Bard Conservatory’s US-China Music Institute Presents Sixth Annual China Now Music Festival, October 2−8, 2023
This Year’s Theme, The Bridge of Music, Focuses on Connecting People Through MusicANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY—The US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music announces the sixth season of the China Now Music Festival, from October 2 to 8. The festival’s major concerts will take place at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College and at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.
The China Now Music Festival is dedicated to promoting an understanding and appreciation of music from contemporary China through an annual series of concerts and academic activities. In the previous five seasons, China Now has attracted more than 10,000 live audience members, and nearly 100,000 viewers have participated in online programs. The sixth annual festival will focus on the theme The Bridge of Music, with an unprecedented series of uniquely curated events that will trace how generations of musicians and music organizations from the US and China have worked together and inspired each other through music exchange.
“Music is both the common wealth of human civilization and the unique creation of individual cultures and peoples,” said Jindong Cai, the artistic director of the China Now Music Festival. “It is a bringer of hope and joy, and a bridge to understanding. I hope that this year's China Now Music Festival will bring you this hope, joy, and understanding.”
The first concert program, “Bard East/West Ensemble and Special Guest Wu Man,” presents new arrangements of music by Tan Dun and Zhou Long, as well as several new works by outstanding young composers from China, including Tian Tian and Yao Chen, faculty members at the Central Conservatory of Music. It will be held on October 2 at the Bard Conservatory in Annandale-on-Hudson, and on October 4 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. The ensemble combines Chinese and Western instruments together as a new model of cross-cultural performance, consisting of a Western string quintet and seven Chinese instruments including dizi, erhu, pipa, ruan, suona, and guzheng, as well as Chinese and Western percussion. The program features renowned pipa virtuoso Wu Man performing “King Chu Doffs His Armour” by the Pulitzer Prize winner composer Zhou Long and based on the famous love story portrayed in the 1993 film Farewell My Concubine. It also includes Tan Dun’s Northwest Suite, a collection from his dance score “The Yellow Earth,” which blends traditional Chinese elements with contemporary concepts.
The second program, “The Orchestra Now (TŌN) Celebrates the Music of Chen Yi and Zhou Long,” on October 6 at Bard’s Fisher Center and October 8 at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center, will pay tribute to the extraordinary Chinese-American composers, along with works by their mentor and teacher, Chou Wen-Chung, and two of their acclaimed students, Zhou Juan and Li Shaosheng. Chen Yi and Zhou Long, two remarkable composers now in their 70s, had studied at Columbia University in the 1980s under composer Chou Wen-Chung, whose compositions reflected his deep connection to both Eastern and Western traditions. Chen Yi and Zhou Long were greatly influenced by their mentor’s fascination for exploring the intersection of different musical cultures, and over the decades of their storied careers in America, both have blended their cultural heritage with contemporary compositional techniques, resulting in a unique and captivating musical language. Chen Yi’s Symphony No. 3, My Musical Journey to America, was commissioned by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra for its centennial season and premiered by the SSO at Benaroya Hall on March 18, 2004, conducted by Gerard Schwarz. Zhou Long composed Beijing Rhyme in 2012 and it was commissioned by the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, first performed and recorded in September 2012 in Beijing, conducted by Tan Lihua.
The third program, “US-China Music Forum – Confronting Challenges and Looking to the Future,” on October 7 at Asia Society in New York City, will present an afternoon of engaging discussion and live music with a distinguished panel of musicians and leaders in the world of classical music performance and education, providing diverse perspectives on the future of US-China relations in music. The panel speakers will include Leon Botstein, president of Bard College and artistic director of The Orchestra Now (TŌN); composer Chen Yi, Lorena Searcy Cravens/ Millsap/ Missouri Distinguished Professor of Composition at University of Missouri, Kansas City; Gary Ginstling, president and CEO of the New York Philharmonic; and Yu Hongmei, chairwoman of the University Council of the Central Conservatory of Music, China. The panel will be moderated by Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society, and Jindong Cai, director of the US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music. The forum will also feature live music performances by pipa virtuoso Liu Xiaojing from the Central Conservatory of Music, China, and members of the Bard East/West Ensemble.
