The Baroque Orchestra's mission is:
Presenting a wide variety of exciting classical music at affordable prices to the residents of New Jersey.
Opening doors to future audiences and young musicians by sponsoring a young musicians competition and free family concerts.
The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey (= BONJ), founded by Conductor/Music Director Robert W. Butts in 1996, originally specialized in the music of the 17th and 18th centuries: the Baroque and Classical eras. The Orchestra now performs a wide variety of symphonic, chamber and operatic classical music from all periods. BONJ is proud to premiere new music by contemporary composers.
Initially performing at the historic Darress Theatre in Boonton, the Orchestra became the ensemble in residence at Grace Episcopal Church in Madison in 2002. In 2008, the BONJ moved to a beautiful new auditorium for its larger concerts, Dolan Hall in the Annunciation Center at the College of Saint Elizabeth, in Convent Station.
To encourage the development and recognition of classical music students, the BONJ sponsors The Pearl and Julius Young Music Competition. Winners of the competition, and other young musicians, are given the opportunity to play with the Baroque Orchestra.
In August of 2006, BONJ offered its first Summer Festival of Baroque Music at Grace Church in Madison. The Festival, which has become an annual event, offers a great variety of musical and related performances in the space of a week. Concerts are performed at both Grace Church and Dolan Hall.
The BONJ has been finalists and award-winners of The American Prize for orchestral excellence.
The BONJ has featured guest artists who have achieved international acclaim including pianist Julian Gargiullo, cellist Amit Peled, pianist Paul Zeigler, Pianists Beatrice and Christina Long, Pianist Ron Levy, violinist Franco Gennarelli, pianist Sohyun Ahn, bassoonist Harry Searing and clarinetist David Singer.
The BONJ has collaborated with Eastern Opera Company of New Jersey, Opera at Florham, New Jersey Concert Opera, Sussex County Oratorio Society, Masterwork Chorus, Harmonium Choral Society, United States National Parks, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Madison Rotary, Madison Arts and Cultural Alliance, Morris Arts, Morris Tourism Bureau, and other arts and cultural organizations in New Jersey. The BONJ has performed at The Boston Early Music Festival, Centenary College, and The New Jersey Institute of Technology.