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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Jupiter 2017 - 2018 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

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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

Jupiter in the News

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...

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Monday, April 9, 2pm & 7:30pm 
The Great vs. The Five
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
152 West 66 Street (west of Broadway)
Janice Carissa, piano
Stefan Milenkovich, violin
Maurycy Banaszek, viola
David Requiro, cello
Barry Crawford, flute
Hassan Anderson, oboe
Karl Kramer, horn

Janice Carissa piano
Named a Young Scholar of Lang Lang’s Music Foundation, winner of the 2014 piano competition at the Aspen Festival and Star Performance Award of the 2012 American Protégé Competition ~ top prize winner of the IBLA Foundation’s 2006 Piano Competition (at age 8)

Stefan Milenkovich violin
Winner of the Indianapolis, Paganini, Tibor Varga, Queen Elisabeth, Yehudi Menuhin, and Young Concert Artists competitions ~ “a stunning virtuoso.” Strings ~ “Milenkovich has remarkable control over his instrument and is blessed with superb intonation and what seems like a limitless capacity for sustaining a big, broad, smooth line.” Los Angeles Times

The Five
Also known as The Mighty Handful, the Five comprised the prominent composers Mily Balakirev (its leader), César Cui (the least known of the group), Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Modest Mussorgsky, and Alexander Borodin. Rejecting Western influences, these “nationalists” sought to create classical music that conveyed the ideas of Russian culture and form a strong Russian musical identity—Russia First. They tried to integrate in their music the sounds of Russian life—village folksongs, music of Cossack and Caucasian dances, the melismatic peasant song, church chants, tolling of church bells, and orientalism. The group existed from 1856 to 1870.

The Great
Tchaikovsky studied at the “conservative” St. Petersburg Conservatory and later taught at the Moscow Conservatory, where the music and teachings that spread from Germany were embraced. Even though his music is Russian in character, he is seen as belonging to the more international school fostered by the Conservatories that the Five deplored.

César CUI  5 Pièces Op. 56
   ~ like tempting petit fours on a silver tray, Cui’s attractive miniatures offer some light and cheery, and some thoughtful fare, whipped up at age 80

Although Cui made his living as a military engineer specializing in fortification, he adored music, composed prolifically, and wrote music criticism as well. He contributed almost 800 articles between 1864 and 1918 to various newspapers and other publications in Russia and Europe. As a critic, he sought to promote the music of contemporary Russian composers, especially the works of the Five. He was also the spokesman for this New Russian School.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV  Concert Phantasy on Le coq d’or
   ~ virtuosic suite for violin and piano adapted by the Russian violinist and composer Efrem Zimbalist from themes from the opera ~ frequently played by the renowned violinist David Oistrakh on his concert recitals

The Golden Cockerel is a political satire set in Russia, based on a faux fairy tale by Alexander Pushkin. The music contains elements of folklore and oriental influence. Despite the magical setting, the opera was banned from the theaters for its attack on hard-hearted bureaucrats and dim-witted aristocrats, disguised as a glittering fin de siècle spectacle. Because the composer had resigned his post as director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory in protest after the bloody 1905 Russian Revolution, Le Coq d’Or fooled no one and its premiere was delayed for months by the Imperial Censor. Rimsky-Korsakov did not live to see his 15th and last opera performed on stage in 1909, having died the year before.

Mily BALAKIREV  Octet Op. 3
   ~ on a grand scale, the sole surviving movement (Allegro molto) is highly melodic, with a distinct Russian accent—its second theme is based on a folk song—and the piano part given over to pyrotechnics ~ for piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, oboe, and horn

Balakirev, the wunderkind from Nizhny Novgorod, went to St. Petersburg in 1855 at age 18. There, he met Glinka, who taught him composition and gave him advice on the instrumentation of the Octet. He later saw himself as the “Father of Russian Music,” inheriting the mantle from his idol, Glinka, and became a pivotal figure in The Five.

