Five Unforgettable Jordan Hall Performances from NEC’s Fall 2023 Semester

As another year at NEC comes to a close, we pause to celebrate the multitude of extraordinary performances that illuminated Jordan Hall and echoed across campus.

Before we venture into the excitement of a new year and a calendar brimming with concerts, let's reflect on five performances that left an indelible mark during the fall 2023 semester.

Edward Elgar: Introduction & Allegro, op. 47 | NEC Chamber Orchestra

The NEC Chamber Orchestra, led by artistic director Donald Palma, performed Edward Elgar's "Introduction and Allegro for Strings, op. 47" in Jordan Hall on October 4. The string quartet featured violinists Masha Lakisova ’24 and Yeji Hwang ’27, violist Njord Fossnes ’24, and cellist Yi-I Stephanie Yang ’23, ’25 MM


George Russell: "Stratusphunk" | NEC Jazz Orchestra 

Earlier this fall, jazz department co-chair Ken Schaphorst led the NEC Jazz Orchestra in a concert highlighting the music of former long-time faculty member and jazz icon George Russell. Russell was an innovative figure in the evolution of jazz, the music's only prominent theorist, one of its most profound composers, and a trailblazer whose ideas transformed and inspired some of the greatest musicians of our time.

Here, the Jazz Orchestra performs one of Russell's best-known compositions, "Stratusphunk," in an arrangement by the great jazz pianist Gil Evans

Russell taught at NEC from 1969-2004. To read more about his extraordinary life and musical impact, click here. 


Debussy: "Romance" | Embracing Coretta

NEC paid tribute to alumna Coretta Scott King ’54, ’71 hon. DM in honor of the 70th anniversary of her graduation from the Conservatory with a special concert, "Embracing Coretta," in Jordan Hall, supported by NEC's Office of Cultural Equity and Belonging and Embrace Boston. The evening featured readings from Cynthia A. Harmon and a rich diversity of art songs and spiritual arrangements. 

Here, Ms. Harmon describes the challenges of Mrs. King's early years as a student at NEC before a beautiful rendition of Debussy's "Romance" performed by tenor and alumnus Daon Drisdom ’20 MM and pianist and faculty member Timothy Steele

To hear from Daon Drisdom about what it meant to him to honor Coretta Scott King's legacy through music, click here


Mozart: "Great" Mass in C Minor, K. 427 | NEC Philharmonia + NEC Symphonic Choir

In one of Jordan Hall's most epic moments of the fall semester, NEC Philharmonia and NEC Symphonic Choir, led by conductor David Loebel, joined forces for a powerful performance of Mozart's "Great" Mass in C Minor, K. 427. Vocal soloists included sopranos Josie Larsen ’25 ADYeonjae Cho ’24 ADShiyu Zhuo ’24 MM, and Ruoxi Peng ’25 GD, tenor Suowei Wu ’25 MM, and baritone Hyungjin Son ’24 MM


Jelly Roll Morton: "King Porter Stomp" | Contemporary Musical Arts Ensemble

In November, a Contemporary Musical Arts ensemble led by faculty member and alumnus Anthony Coleman ’77 performed Jelly Roll Morton's "King Porter Stomp" — one of the most important jazz compositions ever, says Coleman — at the CMA department concert "1923," a celebration of the music of 100 years ago. The ensemble comprised clarinetist Itay Dayan ’24 MM, violinist Michele Zimmerman ’24 MM, ajaengist Yoona Kim ’23 MM, ’25 GD, banjoist Roman Barten-Sherman ’26 Tufts/NEC, cellist Giulia Haible ’23, and drummer Paul July Joseph ’27

"King Porter really spells out, in the most elegant and coherent fashion, the differences and the similarities between Ragtime and Early Jazz," said Coleman. "The multi-thematic March-like structure owes a lot to classic Ragtime as it was practiced by Joplin and a few others, while the culminating section simplifies the final section of a classic rag, transforming it into rhythmic riff-based music that both encourages and supports improvisation."     


These five performances represent a tiny fraction of the beautiful music made and shared at NEC this fall. As students and faculty enjoy a well-deserved rest this holiday break, we look forward to an exciting winter/spring 2024 performance season spanning genres and time. We hope to see you in the audience!