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Special guest soloists from the Central Conservatory of Music include Wang Jianhua, percussion; Wang Lei, sheng; Yu Hongmei, erhu; Zhang Hongyan, pipa; Zhang Weiwei, suona; and Shaanxi Folk singer Ji Tian.
The program features HongMei (Red Plum) Capriccio for Erhu, by Wu Houyuan; Yun Xiang Hua Xiang Pipa Concerto, by Wang Danhong; Long Teng Hu Yue Percussion Concerto, by Li Minxiong; YanAn YanAn for Tenor, Suona and Orchestra, by Li Shaosheng; Wan Li Xing Sheng Concertino for Sheng and Orchestra, by Hao Weiya; and The Spring Festival Overture by Li Huanzhi. Special Chinese New Year public reception before the concert, starting at 6 p.m.
The program will be repeated on Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 3 p.m. at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater, New York, NY.
Visit barduschinamusic.org/new-year-2020 for more details.
This concert is co-presented by the Central Conservatory of Music, China, with the participation of China Institute in New York.
“At first glance, Czernowin, an Israeli native who teaches at Harvard, is an unlikely composer for such a project. Much of her work has tended toward images of primordial upheaval and elemental change. Her previous operas, Pnima and Infinite Now, conjured scenes of 20th-century catastrophe: the Holocaust in the former, the First World War in the latter. She avoids familiar harmonic signposts and is inclined toward spectacularly vivid eruptions of instrumental and electronic sound. The wonder of Heart Chamber is how she uses her radical sonic palette to evoke the stream of consciousness beneath the surface of ordinary life.”
fishercenter.bard.edu or call the box office at 845-758-7900.
James Bagwell maintains an active international schedule as a conductor of choral, operatic, and orchestral music. He was recently named associate conductor of The Orchestra Now (TŌN), and in 2009 was appointed principal guest conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. From 2009 to 2015, he served as music director of The Collegiate Chorale. Highlights of his tenure include conducting a number of operas-in-concert at Carnegie Hall, including Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon, and Boito’s Mefistofele. He conducted the New York premiere of Philip Glass’s “Toltec” Symphony and Golijov’s Oceana, both at Carnegie Hall. Since 2011, he has collaborated with singer and composer Natalie Merchant, conducting major orchestras across the country, including the San Francisco and Seattle Symphonies.
He has trained choruses for numerous American and international orchestras, including the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, and American Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with conductors including Charles Dutoit, Andris Nelsons, Gustavo Dudamel, Alan Gilbert, Gianandrea Noseda, Yannik Nézet-Séguin, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Louis Langrée, Ivan Fischer, Jesús López-Cobos, and Robert Shaw.
Bagwell prepared The Collegiate Chorale for concerts at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland; in 2012, the Chorale traveled to Israel and the Salzburg Festival for four programs with the Israel Philharmonic. Since 2003, he has been director of choruses for the Bard Music Festival, conducting and preparing choral works during the summer festival at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. He frequently appears as guest conductor for orchestras around the country and abroad, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Tulsa Symphony, and the Interlochen Arts Festival. He is professor of music at Bard College, director of performance studies, and codirector of the Graduate Conducting Program at Bard College Conservatory of Music.
A renowned opera singer and recitalist, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is one of the most highly respected and critically acclaimed artists of her generation. Her repertoire ranges from Handel to Wagner, and German lieder to contemporary and classic American songs. Blythe has performed on many of the world’s great stages, such as Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, Paris National Opera, San Francisco, Chicago Lyric, and Seattle Opera. She was named Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year in 2009, received an Opera News Award in 2007, and won the Richard Tucker Award in 1999. Blythe recently released her first crossover recording on the Innova Recordings label with pianist Craig Terry.Blythe’s performances include the title roles in Carmen, Samson et Dalila, Orfeo ed Euridice, La Grande Duchesse, Tancredi, Mignon, and Giulio Cesare; Frugola, Principessa, and Zita in Il Trittico; Fricka in both Das Rheingold and Die Walküre; Waltraute in Götterdämmerung; Azucena in Il Trovatore; Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera; Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress; Ježibaba in Rusalka; Jocasta in Oedipus Rex; and Ino/Juno in Semele. She also created the role of Gertrude Stein in Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27 at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.Blythe has appeared with many of the world’s finest orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Opera Orchestra of New York, Hallé Orchestra, and Concertgerbouworkest, among others. She has also appeared at the Tanglewood, Cincinnati May, and Ravinia festivals, and at BBC Proms. Conductors with whom she has worked include Harry Bicket, James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Robert Spano, Patrick Summers, and Michael Tilson Thomas.Blythe has been presented in recital in New York by Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in both its Great Performers Series at Alice Tully Hall and American Songbook Series at the Allen Room, Town Hall, 92nd Street Y, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has also been presented by the Vocal Arts Society and at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.; Cleveland Art Song Festival; University Musical Society in Ann Arbor; Philadelphia Chamber Music Society; Shriver Hall in Baltimore; and San Francisco Performances.She has premiered several song cycles written for her, including Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson by the late James Legg; Covered Wagon Woman by Alan Louis Smith, which was commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and recorded with the ensemble (CMS Studio Recordings); and Vignettes: Ellis Island, also by Smith, featured in a television program entitled Vignettes: An Evening with Stephanie Blythe and Warren Jones. She is also artistic director of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar at the Crane School of Music and artistic director of the Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program.
