A Living Tribute to Jens Nygaard: Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players... It's Out of This World

A chamber music series to acknowledge and perpetuate the legacy of conductor Jens Nygaard, continuing a marvelous journey through the universe of music that includes works from the standard repertoire and the rarely-performed, and featuring outstanding musicians.


Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players

“This was music-making of a very high order”
“at the Jupiter concerts, there is always so much about which to be enthusiastic.”
“the rarities glittered like jewels”

Fred Kirshnit, The New York Sun
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Dear Jupiter Friends and Music Lovers,

Although we’ve come to the end of our 2019-2020 season, and had to cancel 6 concert dates from March 16 to May 18, we haven’t given up hope on future Jupiter concerts—perhaps even this summer, with luck. Our grateful thanks to all of you who have donated your tickets in support of Jupiter’s musicians and music making.

Meanwhile, as we value our priceless freedom, albeit presently shackled, but hopefully for not much longer, here’s more American music from the second half of an unedited, live performance on September 14, 1999 at Good Shepherd Church—7 classic marches by the American March King, John Philip Sousa—El Capitan,Thunderer, Semper Fidelis, King Cotton, High School Cadets, Washington Post, and Stars and Stripes Forever All the tunes are familiar, played à la Jens Nygaard—rhythmical and with upbeat tempos. Sousa held a special place in Jens’s heart as his father played in the Sousa Band. Enjoy.
John Philip SOUSA 7 Classic Marches John Philip SOUSA

1. Jens Nygaard’s Introduction

2. El Capitan

3. Thunderer

4. Semper Fidelis

5. King Cotton

6. High School Cadets

7. Jens Nygaard’s Comments

8. Washington Post

9. Stars and Stripes Forever

10. Stars and Stripes Encore from Trio

The first half of the program comprised Jens Nygaard’s Foster Medley, which you’ll not hear anywhere else, and Deems Taylor’s most popular and now forgotten Through the Looking Glass.
Stephen Foster A Treasury of Stephen Foster

The Foster-Nygaard Medley is quintessential Jens. Based on songs by Stephen Foster, Jens weaves a tuneful ramble with imagination, interesting harmonies, seamless segues, and his own quirky and playful touches. A Treasury of Stephen Foster with a forward by Deems Taylor was the songbook that Jens read and annotated when choosing his selections for the Medley. The program’s pairing of Foster and Taylor was, incidentally, by chance, not design. The recording is from the first half of an unedited, live performance on September 14, 1999 at Good Shepherd Church.

Before writing his Medley, Jens went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in spite of pain in his leg to visit the Stephen Foster Memorial Museum and Foster’s grave in Allegheny Cemetery. Unbeknownst to anyone, including his doctor, Jens was already ill with multiple myeloma, but it was not diagnosed till his femur broke some months later in October 1999. Despite his discomfort he was charged with enthusiasm upon his return, and worked on the Medley right up through the dress rehearsal.

Don’t miss the markings in the score as you listen to the music; and have some fun, too, identifying the songs. Can you name them all? There are 15 or 16, according to Jens’s opening remarks.

Page 64 of the Autograph Manuscript Score Page 67 of the Autograph Manuscript Score

Pages 64 and 67 of the Autograph Manuscript Score, in pencil

Stephen FOSTER-Jens NYGAARD Medley Foster’s songs are, in effect, American folksongs, made memorable by his melodic genius. As Deems Taylor so aptly declared, the music “has in it the stuff of imperishability... an eternal echo in our hearts.” Born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania on the 4th of July, 1826 to a prominent Pittsburgh family, Foster was the 10th of 11 children. Self-taught, he became the first American professional songwriter. The songs were penned for the parlor and minstrel stage in a range of themes: from the love of home, river life and work, to politics, the battlefields of the Civil War, slavery, and plantation life. He had contracts with Firth, Pond & Co. and commissions for Edwin P. Christy’s minstrel show, but he lacked business savvy, which led to recurring debts. The last 4 years of his short life were spent in New York City. By then, he was an alcoholic living in a flophouse in the Bowery—penniless, sick, and alone, having sold the rights to his music for cash and even the clothes on his back for liquor. While shaving one day in January 1864, he fell and died 3 days later in Bellevue Hospital at age 37.

