ruotao34.8x10ATLANTIC CITY/BRIDGETON, NJ (February 22, 2016)—A spectacular violin concerto by Tchaikovsky, a world premiere celebrating Native American heritage, and a dynamic orchestral showpiece by Brahms will highlight the Bay-Atlantic Symphony’s next concert series on March 19 and 20.

The concerts will take place on Saturday, March 19, at 8 p.m., at the Frank Guaracini, Jr. Fine and Performing Arts Center, Cumberland County College, College Drive, Vineland, NJ; and Sunday, March 20, at 2 p.m., at the Stockton University Performing Arts Center, 101 Vera King Farris Dr., Galloway Township, NJ.

For this season’s subscription concert series, reduced ticket prices–$30 per concert (with an additional service at both venues)—will be for all seats in all venues, subsidized by the generosity of sponsorship by Woodruff Energy.

Tickets may be ordered by calling the Guaracini Fine and Performing Arts Center box office at (856) 692-8499, or the Stockton College Performing Arts Center box office at (609) 652-9000.

The concerts, conducted by Music Director Jed Gaylin, will feature the Bay Atlantic Symphony’s concertmaster Ruotao Mao, a renowned orchestral, chamber player, and soloist around the world, in Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s dynamic Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35—one of the most famous, virtuosic violin concerti in the repertoire. Algonquian Dreamcatcher, in its world premiere, is New Jersey pianist/composer Steven Mento’s tribute to the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape, and all original people with deep roots in South Jersey and the United States. Johannes Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a, one of his most popular orchestral works, is a piece of great breadth and also deep roots, being based on Franz Joseph Haydn’s St. Anthony Chorale.

All Bay-Atlantic Symphony performances will be preceded one hour prior to starting time with a “Pre-Concert Conversation with the Maestro.”

These concerts are also made possible through funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

About Ruotao Mao

Bay Atlantic Symphony concertmaster Ruotao Mao started learning the violin at the age of six under the guidance of his father and gave his first public performance at the age of nine in Shanghai.  Now an active soloist and chamber musician, his playing was described by The Classical New Jersey as “…virtuoso display of world-class magnitude” and “the level of playing has reached far beyond mere technical competence.”

He came to Boston on a full scholarship offered by the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with Dorothy DeLay, Paul Kantor, and Masuko Ushioda. While in Boston, he won numerous prizes and graduated With Distinction in Performance. He also attended prestigious music festivals such as the New York String Seminar with Alexander Schneider and the Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where his performance of Bartok’s String Quartet No. 1 received an honorary mention. He started working with violinist Arnold Steinhardt of the Guarneri String Quartet in 1989 at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, where he received a Master’s degree. While at Rutgers, he won many concerto competitions.

Mao has appeared as soloist with the Bay Atlantic Symphony, as well as with the Jupiter Symphony, Riverside Symphonia, New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, Rutgers University Orchestra, Edison Symphony, Delaware Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, Bay Atlantic Symphony, and Corelliard Chamber Orchestra, among other orchestras. In 2004, he premiered a violin concerto by Ernest Stires in the Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall.

As a chamber musician, he was one of the founding members at Rutgers University of the esteemed Amabile String Quartet and the Beijing Piano Quartet. His piano quartet has appeared in Alice Tully Hall, Bruno Walter Auditorium, and Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall as a winner of Artists International Chamber Music Series in 1994. His string quartet—Rutgers’ Quartet-in-Residence from 2000 to 2002—has performed with the Muir String Quartet, has appeared in many concert series on the East Coast, and has been heard on radio nationwide. Its performing was praised by The Classical New Jersey as “luminous, raised to that level by exceptional precision of ensemble.”

Internationally, Mao has had performances in Korea and Colombia, South America.  He also has played on WNYC radio station, WETS public radio serving Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina, and on WDVR-FM radio station serving Delaware Township, Lawrenceville, Princeton, and Trenton in New Jersey. He has recorded for the CRI and Beijing Broadcast CD labels.

In addition to the Bay Atlantic Symphony, he currently serves as the concertmaster of the Delaware Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, Riverside Symphonia, and Edison Symphony Orchestra.

About Steven Mento’s Algonquian Dreamcatcher

The Bay Atlantic Symphony tasked New Jersey composer Steven Mento with creating a symphonic piece “rooted in the community.” After considering many cultural themes, he chose to depict the displacement of the region’s earliest residents, the Native American Lenni-Lenape. The result was Algonquian Dreamcatcher, a three-movement symphony that explores, in Mento’s words, “the contrast of two old worlds: the Indian Nation and Europe.” He accomplishes this through “alternations of Lenape melodic intervals with Western, modal areas containing less harmonic movement.”

The name of Mento’s symphony is significant. “Algonquian” translates into “original people,” while a dreamcatcher is Native American object consisting of a web threaded onto a willow hoop. According to Lenni-Lenape tradition, such a hoop enables dreams to be snared. It could be said that Algonquian Dreamcatcher is an expression of the captured dreams of the Lenni-Lenape, and of all Native Americans.

About the Bay Atlantic Symphony

The mission of the Bay Atlantic Symphony (BAS) is to share and develop a love for transcendent, live, concert music in southern New Jersey communities through performance and education. Since its founding as the Bridgeton Symphony in 1983, the BAS has been recognized for its world-class performers, diverse programs and outstanding community services. Under the talented baton of passionate Music Director Jed Gaylin since 1997, the BAS is the only union orchestra to serve the five southern-most counties of New Jersey. BAS makes great music accessible through live concerts with low ticket prices at the Richard Stockton Performing Arts Center, the Guaracini Performing Art Center, the Avalon Symphony by the Sea Series, the Cape May Music Festival and Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa.

The Symphony’s value to the community goes far beyond performing great music. As a cultural centerpiece, the BAS is a treasured music education resource. By creating meaningful, interactive music experiences for children, adults, the visually-impaired, veterans, and seniors with limited mobility, the BAS strives to create vibrant communities rooted in the love of music. To learn more, visit BayAtlanticSymphony.org, call (856) 451-1169, of visit them on Facebook.