Ira Coleman was born on April 29th, 1956 in Stockholm, Sweden. He was raised in France until 1968 and thereafter lived in Germany for fourteen years. Ira studied bass at Germany’s “Hochschule für Musik, Köln” from 1980 to 1982. Thereafter, he moved to the US to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston and graduated in 1985.
Coleman currently resides in Rhinebeck, New York and has performed with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Jessye Norman, Milt Jackson, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Grover Washington Jr., Barbara Hendricks, Branford Marsalis, Betty Carter, Kathleen Battle, Tony Williams, Baaba Maal, Michel LeGrand, Billy Taylor, Cab Calloway, Billy Cobham, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Ensemble, The Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington and many other artists. Ira Coleman was the musical director for Ernest Ranglin’s Ska Ensemble from 1996-1999 and Dee Dee Bridgewater from 2002-2009. Ira Coleman has branched out to play world music and has arranged, recorded and produced for musicians from Senegal and Mali.
Coleman has performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Tokyo’s Budokkan Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertsgebouw, Paris Olympia and Salle Pleyel, Montreux Stravinsky Hall, Lucerne KKL, Cologne Philharmonie, the Hollywood Bowl, Beiteddine (Lebanon), Berkeley’s Greek Theatre as well as at the JVC, Nice, Berlin, Paris, Playboy, Antibes, North Sea, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Pori, Montreal Jazz and Womad Festival to name a few.
John Esposito is an American pianist/composer/drummer/producer who works on a wide array of creative music projects. His technical skills and the range of his artistic palette extend across the stylistic boundaries of the Stride Piano, Swing, Bebop, Modal and Free Music movements. He has performed and recorded with artists including Nick Brignola, Dave Douglas, Dave Holland, Carter Jefferson, Franklin Kiermyer, Joe Lovano, J.R. Monterose, David “Fathead” Newman, Eric Person, Arthur Rhames, Sam Rivers, Roswell Rudd, Pharaoh Sanders and John Stubblefield.
John is the owner/executive producer of Sunjump Records. He has created music for theater, dance, film, TV commercials, and multimedia performance art. He is a music faculty member and artist-in-residence at Bard College and resides in New York State’s Hudson Valley.
Maximillian Jansen, a tenor originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, is a student in the Graduate Vocal Arts Program studying in the studio of Lorraine Nubar. Known for his sweet timbre and sensitivity to text, he has performed the roles of Ferrando in Così fan tutte, the titular role in Albert Herring, and Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte. Jansen has appeared as a soloist with Concerts in the Village, Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble, Civic Orchestra of Victoria, and Middletown Symphony. He has been a member of professional opera choruses such as Pacific Opera Victoria, Queen City Opera, and Cincinnati Opera. Jansen was a Schubert Fellow at SongFest at the Colburn School in 2014, where he worked with composers Libby Larsen, Jake Heggie, and John Musto in master classes on their own work. Jansen has collaborated with coaches including Graham Johnson, Sanford Sylvan, Vicki Kirsch, and Lisa Hasson. He holds a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance from Miami University (2015).