TCHAIKOVSKY  The Seasons Op. 37a
   ~ 12 engaging character pieces depicting the months of the year, with inexhaustible melodic creativity, written to fulfill a commission from Nikolai Bernard, editor of the monthly Nuvellist in St Petersburg ~ transcribed for piano trio from the piano cycle by Alexander Goedicke, the Russian composer and pianist who was Nikolai Medtner’s first cousin

Jupiter Players on this program:

Maurycy Banaszek viola
Winner of numerous violin, viola and chamber music awards

David Requiro cello
Winner of the Naumburg, Irving Klein and Washington String competitions ~ “Requiro has everything—musicianship, poise, dazzling technique, and even that great indefinable, star quality” San Francisco Classical Voice

Barry Crawford flute
“He is a superb flutist with a silvery tone, exquisite phrasing, and a fluid deftness in his fingering.” Southampton Press

Hassan Anderson oboe
Oboist with the Shuffle Concert Ensemble

Karl Kramer horn
Winner of the 1997 and 1999 American Horn competitions ~ “a prominent, perilously chromatic horn line, which Karl Kramer played beautifully.” The New York Times

Monday, March 19, 2pm & 7:30pm 
Rooted in Russia
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
152 West 66 Street (west of Broadway)

Timur Mustakimov, piano
Alexi Kenney, violin
Maria Ioudenitch, violin
Cong Wu, viola
Matthew Cohen, viola
Ani Aznavoorian, cello
Mihai Marica, cello
Vadim Lando, clarinet

Timur Mustakimov piano
Winner of the 2014 NTD, 2013 Heida Hermanns, Jacob Flier and 2011 Mannes Concerto Competitions, as well as piano competitions in Ufa, Russia and Kiev, Ukraine ~ “a pianist with his own style, recognizable and at the same time spontaneous” Kamerton Magazine

Alexi Kenney violin
Winner of the 2013 Concert Artists Guild, 2012 Menuhin, and Mondavi Center competitions ~ praised by Strings for his “beautiful, aching tone”

Alexandr GRECHANINOV  Clarinet Sonata No. 1 in Bb Major Op. 161
   ~ Russian lyricism from a second generation nationalist composer ~ for clarinet and piano

Grechaninov (1864–1956) was a late starter; his piano lessons did not begin till age 14. Three years later he went to the Moscow Conservatory and studied counterpoint and theory with Arensky and form with Sergei Taneyev. When a disagreement with Arensky occurred in 1890 over composition teaching he left and studied with Rimsky-Korsakov at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. After the Revolution, he lost his pension and became anxious in Soviet Russia, so he left for Paris in 1925, and then immigrated to the United States at age 75 in 1939, the year he composed the Bb Sonata. Grechaninov was a piano and choral teacher for most of his career, and he composed in all genres, but has a special place in 2 fields: children’s music and liturgical music, the latter testifying to his liberal religious outlook. His music was influenced by Tchaikovsky, Borodin, and Rimsky-Korsakov. Mainly decadent in style, he never abandoned Russian lyricism.

Anton ARENSKY  Piano Quintet in D Major Op. 51
   ~ a splendid work of Russian Romanticism revealing his expert compositional skills and artistry as a master melodist, and including imaginative Variations on a theme from an old French folk song, “Sur le Pont d’Avignon

Viktor Belayev, in Cobbett’s Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music, proclaimed the Quintet a “masterpiece” and Cobbett himself stated that the scherzo “sparkles like diamonds in the sun.” Arensky studied with Rimsky-Korsakov at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, graduating with a Gold Medal. He became one of the youngest professors (in harmony and counterpoint) ever to teach at the Moscow Conservatory, where he was influenced by Tchaikovsky and Sergei Taneyev. Among his pupils were Rachmaninoff and Scriabin. He died at age 44 from tuberculosis, most likely exacerbated by his drinking.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH  Piano Trio in C minor Op. 8
   ~ this hidden gem in one movement traverses a range of emotions that include gloom, gaiety, tenderness, fury, and passion—all this at age 16 while at the Petrograd Conservatoire, and dedicated to a sweetheart, Tatyana Glivenko

Reinhold GLIÈRE  String Sextet No. 3 in C Major Op. 11
   ~ the Russian soul exposed

The noted critic Wilhelm Altmann asserted, “This magnificent work is packed with a treasure chest of wonderful musical ideas. The writing is so powerful it approaches the orchestral in nature.” Glière’s teachers included Taneyev, Arensky, and Ippolitov-Ivanov, and among his students were Khachaturian, Myaskovsky, the eleven-year-old Prokofiev, and Scriabin’s young son.

