Center for the Arts
6125 Montrose Rd
Click HERE for the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington Webpage
The Gildenhorn/Speisman Center for the Arts at the
Greater Washington presents
The JCC Symphony Orchestra
Joel Lazar, Music Director
« Lazar’s admiration for this composer [Nielsen] made him the perfect accompanist … the orchestra provided firm support throughout and one felt that here was an unjustly neglected score finally given a decent performance. »
The Montgomery County Sentinel,
Now beginning its thirty-third season, the JCC Symphony Orchestra (JCCSO) is the oldest continuously performing orchestra in Montgomery County, Maryland. Its first concert, on 12 December 1970, was conducted by James Perdue, a faculty member at Catholic University. Joel Berman, then Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at the University of Maryland, became the orchestra’s conductor later that season and remained through the1987-88 season, when the present Music Director, Joel Lazar, began his tenure.
The JCCSO is fortunate that some of its charter members still play in the orchestra, and through the years the membership has comprised a fascinating mixture of musicians, including emeritus members of the National Symphony Orchestra. Some former members of the orchestra, who played as volunteers in the JCCSO when new to DC, are now among the area’s busiest professionals. The orchestra also counts among its ranks music teachers and avocational players, the latter a remarkable group of people with extraordinarily diverse backgrounds and experience — « gifted amateurs, » in the words of The Washington Post. In the last decade, the group has also benefitted from
The JCCSO performance of Beethoven’s « Eroica » Symphony was « an admirable show of [the] energy, structural clarity and sheer passion that lie at the heart of this music. »
The Washington Post, 3/13/00
the presence of a number of talented and poised student instrumentalists who have subsequently gone on to study at major conservatories and music schools, such as Curtis, Juilliard, Oberlin, the Shepherd School at Rice University, and USC.
The JCCSO has enjoyed a special relationship with Young Concert Artists since the late 1980’s enabling the orchestra to offer as soloists many significant artists at an early stage in their careers. Among these are pianists David Golub and Sergei Edelmann, soprano Marvis Martin, baritone Christòpheren Nomura, violinists Chee-Yun and Scott Yoo, violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama, hornist Robert Routch, and the Saint LawrJCCSO Rehearsalence String Quartet. Yo-Yo Ma played with the orchestra as an emerging artist under the auspices of the Concert Artists Guild. Similarly, David (Sara Davis) Buechner and the Marlboro Trio appeared with the assistance of the Yale and Peggy Gordon Trust. Recently, several members of the National Symphony Orchestra have appeared with the JCCSO — associate concertmaster Elisabeth Adkins, principal oboist Rudolph Vrbsky, and the outstanding cellist, Steven Honigberg — as have national and international artists, e.g., British flautist, Judith Pearce, bass-baritone Max Wittges (now a member of the Bonn Opera), pianist Kevin Sharpe, and guitarist Stephen Robinson.
Distinguished members of the DC musical community who have appeared with the orchestra include sopranos Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Linda Mabbs,
After intermission, the Tchaikovsky Fifth proved to be a rousing finale. Tchaikovsky is still a good test for an orchestra … and the JCC Symphony Orchestra gave the symphony an exciting performance … they put across this piece and its kaeidoscopic moods quite well. » The Montgomery County Sentinal, 11/23/00
Detra Battle, Pamela Jordan, violinist Janice Martin, cellist Evelyn Elsing, pianists Yuliya Gorenman, Edward Newman, bassoonist Lynn Gaubatz, trumpeter Robert Suggs, as well as JCCSO concertmaster, Yakov Shapiro and former principal cellist, John Kaboff.
broad-ranging comprehensive musical sympathies, spanning a representative cross-section of works by Tchaikovsky, all the Beethoven symphonies except the Ninth, as well as five of his seven concerti, three each of the Brahms and Schumann symphonies, and the three late symphonies of Dvorák and his three concerti.
The orchestra has also presented a fascinating collection of less well-known works, including Busoni’s concert versions of Mozart’s overtures to
Critical acclaim for the JCCSO in Beethoven’s 4th Symphony:
« … an exuberant, large-scale realization of an immensely difficult score. » The Washington Post,
Don Giovanni and Die Entführung aus dem Serail along with his own neoclassical Lustpiel-Ouverture, the two symphonies of Kallinikov, Rabaud’s La procession nocturne, and Manuel Ponce’s Concierto del Sur.
Local premieres include Nicholas Maw’s Summer Dances, Randall Thompson’s Second Symphony, Walter Piston’s Variations on a Theme of E. B. Hill, Elie Siegmeister’s Summer Night, Liszt’s visionary symphonic poem, Héroïde funèbre, and the extraordinary First Symphonies of Saint-Saëns, Carl Nielsen, Bruckner and Rachmaninoff.