Princeton Conquered by Augustin Hadelich Playing Beethoven 

Although retired since 2014, I still relish opportunities to teach, write, and share opinions.
January 12, 2024, was a dark and stormy night, but the New Jersey Symphony was appearing at Princeton University’s Richardson Hall.
The amazing violinist Augustin Hadelich was to play Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, and this experience could not be missed. Universally hailed as a great violinist, it was great good fortune to have this opportunity to experience his artistry. His playing has been called hypnotic, transcendent, and revelatory, among other superlatives. He did not disappoint his audience this evening. The hall held its breath, seemingly making not a sound during the entire piece even when it was packed to the rafters. Augustin Hadelich is a master violinist who with amazing aplomb left the audience spellbound. At the conclusion of the concerto, the audience erupted in a frenzy of applause, recalling him several times to the stage to repeated standing ovations. He graced us with an encore, which was ecstatically received. How he could have enough stamina to perform an encore after the sublime performance of the concerto boggles the mind.
The young violinist (born April 4, 1984) nearly perished in a fire in 1999 on his family’s farm. After reconstructive surgeries to his upper body, and intense physical rehabilitation, he has amazingly become one of his generation’s greatest artists. He, of course, plays with many of the world’s foremost orchestras, and has won a Grammy Award, with many recordings to his credit. He plays a Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu violin from 1744, known as “Leduc, ex Szerying,” on loan from the Tarisio Trust.
Music Director and Conductor for this evening Xian Zhang graciously allowed Mr. Hadelich several solo bows. Her sensitive conducting was thrilling as she and the orchestra partnered the soloist. Her unerring sense of self-effacing modesty was exceptional. The New Jersey Symphony played splendidly with her expert guidance in this, as well as the other works on the program.
The program opened with a work by Resident Artistic Catalyst Daniel Bernard Roumain, I am a white person who __________ Black people.
This work recalled the sound palette of Leos Janacek, and the composers Norman Dello Joio and Carlos Surinach, among others, who worked with Martha Graham. Daniel Bernard Roumain expanded his work to include wind and brass instruments, according to the program notes. The composer stated that his aim in the piece was to have all (only those considering themselves White, obviously) consider how they feel and respond to Black people. So, a White Person may fill in the blank with “celebrates,” “admires,” “excites,” “marries,” or whatever is felt, if you are a White Person.
After the interval, the orchestra and conductor performed a rousing rendition of the Mussorgsky/Ravel version of Pictures at an Exhibition, a clear favorite with the audience.
The Moon entered the sign of Aquarius on January 12, 2024. With the Sun in Capricorn, just a day after the New Moon, we are all ready for a fresh start. With the Moon in this air sign, our minds are ready to imagine, create, and venture into a Brave New World of wonder and excitement. This concert by the New Jersey Symphony was a fortuitous and splendid beginning.
The New Jersey Symphony continues its 2023-2024 season at multiple venues around the state. For further information about the Princeton Concerts ahead, and all other performances, visit

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