Jupiter Players on this program:

Maria Ioudenitch violin
Won first prize at the 2012 Young Artists Competition of the Kansas City Symphony and second prize at the 2012 Johansen Competition

Maurycy Banaszek viola
Winner of numerous violin, viola and chamber music awards

Matthew Cohen viola
Winner of a top prize at the 2016 Citta di Cremona Viola competition, first Prize at the 2015 Vivo International Music Competition, “Best Performance of a Commissioned Piece” prize at the 2014 Primrose International Viola Competition

Ani Aznavoorian cello
Winner of the Julius Stulberg and Paolo competitions ~ “shows great sensitivity and great virtuosity at all moments” Los Angeles Times ~ “stunning in her assured technical mastery” Kansas City Star

Mihai Marica cello
Winner of the Irving Klein, Viña del Mar, Salon de Virtuosi and Dotzauer competitions ~ “We just witnessed a future superstar. Mihai is a brilliant cellist and interpreter of music. His playing is spellbinding.” Mitchell Sardou Klein

Vadim Lando clarinet
Winner of the CMC Canada, Yale and Stonybrook competitions ~ “consistently distinguished...vibrant, precise, virtuosic playing” The New York Times

Monday, March 26, 2pm & 7:30pm 
Germans of Note
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
152 West 66 Street (west of Broadway)

Max Levinson, piano
Xiao-Dong Wang, violin
Lisa Shihoten, violin
Cong Wu, viola
Ani Aznavoorian, cello
Vadim Lando, clarinet

Max Levinson piano
First Prize winner of the Guardian Dublin Competition, an Avery Fisher Career Grant and 2005 Andrew Wolf award ~ “Extravagantly gifted and extraodinarily accomplished, Levinson...has fingers, power, brains and intuition.” Los Angeles Times ~ “The pianist’s quietly eloquent conceptions, formidable technique and lovely touch left little else to be desired.” The New York Times ~ “Levinson...is a true virtuoso – he makes every phrase, every note, say something.” New York Observer

Xiao-Dong Wang violin
Twice winner of the Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition, and winner of the First Prize and special Szymanovski Prize winner of the Wieniawski-Lipinski International Competition ~ featured in TimeOut Shanghai 21 November 2012

Richard STRAUSS  Variationen über Das Dirndl is harb auf mi (Variations on a Bavarian Folksong) TrV 109
   ~ a musical joke ~ for string trio

Strauss came from a musical family (his father was principal horn of the Munich Court Orchestra for 49 years) and spent much time and effort in his early years on music, composing more than 140 pieces by the time he matriculated from the Ludwigsgymnasium at age 18. The Variations were written in March 1882 in his 17th year. In August, he entered the University of Munich, where he read philosophy, aesthetics, history of art, and literature. The title is an in-joke. Harbni was the name of the amateur orchestra in Munich, comprising family and friends, conducted by his father Franz Joseph Strauss. It comes from the Bavarian expression “nie harb” meaning never bitter, never bad-tempered. The orchestra name thus reflects on its noble goal of living in peace and harmony and avoiding any harm towards fellow men. The work includes quotations from Wagner’s Ring and is one of Strauss’s first pieces to use his favorite device of quotation.

Eduard FRANCK  String Quartet No. 3 in C minor Op. 55
   ~ his lively imagination at work in its tuneful melodies, Brahmsian drama, and many moods

Renowned in his day as a composer, concert pianist, and teacher, Franck was born in Breslau in 1817 and studied with Mendelssohn. As a teacher, he was much loved, and according to the New Grove Dictionary, “he was also admired as a pianist with a particularly fine touch; his music, largely instrumental, was praised by his contemporaries, including his friend, Schumann.” Other prominent admirers were Mendelssohn and Chopin; Moritz Moszkowski was among his pupils. Eduard’s son, Richard, whom he taught, became a composer as well—Jupiter performed Richard’s Piano Trio in May 2016. The Francks came from a privileged banking family in Breslau.