Pauline Tan is a Filipino mezzo-soprano whose deep love for poetry and song has taken her across the globe to pursue a career in music. She began her studies at the New England Conservatory in Boston, where she completed her undergraduate degree in vocal performance. Some notable performances at the conservatory include mezzo-soprano soloist for Duruflé’s Requiem, alto soloist for Handel’s Messiah, and alto soloist for Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. She is a frequent soloist with the NEC Chamber Singers, with whom she was an alto section member. Her operatic debut was as Amastre in Serse, and in 2019 she sang the role of Ottavia in NEC’s production of L’incoronazione di Poppea. She has also performed the title role of Carmen and Mistress Quickly in Falstaff. She is pursuing a master’s degree in vocal arts at the Bard College Conservatory under the artistic direction of Stephanie Blythe, Kayo Iwama, and Erika Switzer. She has studied voice with Christopher Arceo and Karen Holvik, and is currently studying under Edith Bers.
Tate Tiemann is a baritone from Conowingo, Maryland. A recent graduate of Towson University, Tiemann is excited to be a part of the Bard Graduate Vocal Arts Program, pursuing his master’s degree in music. His most recent roles include Bob from The Old Maid and the Thief, Dr. Gregg from Gallantry, and Il conte d’Almaviva from Le nozze di Figaro. When he’s not singing, he enjoys cooking, watching medical dramas, and playing with his cat, Rómulo.
Margaret Tigue was recently a Vocal Arts Fellow at Tanglewood Music Center (TMC). In 2019, she was the soprano soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with The Orchestra Now, and was praised in OperaWire for “a power and a seeming effortlessness that was quite amazing.” Her performance highlights include the role of Helena in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mozart’s Exsultate, Jubilate with the Ann Arbor Camerata Orchestra, and the New York premiere of Tania León’s Memory at National Sawdust, and Oliver Knussen’s Whitman Settings with the TMC Orchestra. Tigue studies at the Bard Conservatory’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program, where she works with Stephanie Blythe, Kayo Iwama, and Lorraine Nubar. Tigue was awarded an encouragement award in the Michigan district of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2017, and received first prize in the University of Michigan Friends of Opera Undergraduate Competition in 2015.
Filipino American soprano Diana Schwam is receiving her master’s degree at the Bard Conservatory of Music, under the tutelage of Lorraine Nubar. As an avid lover of opera, she has portrayed La Contessa in Le nozze di Figaro, the title role in Massenet’s Cendrillon, and Madame Lidoine in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites with Oberlin Opera Theater. Schwam has also performed as Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Zdenka (Arabella), and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni). Recent highlights include performing at Oberlin College and Conservatory’s 2019 Commencement Recital, the soprano solo in Brahms’s Requiem with Oberlin’s 50th reunion class, and the premiere of a song cycle by composer Liam Kaplan in April 2019. Past highlights include the Danenberg Honors Recitals at the Oberlin Conservatory and in New York City, and a master class with the internationally renowned Marilyn Horne during her residency at the Oberlin Conservatory. A firm believer in the role of the singer-actor, Schwam has roots in her love of musical theater, which has taught her the importance of storytelling in her music making.
Recognized as one of the finest conservatories in the United States, The Bard College Conservatory of Music, founded in 2005, is guided by the principle that young musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their greatest potential. All undergraduates complete two degrees over a five-year period: a bachelor of music and a bachelor of arts in a field other than music. The Conservatory Orchestra has performed twice at Lincoln Center, and has completed three international concert tours: in June 2012 to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan; in June 2014 to Russia and six cities in Central and Eastern Europe; and in June 2016, to three cities in Cuba. For additional information about The Bard College Conservatory of Music please go to the website at bard.edu/conservatory.
Preconcert Talk: Florence Price and the Emergence of African American Composers in the 21st Century
The Bard College Conservatory Orchestra performs a concert at the Fisher Center at Bard’s Sosnoff Theater on Saturday, December 7 at 8 p.m. Conducted by James Bagwell, director of performance studies and the Graduate Conducting Program at Bard Conservatory of Music, the Orchestra performs Florence Price Symphony No. 1 in E minor; Jackson Spargur ’20 Polaris premiere; and Aaron Copland Billy the Kid. There will be a preconcert talk, “Florence Price and the Emergence of African American Composers in the 21st Century,” at 7 p.m. All ticket sales benefit the Conservatory Scholarship Fund. Tickets are $15-20 suggested donation. To reserve tickets, go to fishercenter.bard.edu or call the box office at 845-758-7900.
The Symphony in E minor is the first symphony written by the American composer Florence Price. The work was completed in 1932 and was first performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The piece was Price’s first full-scale orchestral composition and was the first symphony by a black woman to be performed by a major American orchestra. The opening movement has melodies and rhythms typically found in Afro-American folk music, while the following slow movement features a moving hymn tune of Price's design. Both concluding movements are fast and return to the juba dance concept. They contain hints of fiddles and banjos, antic slide whistle effects, and a recurring three-against-two melody which end this loveable work on a whimsical note.
