NJ Symphony celebrates 18 years of UJA benefit concerts

NJ Symphony celebrates 18 years of UJA benefit concerts

Pianist Alon Goldstein will perform Mendelssohn

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ present the 18th annual benefit concert in support of the United Jewish Appeal of Greater MetroWest NJ (UJA) on Sunday, May 17, at 2 p.m. at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

Pianist Alon Goldstein will perform Mendelssohn’s First Piano Concerto and Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes in a concert program that also includes “The Moldau” from Smetana’s Má vlast and the finale of Brahms’ Symphony No. 2. Guest conductor Michael Stern — the son of legendary violinist Isaac Stern, who performed at the NJSO’s very first UJA concert in 1998 — will lead the NJSO in the single-performance-only program.

The concert benefits the work of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, which encompasses Essex, Morris, Sussex, and Union counties, as well as parts of Somerset County. Through its network of 27 local and four overseas partners, the Federation provides comprehensive social services and meets the educational, vocational, recreational, and social needs of Jews locally, in Israel, and in 70 countries around the world.

Music Director Jacques Lacombe says: “The UJA Benefit Concert is a unique way to connect with our friends in the Jewish community. The Jewish musical tradition is a very rich culture, and we are proud of our long-term partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.”

While this concert will be the last in the format of the past 18 years, a new one will ensue that will more directly benefit the community’s agencies as well as the UJA Campaign.  Beginning next year, the NJSO will expand the number of concerts made possible through this generosity, shifting performance locations to venues with which the UJA has established connections. 

A pre-concert community dessert reception will begin at 1 p.m.

“On behalf of all of the Benefactors, I thank the Greater MetroWest Jewish Community for honoring us. We feel truly blessed to see the continuing rewards of the donations we made almost two decades ago,” said Edward Zinbarg, president of the UJA Benefit Concert Supporting Foundation and one of the 10 concert foundation benefactors. “In addition to the millions of dollars raised for the wonderful causes supported by our UJA, the community’s spirit at these concerts has overflowed in the NJPAC lobby during the pre-concert receptions.”

“We are pleased to be associated with the concert and the benefits it has provided to date, and hope the change will only add to the past successes,” said benefactor Stewart Colton.

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