Tuesday, April 22, 2014


BONJ New Header

Composed by Robert W. Butts

WHEN: Premieres Sunday, April 27, 3 PM
WHERE: Dolan Hall, The Annunciation Center, The College of Saint Elizabeth, 2 Convent Road, Morristown
ADMISSION: Adult $40, Senior $30, Student (under 22 with ID) $5
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE, 973.366.8922; or at the door the day of the concert

Bob12CropCreating initial themes and melodies proved relatively easy; figuring out what to actually do with them led to periods of total creative freeze. Every time I felt blocked, I studied the composers whose symphonic work I most admired—primarily Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Sibelius and Shostakovich. In the end, while I was inspired by all of them, it was always Beethoven who provided guidance and inspiration.

So wrote Dr. Robert W. Butts on the process of composing his first symphony, commissioned by Anne and Jon Plaut, of Summit, in memory of their son Joshua who died two years ago in a tragic, storm-related accident.

Don't miss this opportunity to hear the world premiere of a major symphony work.

Also featured on the program will be Ludwig van Beethoven's passionate Piano Concerto #1, The Emperor Concerto. Guest soloist will be one of New Jersey's most highly acclaimed and award-winning pianists, Paul Zeigler. 

For Further Information on the concert, on Paul Zeigler, on Dr. Butts's Thoughts On Symphony Composing and to Order Tickets for this very special event, click here

Dr. Robert W. Butts, founder, conductor and Artistic Director of The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, has had many momentous experiences in his long and creative life. He has written and directed concertos for the bassoon and other individual orchestral instruments.  He has written raucous and bawdy compositions for the Cakes and Ale productions seen at the Orchestra's  annual Summer Music Festival for several years, and he has written operas, such as Mark Twain and the General, which was premiered at the 2012 Summer Music Festival and presented at NJIT, as well as Gesualdo, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado, the second and third of which are based on short stories by Edgar Allen Poe. Another operatic composition, A Night in The Wilde, Wild West, about Oscar Wilde’s visit to the United States in the latter part of the 19thcentury, including a stop at Leadville, CO, was presented at the Orchestra’s Summer Music Festival in 2012 and at NJIT.

However, he had never written a symphony. So, when Anne and Jon Plaut of Summit asked him if he would write one in memory of their son Joshua who died in 2011 of a freak, storm-related injury, he was honored to oblige. Josh's brothers, David, of Austin, TX, and Jeffrey, of Montclair, have also participated in the commission.

A Summit native, Josh was a graduate of Summit High School, Yale University (with honors) and Columbia University Law School, where he was editor of the Environmental Law Journal.  He and his wife, Lena Kim, were married in July, 1999, at the Yale Club in New York and they lived in Brooklyn.  At the time of his death, Josh was an Associate in the New York law firm of Sonsini, Goodrich and Rosati. Earlier that year, he had been named Rising Star Attorney in New York City.

A gifted writer, he was an editor of The New Journal, an undergraduate publication of Yale University.  He was also a member of the varsity lacrosse team that won the Ivy League Championship in his freshman year.  After graduation, Josh worked as an editor at Scholastic Publications and as press aide to Sen. Charles (Chuck) Schumer (D-NY).  Following his graduation from Columbia Law School, he served as clerk to Senior Federal Court Judge Robert Sweet in Manhattan.

"In all his endeavors, Josh established deep-seated and productive relationships," said his father, Jonathan Plaut.  “He was a master at communication and strategic thinking." Josh loved classical music.  A few months before his death, he attended, with his wife, Lena, and his parents, Anne and Jon, a joyous weekend at Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony.