accommodating with us." - Jeffrey Grogan, Conductor
The New Jersey Youth Symphony had the further honor of representing the United States of America along with two other groups in the 2014 Summa Cum Laude International Music Festival and Competition in Vienna, Austria.
At the festival, the orchestra performed in some of Vienna's most prestigious concert venues, including the MuTh Konzertsaal der Wiener Sängerknaben, Wiener Musikverein, and the Wiener Konzerthaus.
"The CVS Pöttsching had great acoustics, quite a solid performance and the audience size and their reception of the NJYS wasquite phenomenal.""We loved the workshops and seminars conducted at the University of Music in Vienna!" "The concert at MuTh was quite good. The kids were really tired by this point, but we had a fantastic crowd.""As for the performance at the Musikverein, it was an amazing venue, Small crowd, as to be expected with the competition. Parents loved it, and kids said it was the most memorable music experience of their lives." - Jeffrey Grogan, Conductor
The New Jersey Youth Symphony took home First Prize in the Symphony Orchestra category, and had an unforgettable opportunity to perform in the Gala Winners Concert at the Konzerthaus, where they played Leonard Bernstein's Overture to Candide (1956), movements from Beethoven's Symphony no. 1 in C major (1800), and Tchaikovsky's Symphony no. 5 in E minor (1888).
"As for the Gala Winners’ Concert in the Konzerthaus, it was an incredibly nostalgic performance. It was a very prestigious-feeling experience, and we felt like rock stars because of the crowd there. We had multiple standing ovations, and this couldn’t have been any better!" - Jeffrey Grogan, Conductor
Following the festival, the orchestra traveled to Prague, where they played for a large and overwhelmingly exuberant audience at the iconic Smetana Concert Hall, receiving multiple standing ovations and encore requests.
"For the concert at Smetana Hall in Prague, this was the highlight of my musical career. Of all of the student and professional groups I have conducted, this performance takes the cake. It was PACKED with a huge audience, literally not a single seat open in the hall. There was so much clapping from the audience that we had to walk on and off the stage at the end three times and keep coming back on for more applause! When I came out the third time and they started their encore, We had programmed a Czech piece, and literally ten seconds into it, the crowd starting cheering very loud as they recognized the music!" - Jeffrey Grogan, Conductor
Music Celebrations would like to thank Jeffrey Grogan and the New Jersey Youth Symphony Orchestra for sharing their tour experiences with us, as well as the Summa Cum Laude International Music Festival for their collaboration. Visit the NJYSO Tour Photo Album. Read more about the American Celebration of Music in Austria. Learn more about the Summa Cum Laude International Music Festival.