BEETHOVEN  Piano Trio in Eb Major Op. 38
   ~ arranged for clarinet, cello, and piano by Beethoven himself from his popular and successful Op. 20 Septet of 1799 as a gesture of gratitude to his Viennese doctor and dedicatee, Johann Adam Schmidt, who had been treating him for his increasing deafness and other ailments

The descriptive text of the autograph at the Beethoven-Haus museum explains, “In the dedication written in French...Beethoven expresses very warm feelings for the doctor, who had treated the composer from 1801 onwards. Schmidt played the violin and his daughter the piano. This is the reason why the composer suggested in his dedication that the work should be played within the family, at least when the beloved daughter’s playing had improved somewhat. Beethoven’s extremely high regard for the doctor is not only apparent in the dedication. Even in the so-called Heiligenstadt Testament, which Beethoven wrote on 6 October 1802 in great desperation due to his increasing loss of hearing, he had written of the doctor in respectful and thankful terms [in false hopes of a cure] despite his general bitterness ‘...I thank all my friends, in particular Prince Lichnovski and Professor Schmidt.’ [He also sought the opinion of his friend in Bonn, Dr. Franz Gerhard Wegeler]: ‘People talk about miraculous cures by galvanism [therapy using electricity]; what is your opinion? A medical man told me that in Berlin he saw a deaf and dumb child recover its hearing and a man who had also been deaf for seven years recover his. I have just heard that your Schmidt is making experiments with galvanism.’”

When Beethoven heard of the Septet’s sensational reception in London in 1815, he snarled, “That damn work; I wish it could be burned!” For the poet Walt Whitman, however, it evoked thoughts of “Dainty abandon, sometimes as if Nature laughing on a hillside in the sunshine; serious and firm monotonies, as of winds; a horn sounding through the tangle of the forest, and the dying echoes; soothing floating of waves but presently rising in surges, angrily lashing, muttering, heavy; piercing peals of laughter, for interstices; now and then weird, as Nature herself is in certain moods—but mainly spontaneous, easy, careless…”

Jupiter Players on this program:

Lisa Shihoten violin
Winner of the Marcia Polayes, Menuhin and Nakamichi competitions

Cong Wu viola
Won Third Prize and Best Performance in the 2014 Primrose Viola Competition

Ani Aznavoorian cello
Winner of the Julius Stulberg and Paolo competitions ~ “shows great sensitivity and great virtuosity at all moments” Los Angeles Times ~ “stunning in her assured technical mastery” Kansas City Star

Vadim Lando clarinet
Winner of the CMC Canada, Yale and Stonybrook competitions ~ “consistently distinguished...vibrant, precise, virtuosic playing” The New York Times

Jens Nygaard

Dear Friends and Music Lovers,

   Why not make stargazing a habit at Jupiter—a stellar lineup awaits you.
   Violinist Vadim Gluzman will launch the season with a Big Bang. Our other Stars will shine brightly, too, both familiar and new.
   Marvels galore are in the wings by famous composers—Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms—as well as the neglected and obscure who had huge reputations in their day—Eduard Franck, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Johann Kalliwoda, Karol Kurpinski, and others. They have not faded in our galaxy and will create quite a spectacle.
   We’ll keep you starstruck all season long ~
    Now, what happens when an asteroid hits Planet Jupiter? It probably explodes, likely without leaving a scar. Jupiter on Earth has no “protective” layer around it, but depends on Your Support to survive. So please help if you can can. Your gifts are greatly appreciated. All gifts are tax deductible.

Thank you so much,

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.

Click on the dates for program details:

September 11 ~ In Homage
September 18 ~ Jazzing It Up
October 2 ~ Brainy Bohemians
October 16 ~ Pianist-Composers
October 30 ~ Drawn to Vienna
November 13 ~ Stars in Prague
November 27 ~ Très Belle
December 4 ~ Role Models
December 18 ~ Gifted Organists
January 8 ~ English Wizardry

January 22 ~ Poles Apart
February 5 ~ Nosh on Goulash
February 19 ~ Mostly Italian-Swiss Gems
March 5 ~ Schubert’s Circle
March 19 ~ Rooted in Russia
March 26 ~ Germans of Note
April 9 ~ The Great vs. The Five
April 23 ~ Touched by Mozart
April 30 ~ The French Connection
May 14 ~ Super Stars

Order Tickets with Our Printable Ticket Order Form (pdf)
more details here...

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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