YOCJ Symphonic Orchestra in performance, January 2020

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The Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey was founded in 1978 by the late Portia Sonnenfeld as a preparatory orchestra for the Mercer County Symphony Orchestra (now called the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra). Ms. Sonnenfeld shaped the ensemble into a group capable of performing the standard orchestra literature and 20th century works. It then grew to encompass two string orchestras and a wind ensemble, and became known as the String Preparatory Orchestra. In 1999, with increased enrollment, the orchestra was incorporated under the name “Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey.”

Venues have included Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium, Rutgers University’s Nicholas Music Center, the Ocean City Music Pier in New Jersey, Mayo Hall at TCNJ, Kendall Hall at TCNJ, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Heritage Festival Competition in Boston, the Niagara International Music Festival, the Canadian Broadcasting Center, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Haydn Hall in Esterhazy, Austria, Bethlehem Chapel in Prague, the Czech Radio Station Recording Studio in Prague, Peterskirche in Leipzig, and the Französische Friedrichstadt Kirche am Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin.

Unique to the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey are its chamber groups for flute, saxophone, brass, woodwinds, and percussion that offer an unparalleled opportunity for small ensembles that feature these instruments in performance. YOCJ Jersey is a growing, vibrant organization that looks forward to carrying on the tradition of providing diverse musical experiences to the talented young musicians of our region.

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