Jens Nygaard’s Introduction

Stephen FOSTER-Jens NYGAARD Medley

Deems Taylor

Deems Taylor’s Through the Looking Glass was composed in 1919, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s novel of the same title. Originally written for a chamber ensemble, Jens probably performed the “big version”—so marked on the title page of his score in green ink, and he drew the orchestra seating plan in red ink. However, he bowed the string parts for the “Chamber version” as well, and performed only 4 of the 5 “Pictures” as in the chamber score. The Suite is an imaginative and colorful adventure through Alice’s looking glass—a dreamy introduction to Alice, an immersion into the enchanted realm of the Jabberwock, a frolic with fantastical Insects, and a portrait of the White Knight.

Never boring, Deems Taylor (1885-1966) was one of the best-known musical figures of the first half of the 20th century—a composer, music critic, author, commentator, artist, and broadcast personality. Among his numerous accomplishments, he was the voice of the New York Philharmonic; he composed The King’s Henchman, the first American opera commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera; and as the affable master of ceremonies for Disney’s animated Fantasia he won over moviegoers to classical music.

Throught The Looking Glass by Deems Taylor Suite for Orchestra Throught The Looking Glass by Deems Taylor Chamber Version


Deems TAYLOR  Through the Looking Glass Op. 12

Jens Nygaard’s Introduction

I. Dedication

II. Jabberwocky

III. Looking Glass Insects

IV. The White Knight

Moments Mousical by Deems Taylor


If you’d like to discover yet another facet to Deems Taylor, you may enjoy reading Moments Mousical with its impossible puns and splendid illustrations by Walter Kumme. Here, the great Micetro offers readers an education, beginning with ancient history in Mousopotamia, and in dance, opera, and mousic; and ending with violinist Fritz Miceler at Carnegie Hall and composer Gustav Mauser, who studied with Moussager, Moucheles, and Mouskowski. It‘s a trip.

Ignace Pleyel engraving

Ignace Pleyel
engraving by Kupferstich von Lierd after a portrait by Jean Urbain Guèrin, circa 1840

Although almost forgotten, Pleyel was all the rage in Europe in his heyday, won the admiration of Mozart, and there was even a Pleyel Society on the island of Nantucket. Not only did he compose prolifically, he was an important music publisher and piano maker as well. His firm provided pianos used by Chopin and his concert hall, Salle Pleyel, was where Chopin performed his first and his last Paris concerts. Chopin also owned a Pleyel Grand of 1839.

Born in 1757 in Austria, Pleyel was the 24th of 38 children! (by one account). In 1772 he was sent to Eisenstadt to study with Haydn, and became his star pupil. By 1784 he was appointed assistant Kapellmeister at the Strasbourg Cathedral, succeeding as Kapellmeister in 1789 when Franz Xaver Richter died. In 1786 he also organized and conducted a series of concerts, which provided the opportunity to promote his compositions. When the French Revolution disrupted religious and cultural life in 1791, Pleyel moved to London, where his concerts and compositions were also highly praised. Upon his return to Paris in 1795, he opened a music shop and established the music publishing house, Maison Pleyel, that issued some 4000 works AND the first miniature scores! In 1807 he also founded a piano manufacturing company that, after a series of owners and mergers, was bought out by Schimmel of Brunswick in 1976. Pleyel died in 1831 after a truly illustrious career. You can visit his tomb at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Ignace PLEYEL  Symphony in C Op. 66

Jens Nygaard’s Introduction

I. Adagio—Allegro

II. Adagio

III. Menuetto

IV. Tempo giusto

Jens Nygaard’s Remarks


letter from Ignace Pleyel

letter from Ignace Pleyel

Pleyel’s letter, which Jens mentions in his remarks, is addressed to “Monsieur Kuhnel / Editeur de Musique” in Leipzig. It is dated in the French Republican (or Revolutionary) Calendar Paris le ii Brumaire l’an i4, i.e. November 2, 1805.

We thank Dr. Vera Junkers for dating the Pleyel letter in the Gregorian calendar, and Richard Secare for the translation into English.

My dear Mr Kühnel, Since my return it was impossible for me to take care of our business, but I would definitely provide a selection of music to reimburse you according to what we agreed in our old account, and as I could not accept your payment of 200 guilders I will send you in 8 days of getting it a payment of 100 [R]th. I hope you would accept my signature: Shortly I will fulfill your request as you did not address in Grätz, and I hope that our business will go more smoothly especially in times of peace: Goodbye, I still have not a moment more to write to you. M Matheis leaves tomorrow and it is very late. Your devoted friend, Ignace Pleyel

Frederic Chopin

Frédéric Chopin
Photo by Louis-Auguste Bisson, 1840

CHOPIN  Rondo à la Krakowiak

Written in Warsaw in 1828 in the Polish dance form, the piece is one of Chopin’s lesser known works. He played it frequently after writing it, but seems not to have returned to it after leaving Poland in 1830 at age 20.

When Chopin died in 1849, his body was also buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Curious tidbit: His heart, however, was taken to Warsaw in compliance with his request on his deathbed. The heart was sealed in what is believed to have been a jar of cognac and smuggled to Warsaw before being interred in a pillar at the Holy Cross Church. For further details see: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/chopin-s-heart and https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/chopins-heart-exhumed-for-a-top-secret-check-up

Kenneth & Jean Wentworth
Kenneth & Jean Wentworth

On February 19 and 20, 1996, Kenneth and Jean Wentworth performed the Carl CZERNY Concerto for Piano 4-Hands with the Jupiter Symphony, Jens Nygaard conducting. They played it 3 times. Back in Jens’s day, the concerts were at 2 pm and 7 pm on Mondays, and 8 pm on Tuesdays. We hope you will take to this Concerto by a composer held in high esteem by Jens. Czerny’s Overture precedes the Concerto for your added listening pleasure. Douglas Townsend (1921-2012) offered the music. Back then, it was also a challenge to find the score and parts; today, much of this obscure music is quite easily obtainable through imslp, libraries, other online resources.

Carl Czerny

Carl Czerny (1791‑1857)
portrait by Josef Lanzedelly after a lithograph


Carl CZERNY  Overture in E Major, Op. 142

Carl CZERNY  Concerto in C Major for Piano Four-Hands, Op. 153 [1829]

Allegro con brio

Adagio espressivo

Rondo alla Polacca


Czerny was a prolific Austrian composer, pianist, and teacher of Bohemian origin. He was Beethoven’s pupil for 3 years from the age of 10, and later became his assistant and lifelong friend. Among his own pupils were Franz Liszt and Beethoven’s nephew Karl. It has been said that Czerny was arguably the greatest pianist who never performed, and the most successful composer to have been consigned to oblivion; his compositions number over 800 opus numbers and mounds of unpublished manuscripts.

Jupiter 2019 - 2020 Season
20 Mondays at 2:00 PM & 7:30 PM

View Our NEW Season Calendar

To purchase Tickets ~ $25, $17, $10 
please call
(212) 799-1259 or buy at the door
or e-mail admin@jupitersymphony.com
order tickets with our printable ticket order form (pdf)

Concert Venue:
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
152 West 66 Street (west of Broadway), New York

Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church

one of the most refined and intelligent church spaces in New York~ The New York Times

Built in 1893 by Josiah Cleveland Cady, architect of the old Metropolitan Opera House and the American Museum of Natural History

Office Address:
155 West 68th Street, Suite 319
New York, NY 10023

(212) 799-1259

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Listen to a live recording of the Jupiter Symphony
Chamber Players from September 23, 2013

Recorded by Joseph Patrych

Roman Rabinovich piano
Xiao-Dong Wang violin
Mihai Marica cello

Antonín DVORÁK  Piano Trio No. 1 in Bb Major Op. 21
i. Allegro molto
ii. Adagio molto e mesto
iii. Allegretto scherzando
iv. Finale

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Dear Jupiter Friends and Music Lovers,

As promised, here are the videos of John Field’s Divertissement No. 1 and Sir Hamilton Harty’s Piano Quintet. Fortuitously, our Jupiter musicians had the good sense to record the rehearsal in an impromptu decision, literally minutes before pressing the record button. Pianist Mackenzie Melemed (replacing Roman Rabinovich at the last minute) learned the music in 2 days! Bravo to him.

