Princeton Symphony Orchestra provides school day concerts in Richardson Auditorium

Rossen Milanov conducts the annual PSO BRAVO School Day Concert.

The smiles kept coming at Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s (PSO) recent PSO BRAVO! School Day concerts, featuring harpist Jacqueline Kerrod and Flamenco dancer Griset Damas-Roche, held in Princeton’s Richardson Auditorium on May 14. The orchestral program included a march by Georges Bizet, Johann Strauss II’s “On the Beautiful Danube” waltz, Edvard Grieg’s frenzied “Hall of the Mountain King,” and more.

Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov conducted the orchestra and engaged a hall full of hundreds of elementary students at three back-to-back performances. These were provided free of charge to area schools through the support of individual and corporate donors.

Maestro Milanov encouraged students to let their fingers do some marching, taught students to waltz onstage and looked for volunteers to time the orchestra’s performance of the “Flight of the Bumblebee.” He also introduced Yevgeny Faniuk, the PSO’s principal flute, who performed Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Badinerie” from Suite No. 2.

Harpist Jacqueline Kerrod commanded attention when she moved from an angelic performance of an excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” to a performance on electric harp, complete with amplified loop and wa-wa pedals, with kids clapping and singing along. She also explained and demonstrated the differences between a traditional and electric harp.

Flamenco dancer Griset Damas-Roche captivated the audience from the minute she began dancing in her vivid blue floor-length gown and clicking her hand-held black castanets, notably the smallest percussion instruments in the room. Following her graceful performance, she addressed some of the students in Spanish, thanking them for their attention and applause.

Support for the orchestra’s PSO BRAVO! School Day concerts is welcome. Many thanks to Bloomberg Philanthropies for providing volunteers to help execute the event. All PSO BRAVO! education programs are free to participating students and schools thanks to generous sponsors who believe in the importance of the arts in education. To learn more about PSO BRAVO! education programs or to offer support, call the orchestra’s office at 609-497-0020.

About Jacqueline Kerrod

Described as “exceptionally virtuosic and sensitive,” harpist Jacqueline Kerrod is perfectly at home across multiple genres. She has performed in some of the major venues in the United States and Europe, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, The Greene Space, Joe’s Pub, National Sawdust, the Apollo Theater, SF MoMA, the Royal Albert Hall (BBC Proms), and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

She has performed at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, Radio Love Fest (BAM), the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival (Fellow), Harare International Festival of the Arts (Zimbabwe), the Asphalt Contemporary Festival (Düsseldorf, Germany), the National Arts Festival (Grahamstown, South Africa), Jazztopad (Wrocław, Poland) with the legendary composer/multi-instrumentalist and MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” recipient Anthony Braxton, and the Savannah Music Festival with Grammy-winning arranger and producer Robert Sadin.

She is an Aldeburgh World Orchestra Artist. Kerrod was a featured performer at the American Harp Society National Conference in New York City, has been a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and toured with two-time Grammy®-nominee Seraphic Fire. 

About Griset Damas-Roche

Griset Damas-Roche was born in La Habana, Cuba, and began a ballet career in the Escuela Alejo Carpentier and, then, in the Escuela Nacional de Arte in La Habana. Her teachers were trained in the Russian Ballet.

As a teenager, Damas-Roche auditioned for the Ballet Español de Cuba and won the only available spot, starting a new career as Flamenco and Classical Spanish dancer. In 1998 she started teaching Flamenco workshops. She became the owner and director of her own studio, while she continued growing as a dancer and choreographer.

She created her own company of Spanish Classical Dance and Flamenco, which won prizes in specialized competitions in Bogotá. In 2015, she moved to Ohio, where she maintains a dance studio while still performing professionally.

About PSO BRAVO! Education Programs

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s acclaimed PSO BRAVO! education programs reach more than 10,000 students each year. “Meet the Orchestra!” establishes PSO musicians in teaching partnerships at more than 30 public, private and special-needs elementary schools throughout Central New Jersey, and stages full-orchestra performances for elementary school students each spring. At the middle school level, “Listen Up!” invites students to attend Classical Series concerts and create visual art in response to the music they hear. Advanced high school and college instrumentalists participate in public masterclasses with world-renowned artists. From kindergarten through college, PSO BRAVO! inspires the next generation of musicians and audiences.

About the Princeton Symphony Orchestra

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is a cultural centerpiece of the Princeton community and one of New Jersey’s finest music organizations, a position established through performances of beloved masterworks, innovative music by living composers and an extensive network of educational programs offered to area students free of charge.

Led by Music Director Rossen Milanov, the PSO presents orchestral, pops, and chamber music programs of the highest artistic quality, supported by lectures and related events that supplement the concert experience. Through PSO BRAVO!, the orchestra produces wide-reaching and impactful education programs in partnership with local schools and arts organizations that culminate in students attending a live orchestral performance.

The PSO receives considerable support from the Princeton community and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, regularly garnering NJSCA’s highest honor. Recognition of engaging residencies and concerts has come from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the PSO’s commitment to new music has been acknowledged with an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming and a Copland Fund Award.

The only independent, professional orchestra to make its home in Princeton, the PSO performs at historic Richardson Auditorium on the campus of Princeton University.

Find the PSO online at princetonsymphony.org; on Facebook at facebook.com/princetonsymphony; on Twitter at twitter.com/psomusic and on flickr at flickr.com/photos/princetonsymphony.

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