The preconcert talk, “Florence Price and the Emergence of African American Composers in the 21st Century,” is with James Bagwell; Whitney Slaten, Assistant Professor of Music; Kyle Gann, Taylor Hawver and Frances Bortle Hawver Professor of Music; and and Myra Young Armstead, Vice President for Academic Inclusive Excellence and Lyford Paterson Edwards and Helen Gray Edwards Professor of Historical Studies.
Upcoming Conservatory Programs:Winter Songfest
James Bagwell, Conductor
Sunday, December 15 at 3 p.m. December 7, 2019
To reserve tickets, go to fishercenter.bard.edu or call the box office at 845-758-7900.
With the Bard Conservatory Orchestra, members of the Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program, Bard College Symphonic Chorus, Bard College Chamber Singers, and Bard Preparatory Chorus.
Guest conductor James Bagwell maintains an active international schedule as a conductor of choral, operatic, and orchestral music. He was recently named associate conductor of The Orchestra Now (TŌN) and in 2009 was appointed principal guest conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. From 2009 to 2015 he served as music director of The Collegiate Chorale. Highlights of his tenure include conducting a number of operas-in-concert at Carnegie Hall, including Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, Rossini’s Möise et Pharaon, and Boito’s Mefistofele. He conducted the New York premiere of Philip Glass’s “Toltec” Symphony and Golijov’s Oceana, both at Carnegie Hall. Since 2011, he has collaborated with singer and composer Natalie Merchant, conducting major orchestras across the country, including the San Francisco and Seattle Symphonies.
The Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program presents Stephanie Blythe in “Sing, Bard!” a cabaret-style musical journey of song, from opera to popular standards, on Saturday, November 9, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25–$150; the $150 premium level ticket includes an intimate reception and more songs with the artists. To reserve tickets go to fishercenter.bard.edu or call the box office at 845-758-7900.
Mezzo-soprano Blythe, director of the Bard College Conservatory of Music Graduate Vocal Arts Program (VAP) and winner of The Dallas Opera’s 2019 Maria Callas Award, performs this lively evening of song accompanied by Craig Terry, pianist and musical arranger, and soloists from the Vocal Arts Program.
“It is a thrill to share songs that mean so much to so many with the members of the VAP and our audience here at Bard, my new musical and creative home,” says Blythe. “Every day that I spend at this wonderful Conservatory is a blessing—this concert is a way to thank Bard and its audience for their spirit of generosity.”
The program includes popular songs such as “Tale of the Oyster” (1929) Cole Porter; “The Man That Got Away” (1953) Harold Arlen/Ira Gershwin; “With A Song In My Heart” (1929) Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart; “If You Don’t Want My Peaches” (1914) Irving Berlin; “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today” (1968) Randy Newman; and more.
To reserve tickets go to fishercenter.bard.edu or call the box office at 845-758-7900.
The Bard College Conservatory Orchestra performs a concert at the Fisher Center at Bard’s Sosnoff Theater on Saturday, October 26 at 8 p.m. Conducted by Leon Botstein, music director, the Conservatory Orchestra performs Charles Ives “The Fourth of July” from Holiday Symphony; Sibelius Symphony 7 in C major, Op. 105; Honegger Symphony 3 “Liturgique”; and Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture (1880). All ticket sales benefit the Conservatory Scholarship Fund. Tickets are $15-20 suggested donation. To reserve tickets, go to fishercenter.bard.edu or call the box office at 845-758-7900.
Upcoming Conservatory Programs:
The Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program Presents:
Stephanie Blythe in “Sing, Bard!”
A cabaret style musical journey of song, from opera to popular standards
Saturday, November 9 at 8 p.m.
James Bagwell, Guest Conductor
Saturday, December 7 at 8 p.m.
Jackson Spargur Polaris world premiere
Florence Price Symphony No.1 in E minor
Aaron Copland Billy the Kid, ballet
James Bagwell, Conductor
Sunday, December 15 at 3 p.m.
With the Bard Conservatory Orchestra, members of the Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program, Bard College Symphonic Chorus, Bard College Chamber Singers, and Bard Preparatory Chorus.