EVENT DETAILS AND TICKETING
Program I: Bard East/West Ensemble and Special Guest Wu Man
Monday, October 2 at 8 pm
László Z. Bitó ‘60 Conservatory Building, Bard College
Free and open to the public.
Wednesday, October 4 at 7 pm
(Pre-concert talk at 6:15 pm)
Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall
The Shops at Columbus Circle, New York, NY
For tickets, visit: https://ticketing.jazz.org/15697/15698
Program II: The Orchestra Now (TŌN) Celebrates the Music of Chen Yi and Zhou Long
Friday, October 6 at 7 pm
(Q&A with the composers at 6 pm)
Sosnoff Theater, Fisher Center at Bard College
For tickets, visit: https://tickets.fishercenter.bard.edu/3084/3085
Sunday, October 8 at 3:00 pm
(Q&A with the composers at 2:15 pm)
Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall
The Shops at Columbus Circle, New York, NY
For tickets, visit: https://ticketing.jazz.org/15697/15700
Program III: US-China Music Forum – Confronting Challenges and Looking to the Future
Saturday, October 7 from 3 pm to 5 pm
Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium
Asia Society of New York
725 Park Avenue, New York, NY
For tickets, visit: https://asiasociety.org/center-us-china-relations/events/us-china-music-forum
For more information about the China Now Music Festival and for full programming details, please visit: barduschinamusic.org/the-bridge-of-music
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Jindong Cai, artistic director
Jindong Cai is director of the US-China Music Institute, professor of music and arts at Bard College, and associate conductor of The Orchestra Now (TŌN). Previously, he was a professor of performance at Stanford University. Over his 30-year career in the United States, Cai has established himself as an active and dynamic conductor, scholar of Western classical music in China, and leading advocate of music from across Asia.
Born in Beijing, Cai received his early musical training in China, where he learned to play violin and piano. He came to the United States for his graduate studies at the New England Conservatory and the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. He is a three-time recipient of the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming for Contemporary Music. Cai started his conducting career with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and has worked with orchestras throughout North America and Asia. He has conducted most of the top orchestras in China.
At Bard, Cai founded the annual China Now Music Festival, which presents new works by some of the most important Chinese composers of our time. Concerts are performed by The Orchestra Now at Bard’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Stanford University. In 2019, the festival premiered Men of Iron and the Golden Spike by Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Zhou Long—a symphonic oratorio in commemoration of the Chinese railroad workers of North America on the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.
With his wife, Sheila Melvin, Cai has coauthored many articles on the performing arts in China, as well as two books, Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese and Beethoven in China: How the Great Composer Became an Icon in the People’s Republic.
Chen Bing, conductor
A professor in the Conducting Department at the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM), Chen Bing is one of China’s most promising conductors. She has conducted concerts in more than a dozen countries in Asia, North America, South America, and Africa. Her repertoire covers a wide range of musical forms, including symphony, opera, choral works, Chinese music, and chamber music. She has conducted at a number of events for world leaders, heads of state, and ambassadors, and produced numerous albums, including Tug at China’s Heartstrings, which is in the permanent collection at the Library of Congress. She frequently conducts new concerts featuring a wide variety of both Chinese and Western pieces.
Wu Man, pipa
Prominent instrumentalist of traditional Chinese music, composer, and educator Wu Man has premiered hundreds of works for the pipa, and performed with major orchestras worldwide. She is a frequent collaborator with ensembles such as the Kronos and Shanghai Quartets and The Knights, and is a founding member of the Silkroad Ensemble. Born in Hangzhou, Wu Man studied at the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) in Beijing, where she became the first recipient of a master’s degree in pipa. Wu received the 2023 National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts, and was honored with the Asia Society’s Asia Arts Game Changers Award for her contributions to contemporary art. She is visiting professor at CCOM and a Distinguished Professor at the Zhejiang and the Xi’an Conservatories.
