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Jersey City Philharmonic Orchestra makes its debut

Updated: Apr 4, 2021

Soon after Michael Yun was elected to the Jersey City City Council, he suggested Jersey City improve its cultural cachet by forming an orchestra, an idea that sounded outlandish at the time. But Yun's dream became a reality Tuesday night when the Jersey City Philharmonic Orchestra gave its inaugural performance at a City Hall concert, with Korean conductor Gum Nanse at the baton. The orchestra debuted with just 22 musicians playing four light pieces like Mozart's Symphony No. 29 in A major, music Nanse said he selected especially to be played in City Hall's council chambers. Nanse said the orchestra will triple in size for planned concerts later this year at Liberty State Park and the Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre. Nanse said he was approached by Yun two years ago to lead the orchestra and he jumped at the opportunity. "We need an audience," Nanse said. "We must do our best to make the audience happy, not bored." Besides the two big concerts -- dates and times are still being determined -- the orchestra's founders are looking to have chamber groups perform in parks citywide throughout the summer. They also want to work with schools to provide music education. Jersey City "has been growing so much," said marketing director Helen Ji. "But there's no cultural growth. So there's a big demand." Yun, who represents Ward D on the City Council, missed Tuesday night's concert due to a personal matter. He worked with Mayor Steve Fulop's innovation team to get the privately funded orchestra off the ground. "I want the people of Jersey City to be proud to live here, and to be able to enjoy events like this one as often as possible," Yun told The Jersey Journal via text. "I believe events like tonight's concert, and organizations like the JCPO as regular fixtures in our community, can help us make that happen." To become a sponsor, contact Ji at 201-755-5276 or

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