Both works are Irish rarities that were scheduled for the March 16 performances which had to be canceled because of the coronavirus epidemic. Even though the entire program could not be recorded because of technical issues, we are pleased to be able to share with you the 2 musical gems. Enjoy.

John FIELD  Divertissement No. 1 H. 13
  ~ simply delicious piano quintet, alternately titled Rondeau Pastoral and better known in its version for solo piano, Twelve O’clock Rondo, on account of the 12 “chimes” at the end ~ by the creator of the Nocturne, which had a major influence on Chopin

We thank the University of Illinois (Champaign) for a copy of the Divertissement music.

Mackenzie Melemed piano
Abigel Kralik violin
Dechopol Kowintaweewat violin
Sarah Sun viola
Christine Lamprea cello

Sir Hamilton HARTY  Piano Quintet in F Major Op. 12
  ~ in a lyrical Romantic idiom, with a distinct, breezy Irish-salted voice

Andrew Clements of the Guardian proclaimed the beautiful Quintet “a real discovery: a big, bold statement full of striking melodic ideas and intriguing harmonic shifts, which adds Brahms and Dvořák into Harty’s stylistic mix, together with Tchaikovsky in some passages.” There’s folk music charm as well, reminiscent of Percy Grainger—notably in the Scherzo (Vivace) with its folksy quirks and nonchalance, and the winding, pentatonic melody in the Lento.

Our gratitude to the Queen’s University Library in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for a copy of the autograph manuscript of the music. Much thanks, too, to Connor Brown for speedily creating a printed score and parts from Harty’s manuscript.

Mackenzie Melemed piano
Abigel Kralik violin
Dechopol Kowintaweewat violin
Sarah Sun viola
Christine Lamprea cello

I Allegro 0:00
II Vivace 10:43
III Lento 14:44
IV Allegro con brio 23:59

Jupiter in the News

knocked the socks off this listener...It was wondrous chamber music. And the three artists gave it the deserving excitement, volition and imagination.” 
Harry Rolnick, ConcertoNet   more...

The New York Times
the performers were top notch
The homey church where these concerts take place, nestled on West 66th Street in the shadow of Lincoln Center, is an intimate and acoustically vibrant place for chamber music.”
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times   more...

Strad Magazine
A finely forthright, fluent and expressive account of Haydn's Divertimento in E-flat major opened this programme of miscellaneous chamber music in a series known for adventurous programming.
Dennis Rooney, Strad Magazine   more...

Mr. Nygaard’s cadenza flowed down Mozart lanes and paths, each with beautiful backgrounds. And at the very end, Mr. Nygaard brought forth that martial major theme, like an unexpected gift.” 
Harry Rolnick, ConcertoNet   more...

The New York Times
“...the group’s efforts proved illuminating ...Brown played a lovely, subtly virtuosic cadenza for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 by Jens Nygaard, the ensemble’s founder, who died in 2001, but whose fascination with rarities continues to drive its programming
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times   more...

Dear Friends and Music Lovers,

   As many of you already know, Jupiter is a paradise for melomaniacs. It’s a haven to wallow in beautiful melodies, superb musicians and music making, and interesting programs. There’s nary a dull moment, thanks to our brilliant artistic director, Michael Volpert.

“The playing is top notch; the programs are full of exotica.”
Richard Morrison ~ The London Times
“excellent musicians in unusual programs”
Anthony Tommasini ~ The New York Times
“this was truly impressive music making”
“One of the Best Deals in Town”
“Those in the know keep coming back.”
Fred Kirshnit ~ The New York Sun
“bringing classical music to people in a powerful way”
Cole Grissom ~ Broadway World

   So do come as often as you can. And please give as much as you can to help keep Jupiter spinning its musical magic. Your financial support is truly needed.
   All gifts are tax deductible.
   Thank you so much,

Jens Nygaard
Pencil drawing of Jens Nygaard by Michael McNamara

Why the name Jupiter: When Jens Nygaard named his orchestra Jupiter, he had the beautiful, gaseous planet in mind—unattainable but worth the effort, like reaching musical perfection. Many, indeed, were privileged and fortunate to hear his music making that was truly Out of This World. Our Players today seek to attain that stellar quality.

