jacques-lacombe-parcourt-monde-avecJacques Lacombe (above) leads the New Jersey Symphony in a Saturday night salute to George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein. Renaissance man David Dubal (below) delivers a special Sunday afternoon concert and presentation at Monmouth Conservatory.

dubalOther burgs may stake their rep as “music towns” through their unassailable credentials in rock, and rhythm ‘n blues. But in addition to its deep roots in jazz, Red Bank finds few competitors as a go-to destination for vocal and instrumental classical sounds.

But leave the gowns and tuxes in storage, and bring your passion and curiosity — because no matter your age or level of concert-going experience, two weekend events are making it very easy for new audiences to explore and enjoy all that our borough’s cultural institutions have to offer.

This Saturday afternoon, October 24 marks the gloriously un-quiet return of the “No Shush!” series of kid-friendly concerts to the Count Basie Theatre; a collaboration with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra described as “a classical music experience for children aged 3–12 that encourages all the chatter, questions, dancing and imagination your child can muster!” A followup to a successful February event that sold out in advance (and attracted some 800 all-ages music lovers to an Instrument Petting Zoo and an interactive meet-and-greet with the musicians), the matinee starts with a 3 pm session of arts activities and a chance to meet and ask questions of various players from the Orchestra.

At 4 pm, the members of a string quartet construct a cello, the woodwind quintet demonstrates the colorful sounds of their instruments, and the brass quintet changes how we hear as they play from different positions on the stage, as the NJSO musicians introduce their audience to the works of Bach, Bernstein, Dukas and others. It’s all performed in a shush-free environment where movement, chatter and even laughter is encouraged — and tickets to the afternoon event ($12 Adults, $7 Kids, $30 Family 4-Pack) are available right here.

Keeping it there at the Basie, the New Jersey Symphony presents a Saturday night concert that spotlights familiar favorite selections from a pair of throughly accessible (and American) 20th century composers — Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. From the passionate dances of West Side Story to the jazz-infused opera Porgy and Bess, the two New York giants bridged the worlds of popular music and symphonic society as few before or since — and the program entitled Thibaudet Plays Gershwin finds conductor Jacques Lacombe leading the NJSO through selections from those well-known works, while special guest piano soloist Jean-Yves Thibaudet explores Gershwin’s “Concerto in F” and Bernstein’s “Candide Overture.” Tickets for the 8 pm event start at $20, and can be reserved right here.

Intellectually curious (but relatively inexperienced) listeners in search of a reliable point of entry to the classical music world can probably do no better than to follow the work of David Dubal, the multi-tasking master who visits the White Street campus of the Monmouth Conservatory Of Music for a special “lecture concert” on Sunday, October 25. A faculty member at the Juilliard School and an internationally touring concert pianist and lecturer, Dubal has brought that same work ethic and level of passion to parallel careers as an author (The Essential Canon of Classical Music), interviewer (Conversations with Menuhin), radio broadcaster, critic, competition jurist — and a celebrated visual artist whose paintings have been collected and exhibited worldwide. He’ll be performing short selections, telling stories of famous composers and musicians, and sharing his views on technique, composition and more during the 4 pm event at MCM, for which reservations (adults $20; seniors $10; ages 18 and under free) can be made by calling (732)741-8880 or emailing