Mason Gross jazz and classical faculty unite to play Carnegie Hall

In a rare collaboration, seven members of the Mason Gross School’s music faculty are set to perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, October 6, 2014, at New York City’s Carnegie Hall.

The program, Classical, Jazz, and Chamber Music Extravaganza, will feature original compositions by Rutgers jazz artist Fred Hersch, as well as work by Grammy-winning composer Robert Livingston Aldridge (Elmer Gantry), the director of the school’s Music Department.

Piano professor Min Kwon is organizing the New York City concert. She says the idea for a Carnegie Hall concert came about when several of the participants, all artists with accomplished careers outside the classroom, performed Franz Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet on campus at Nicholas Music Center.

According to Kwon, it was kismet.

“We were amazed at how easy it was to make music together, even though it was our first time playing together,” says Kwon, who made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1987. “It felt good, and the performance went so well that we felt like we needed to do it again for a wider audience.”

Rutgers faculty performers on October 6, 2014, in addition to Kwon on piano, are: Yoon Kwon (Metropolitan Orchestra) on violin, CJ Chang (Philadelphia Orchestra) on viola, Jonathan Spitz (New Jersey Symphony Orchestra) on cello, Timothy Cobb (New York Philharmonic) on bass, Fred Hersch (Guggenheim fellow; 2011 Jazz Pianist of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association, six Grammy nominations) on jazz piano, and director of jazz studies Conrad Herwig (twice voted No. 1 Jazz Trombone in Downbeat International Jazz Critics’ Poll) on jazz trombone.

Kwon describes the program as “a fusion of classical and jazz. The first half showcases Latin music in jazz and concert music, with lots of tangos written by Argentinians, such disparate artists as Alberto Ginastera and Carlos Gardel, and written and arranged by American composers like Samuel Barber and John Williams, but also our very own Rutgers composers.” Aldridge arranged Schubert’s Erlkönig; jazz faculty member Bill O’Connell contributes arrangements to Ginastera’s Danza de la moza donosa and Francis Poulenc’s Hommage à Edith Piaf.

Look for original compositions Tango Bittersweet, by Hersch, as well as Bossa Nova Variation, by Aldridge.

The participating artists are “in high demand everywhere,” Kwon says. “This is why the fact that they are all joining forces to celebrate Mason Gross, in one night, onstage at Carnegie Hall, is very special.”  

The Classical, Jazz, and Chamber Music Extravaganza is set for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Avenue at 57th Street, New York City. Tickets are $30 for the general public, with discounts available in person at the Carnegie Hall box office for Rutgers alumni, employees, and seniors, and all students with current ID. More information is available by calling 212-247-7800 or by visiting The concert is presented by The Douglas and Inyoung Boyd Foundation.

Posted: September 2014