View Our Season Calendar

Click on the dates for 2019-2020 program details:

September 16 ~ Russia Gusher
September 23 ~ Classical Spectacle

October 7 ~ Lovin’ Beethoven
October 21 ~ Formidable
October 28 ~ Fame in Spain
November 11 ~ Artisti a Venezia
November 18 ~ “Comrades” in Science
December 2 ~ Great Danes
December 16 ~ Warhorses
January 6 ~ Austro-German Gems

January 20 ~ Schubert and His Best Pal
February 3 ~ A Dark Side
February 17 ~ Choice Mozart
March 2 ~ French Finesse
March 16 ~ Irish Emeralds
March 30 ~ Ties to Beethoven
April 6 ~ American Goodies
April 20 ~ Heirs Apparent
May 4 ~ Trophies
May 18 ~ Idolatry

more details here...

Order Tickets with Our Printable Ticket Order Form (pdf)

Take a look at our guest artists for this season.
Find out more about the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players.

Jupiter featured on Our Net News

American program opener on March 18, with grateful thanks to Michael Shaffer of OurNetNews.com for recording the matinee concert, and making available the Horatio Parker Suite video for our viewing pleasure.

Horatio Parker Suite in A Major, Op. 35, composed in 1893

Stephen Beus piano
Stefan Milenkovich violin
David Requiro cello


More video from this performance can be viewed on our video page

Jupiter on YouTube
featured in a short documentary on artist Michael McNamara

NEW YORK CANVAS : The Art of Michael McNamara is a video portrait of the artist who has painted iconic images of New York City for more than a decade, capturing the changing urban landscape of his adopted city. Our Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players provide the music from Brahms’s Piano Quartet in G Minor, underscoring the inspiration the artist has drawn from Jens Nygaard and the musicians. Michael was also our Jupiter volunteer from 2002 to 2010.

Here is a video of the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players performance of the Rondo alla Zingarese movement:


The producer-director, Martin Spinelli, also made the EMMY Award-winning “Life On Jupiter: The Story of Jens Nygaard, Musician.

For more information, visit our video page

Emmy Award-winning “LIFE ON JUPITER - The Story of Jens Nygaard, Musician” available on DVD with bonus music. More Info...

If you wish to purchase your own copy to remember Jens by or for more information visit www.lifeonjupiter.com

The New York Sun Review
by Adam Baer
--The Jupiters Play On--

“Some great musicians get a statue when they pass away. Some get their name imprinted on the roof of a well-known concert hall. But the late conductor Jens Nygaard has a living tribute: an entire ensemble of musicians and a concert series to go along with it...

It is one of the city’s cultural jewels...

In the end, if Mr. Nygaard was known for anything, it was unmitigated verve. That’s what the audience regularly returned for, and that’s what they got Monday afternoon. To have a grassroots community of musicians continue to celebrate Mr. Nygaard with indomitable performances like these week after week, even without the power of world-famous guest soloists, is proper tribute. And with more large orchestras and ensembles needing more corporate sponsorship year after year, I, for one, hope the Jupiter’s individual subscriber-base remains strong.

New York’s musical life needs the spirit of Jens Nygaard, and Mei Ying should be proud she’s keeping it alive.”

Read the complete article on our reviews page.

Please send any correspondence to

office address:
155 West 68th Street, Suite 319, New York, NY 10023
For information or to order tickets, please call:
(212) 799-1259

MeiYing Manager
Michael Volpert Artistic Director

All performances, except where otherwise noted, are held at:
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
152 West 66 Street (west of Broadway) New York, NY 10023
The Box Office at the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
will be open 35 minutes prior to each concert.

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