Classical music takes many forms and, like all music, is influenced by the time in which it was written, the audience who was meant to hear it, the venue in which it was to be performed, and the emotions and experiences of the composer.
Chamber music, as an example, was written to be performed in small intimate spaces, for smaller ensembles. As a body of work, chamber music has an often surprising range of rich, flexible compositions.
The newly opened Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club in Portsmouth, with its superb acoustics and richly evocative interior, inspired us to expand and evolve our chamber music series so that we could explore the intersection of classical music and jazz.
And the time is upon us! Up Close and Personal with the PSO @ Jimmy's Chamber Music Series kicks off Sunday, November 21 (more details below). In each concert, you can expect a blend of the traditional with some edgy fringe masterworks that I know will surprise, delight and stretch your ears.
Jimmy's intimate setting, where many of the traditional barriers between performer and listener are removed, combined with great music and great food, is the recipe for a memorable experience.
I hope to see you there,
Meet Your Orchestra
Johnny Mok, Cello
Johnny Mok began his cello studies at the age of five at the Hong Kong Performing Arts Academy and continued after immigrating to New Mexico. He was particularly involved with the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program and participated in multiple competitions where he was awarded first prize.
Johnny continued his pursuit in Music Performance, with full scholarship, at the University of Alabama, during which time he was active in the Alabama music community, entering competitions throughout the state. He earned first prize in the Birmingham Music Club, Alabama Federation of Music Clubs, and the Camilla Huxford Symphony Concerto Competition.
In 2013, Johnny was invited to be the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra Mentor, where he mentored young musicians in orchestral techniques and etiquette. The following summer, he was invited as an Orchestra Fellow at the Texas Music Festival in Houston.
Johnny holds a Master’s Degree and the Professional Studies Certificate in Cello Performance from The Boston Conservatory.
Outside of competitions, Johnny also enjoys the orchestral and chamber aspect of music. In 2020, he founded the Aroma Duo with his duo piano partner, Tianhong Yang. Since then, Aroma Duo has performed in several chamber music series in the New England area. In addition, Johnny has performed with many symphonies throughout the US including Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, Cape Symphony, Tupelo Symphony, Boston Chamber Symphony, and National Repertory Orchestra.
In addition to being the principal cellist of the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, he is principal cellist of the New Hampshire Philharmonic, and the Cape Ann Symphony.
Up Close and Personal with the PSO @ Jimmy's Opening Night
"String Quartet Tasting Menu" November 21, 5:30pm
Jimmy's Jazz & Blues Club, Portsmouth
PSO musicians Zoia Bologovsky and Nicole Wendl on violin, Theresa Cleary on viola, and Johnny Mok on cello will lead off this exciting new series with a string quartet tasting menu designed to showcase the near endless variety of extraordinary musical flavors, colors and sounds of the string quartet repertoire. Dvorak, Schubert, Haydn, Ravel, Still and myriad other composers wrote some of their most profound works of art for the string quartet. Tonight, you’ll get a hearty sampling.
Tickets are $75 for adults and includes the concert, appetizers, dinner, and dessert from an a la carte menu that will change seasonally. Buy your ticket today!
You can view the PSO's and Jimmy's COVID-19 policies here.
Join us for the full seriesof unique and wonderful performances. All performances take place on Sundays at 5:30pm. Full program details can be found on the PSO’s website :
Tickets Now on Sale! Holiday Pops! Saturday, December 18, 7:30pm
Sunday, December 19, 3:00pm
Portsmouth High School Buy Tickets
An annual family favorite, this year’s PSO Holiday Pops! performances feature special guest star Randy Armstrong & WorldBeat Marimba.
The program includes perennial favorites such as Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” and “A Christmas Overture,” “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch,” “The Polar Express: Concert Overture,” “The Chanukah Overture” and others as well as special arrangements of South African and Zimbabwean songs by Randy Armstrong that celebrate humanity.
Past PSO Artist-in-Residence Returns to the PSO Stage
We’re excited to have another chance to collaborate with Randy Armstrong, who was the PSO’s Artist-in-residence during our 2017-2018 season. Randy Armstrong & WorldBeat Marimba will bring a broader musical repertoire to this year's Holiday Pops! concerts. The program offers the same holiday tradition our audiences have come to love, but with additional songs that celebrate holidays around the world.
Randy Armstrong & WorldBeat Marimba perform South African, Zimbabwean and popular songs on handmade South African Marimbas, Trinidad/Tobago Steel Pans, World Percussion and Vocals. Their prior collaborative concerts have included performances with the choruses Voices From The Heart, Ben Baldwin and the Stairwells, Songweavers, and the WorldBeat Marimba Singers.