Recognized as one of the finest conservatories in the United States, The Bard College Conservatory of Music, founded in 2005, is guided by the principle that young musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their greatest potential. All undergraduates complete two degrees over a five-year period: a bachelor of music and a bachelor of arts in a field other than music. The Conservatory Orchestra has performed twice at Lincoln Center, and has completed three international concert tours: in June 2012 to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan; in June 2014 to Russia and six cities in Central and Eastern Europe; and in June 2016, to three cities in Cuba.
video preview here. Conservatory faculty members Daniel Phillips, violin; Peter Wiley, cello; Blair McMillen, piano; and Benjamin Hochman, piano, will perform. This special program takes place on September 28 at 8 p.m., at the Fisher Center Center for the Performing Arts’ Sosnoff Theater. Tickets sales benefit the Conservatory Scholarship Fund. Tickets are $25–$150; the $150 ticket level includes a reception and meet and greet with the artists. To reserve tickets, go to fishercenter.bard.edu or call the box office at 845-758-7900.
Yezu is one of over 2,100 U.S. citizens who will conduct research, teach English, and provide expertise abroad for the 2019–20 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.
Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given more than 390,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all disciplines while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 59 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 84 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.
“Odyssey: The Chamber Music Society” in Greece will air on PBS on September 6, the first program of Live from Lincoln Center made outside the United States. The two-hour episode follows musicians of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as they journey across Greece, performing works embodying the essence of classical music in iconic settings. The production features a performance of Professor Tsontakis’s music as well as interviews with the composer.
Anna Lindemann’s New Cross-Disciplinary Performance Delves Into the Social Lives of Ants and Humans (September 6 - 8)
Bard Conservatory Vocal Arts Program alumni/ae Michael Hoffman '15 and Lucy Fitz Gibbon '15, with collaborative piano fellow Ryan MacEvoy McCullough, are premiering The Colony at the Studio Theatre, University of Connecticut Storrs campus. Hoffman directs, soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon and pianist Ryan MacEvoy McCullough perform in this "unique tour-de-force of science-inspired art ... the birth of a whole new genre."“A unique tour-de-force of science-inspired art. Anna Lindemann is a brilliant animator, composer, and performer… [her] work marks the birth of a whole new genre.” — David Rothenberg (author, philosopher, musician)
STORRS, CT: Animator, composer, and performer Anna Lindemann premieres her newest work, The Colony, an art-science performance about sisterhood and the evolution of communication in two of the most social creatures on earth: humans and ants. Three performances on September 6 - 8 take place at the Studio Theatre, located on the University of Connecticut Storrs campus. Tickets are free, with reservations highly recommended by visiting www.thecolony.show.
In this performance, Lindemann herself portrays the loving, bookish, and stubborn Mona as she struggles to reconnect with her estranged relatives, performed by soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon and pianist Ryan MacEvoy McCullough. Mona turns to the ant colony for inspiration and direction. With more than 500,000 ant sisters migrating, raiding, and even reproducing as one superorganism, an army ant colony appears to Mona as the paragon of successful social existence. Co-written by Lindemann and Emma Komlos-Hrobsky and directed by Michael Hofmann, The Colony ventures into speculative fiction and includes projected animations and imagery alongside live spoken and musical performance, all informed by scientific research on ant colonies.
Funny, poignant, enlightening, and just the right amount of strange, The Colony aims to kindle a sense of awe and understanding of our diverse biological world, while using the ant colony as a lens for understanding the ever-present challenge of human connection. As part of a new genre called Evo Devo Art, The Colony weaves together evolutionary and developmental biology (Evo Devo) with multidisciplinary art. Audiences can expect to be entranced by visualizations of ant pheromone trails, a musical aria from the perspective of an ant queen, and a dance sequence set in a grocery store inspired by army ant swarm raids. In all, The Colony juxtaposes forms of biological communication – which have developed over millions of years – with modern technological media as a means of grappling with the paradox of acute loneliness in a world more connected than ever.
The Colony’s script is co-written by Lindemann and Emma-Komlos Hrobsky; Lindemann also composed the music and directed animations by Sarah Shattuck, Jasmine Rajavadee, Allie Marsh, and herself. Michael Hofmann directs, with costumes by Brittny Mahan, lights by Sam Biondolillo, sound by Katie Salerno, and additional film direction by Ryan Glista.
The Colony draws visual materials and research in part from the world-class Carl W. and Marian E. Rettenmeyer Army Ant Guest Collection housed at the University of Connecticut and is one of a number of “AntU” initiatives inspired by the collection.
