Rutgers Mason Gross Orchestra to appear with Jay-Z on CBS-TV Super Bowl XLIV pre-game show
Mason Gross musicians add classical flair to
Grammy-winning rapper’s rhymes
New Brunswick, NJ – The Rutgers Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Kynan Johns will be throwin’ it down Jay-Z style Sunday evening as they appear with the legendary rapper in a Super Bowl XLIV music video. The 2-minute teaser is set to air just minutes before the 6:28 p.m. ET kickoff between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts.
Appearing in a music video is “outside the mainstream of classical music,” admits Johns, director of orchestras at Mason Gross School of the Arts. “It doesn’t happen in our realm.” Johns says the arrangement of the song is a fusion of rap and rock injected with a substantive orchestral presence.
Johns says the video shoot, taking place this week in New York City, will help his classically trained students to see that “it takes a lot of time to get pop music to that level.”
The Rutgers Symphony Orchestra is scoring prime face time on what is largely considered the biggest TV event of the year. According to The Nielsen Company, last year’s Super Bowl attracted, on average, nearly 99 million viewers.
Even Mason Gross Dean George B. Stauffer, known as an expert in the early life and work of J.S. Bach, is impressed: “We’re extraordinarily proud to have our students rubbing elbows — and touching knuckles — with Jay-Z,” he says.
Rutgers Symphony Orchestra
One of the elite orchestras in New Jersey, the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra is an ensemble of 70-75 players enrolled in the undergraduate and graduate music programs at The orchestra performs an ambitious concert series that includes three fall and two spring concerts at the university, in addition to a major opera production in February. For the past several years it has also performed in New York City, and in fall 1999 there was a gala performance at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. In spring 2001 the orchestra performed during a sold-out performance in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center as a part of the Rutgers in New York series. Spring 2005 saw a return visit of the ensemble to the Rutgers in New York series, that time at Carnegie Hall. On March 12, 2010, the symphony orchestra will perform at New York City’s Symphony Space alongside Cuban jazz legend Paquito d’Rivera and the Rutgers Jazz Ensemble.
The orchestra’s concerts have included some of the most challenging works of the classical, Romantic, and 20th-century repertory: symphonies by Berlioz, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, and Mahler, and other orchestral showpieces by Smetana, Elgar, Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky, and Bartok. Each year there are also concerto performances by winners of an orchestra-sponsored competition.