On January 27, 2006, the day that the world celebrated the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth, Arco Ensemble was formally incorporated. Such delightful serendipity marked the beginning of a string orchestra dedicated to bringing classical music performances of the highest quality to audiences in northern New Jersey. Arco presents concerts that appeal to seasoned concert lovers as well as to those who have yet to experience the joy of hearing great music performed live.
Arco Ensemble was founded by violinist Victoria Stewart. Her concert experience includes solo, chamber music, symphonic, and opera performances across the globe. While maintaining her position on the Kean University Concert Artist faculty and her busy freelance schedule, Stewart has eagerly embraced the challenge of managing the operations of Arco.
Arco Ensemble performed its Debut Concert on June 8, 2007 in the Concert Hall at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. The orchestra was joined by guest artist, violin virtuoso Elmar Oliveira, for the Antonio Vivaldi Seasons. Special guest conductor Jorge Mester led Arco in Puccini’s Chrysanthemum and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. The first in Arco’s planned series of concerts celebrating New Jersey’s rich and diverse ethnic heritage was performed on April 20, 2008 at St. Stephen’s RC Magyar Church in Passaic, New Jersey. Special guest conductor Istvan Jaray conducted Great Hungarian Music for Strings, including works by Béla Bartók, Dohnányi, Franz Liszt, and Leó Weiner.
On April 26, 2009 Arco Ensemble, joined by guest conductor Gary Fagin, celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Felix Mendelssohn in a performance of works by F. Mendelssohn, Reinecke, Johannes Brahms (arranged by Fagin) and Heidrich. The concert was performed at St. Stephen’s RC Magyar Church in Passaic, New Jersey. On October 17, 2009 Elmar Oliveira performed the complete Violin Concerti of J.S. Bach with Arco Ensemble as part of the opening season of the Gene and Shelly Enlow Recital Hall at Kean University. The performance was recorded by Artek Recordings, and was released in September 2010.