This year’s festival will coincide with New York State’s newly announced Senate Resolution No. J2103 by Senator James Sanders Jr. of Queens, “recognizing October 1, 2019, as China Day and the first week of October 2019, as Chinese American Heritage Week, to strengthen the friendship and bilateral relationship between the State of New York and Chinese Americans.”
The musical highlight of the festival takes place at 7:30 p.m. on October 1, “China Day,” at Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall. “From the Middle Kingdom to the Wild West” is an orchestral concert featuring the world premiere of Men of Iron and the Golden Spike 铁汉金钉, a symphonic oratorio by celebrated composer Zhou Long honoring the over 20,000 Chinese laborers who contributed to the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in the American West 150 years ago. This piece was commissioned by the US-China Music Institute at Bard College in partnership with the Chinese Railroad Workers of North America Project and the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University. Over three years in the making, the idea was conceived by US-China Music Institute director Jindong Cai and Stanford history professor Gordon Chang, who enlisted Zhou Long to write the music and writer Su Wei to provide the libretto. Zhou Long is well known for his seamless blending of Chinese and Western elements to create singularly expressive compositions, including the 2010 opera “Madame White Snake” which earned him a Pulitzer Prize. His new concerto for orchestra, Classic of Mountain and Seas 山海经, will also receive its U.S. premiere on October 1. Zhou describes Classic as a musical map inspired by “ancient supernatural aesthetics.” Both pieces will be performed by The Orchestra Now with festival artistic director Jindong Cai conducting. The orchestra will follow the path of the great rail line that connected East to West by performing the concert a second time at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall on October 6 at 2:30 p.m.
Another major festival concert will take place on Monday, September 30 at 7:00 p.m. in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. Titled “Wellington Koo the Diplomat – A Life in Song,” this multimedia event features performances by world-renowned Chinese artists including Luoyong Wang as narrator, soprano Ying Huang and bass-baritone Shenyang, and a world-premiere new chamber piece by composer Peng-Peng Gong. With video projections, dramatic narration, and music, this concert will explore Koo’s role in opening China to the world and developing its relationship with the United States. A gala dinner and auction to benefit the US-China Music Institute will follow the concert in the Weill Music Room at Carnegie Hall.
With both of these concerts the festival puts a spotlight on the important contributions of Chinese in the United States, from the largely unknown to the world-famous. The Chinese railroad workers played a pivotal role in the Westward expansion of the U.S. during the 19th century, but their labors were not widely reported and have rarely been acknowledged. Zhou Long’s oratorio will give new voice to their epic story. Diplomat Wellington Koo participated in some of the most important events of the 20th Century, famously refusing to sign the 1919 Treaty of Versailles out of concern for China’s position in the post-war reorganization of world power, then serving as Ambassador to the U.S. and as a judge in the International Court of Justice, and playing a major role in the creation of the United Nations.
Jindong Cai, director of the US-China Music Institute and artistic director of the China Now Music Festival, sees the festival as a cultural counterpoint to the current political landscape. "Politics often divides people, but in art and music, you always find connections. With the China Now Music Festival as our looking glass, we hope to continue bringing people and traditions from China and America together through music."
Other festival events continue to explore these and other topics in US-China relations. On September 25 at 6:30 p.m., the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in Manhattan will host an evening with Zhou Long, Su Wei, and Jindong Cai to discover the conception, creation, and performance of Men of Iron and the Golden Spike. On September 28 at noon at the Jim Ottoway Jr. Film Center at Bard College, the US-China Music Institute presents a film preview of the forthcoming documentary “Beethoven in Beijing,” discussing the future of classical music through an exploration of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s close ties to China. An excerpt will be shown followed by conversation with the filmmakers and festival director Jindong Cai. On September 29 at 7:00 p.m., pianist Susan Chan comes to the Bard College Conservatory of Music to perform a selection of solo works inspired by Chinese musical traditions, including pieces by Tan Dun, Zhou Long, Chen Yi, and Alexander Tcherepnin.
A related special event will take place on September 28 at 8:00 p.m. at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. The Bard College Conservatory of Music is presenting a film concert with live orchestra performance of Tan Dun’s Martial Arts Trilogy, with Tan Dun conducting the Bard Conservatory Orchestra in his first appearance as the newly appointed dean of the Conservatory of Music. Tickets from this event benefit the Conservatory Scholarship Fund.
Events and Tickets
Read More in Broadway World
Open Dress Rehearsal at the Fisher Center on Sept. 29
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