Liu Xiaojing, pipa
A pipa teacher in the Folk Music Department of the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM), Liu Xiaojing also is an instructor for the CCOM Plucked String Orchestra and a primary member of Zhang Hongyan’s Plucked String Band. She earned both her undergraduate and her master’s degrees at the Central Conservatory, studying with famed pipa player Zhang Hongyan and earning several scholarships. She has held solo concerts and participated in major state performances and cultural events, and has participated in exchange visits with more than 20 countries and regions.
Bryan Zhe Wang CMC ’24, guqin
Bryan Zhe Wang is among the first candidates in Bard Conservatory’s Master of Arts in Chinese Music and Culture, where he studies with guqin virtuoso Zhao Jiazhen of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Wang ranked first in both the traditional and nontraditional categories at the 2021 Singapore International Guqin Tournament. In 2022, he won the Bard Conservatory Concerto Competition.
The Bard East/West Ensemble aims to combine the instrumentation and musical traditions of the East and the West, to bring together Chinese music and Western music, and to seek a new model of cross-cultural music cooperation. Under the direction of Jindong Cai, the ensemble consists of young musicians from the Bard College Conservatory of Music and invites accomplished artists to collaborate as guest soloists.
About The Orchestra Now (TŌN)
In 2015 conductor, educator, and music historian Leon Botstein founded The Orchestra Now (TŌN), a group of vibrant young musicians from across the globe, as a graduate program at Bard College. TŌN offers both a three-year master’s degree in Curatorial, Critical, and Performance Studies and a two-year advanced certificate in Orchestra Studies. The orchestra’s home base is the Fisher Center at Bard, where it performs multiple concerts each season and takes part in the annual Bard Music Festival. It also performs regularly at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other venues across NYC and beyond.
The orchestra has performed with many distinguished guest conductors and soloists, including Leonard Slatkin, Gil Shaham, Fabio Luisi, Joan Tower, Vadim Repin, Tan Dun, and JoAnn Falletta. Among TŌN’s many recordings are albums featuring pianists Piers Lane, Anna Shelest, and Orion Weiss; Buried Alive with baritone Michael Nagy; Classics of American Romanticism; and the soundtrack to the motion picture Forte. Recordings of TŌN’s live concerts from the Fisher Center can be heard on Classical WMHT-FM and WWFM The Classical Network, and are featured regularly on Performance Today, broadcast nationwide. More info at ton.bard.edu.
The China Now Music Festival is an annual series of events produced by the US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music in collaboration with the prestigious Central Conservatory of Music, China. China Now is dedicated to promoting an understanding and appreciation of classical music from contemporary China. Each year’s festival explores a singular theme. The inaugural festival in 2018, Facing the Past, Looking to the Future: Chinese Composers in the 21st Century, presented US and world premieres of orchestral works by 11 living Chinese composers in concerts at Bard College, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. The following year, the festival presented China and America: Unity in Music at Bard College, Carnegie Hall, and Stanford University, and featured the world premiere of the symphonic oratorio Men of Iron and the Golden Spike, by Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Zhou Long, honoring the Chinese railroad workers of the American West on the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Recent seasons featured Beethoven and China in 2020, Asian American Voices in 2021, and East of West in 2022.
The US-China Music Institute was founded in 2017 by conductor Jindong Cai and Robert Martin, founding director of Bard College Conservatory of Music, with the mission to pro- mote the study, performance, and appreciation of music from contemporary China and to support musical exchange between the United States and China. In partnership with the prestigious Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, the Institute has embarked on several groundbreaking projects, including the first degree-granting program in Chinese instrument performance in a US conservatory and a Master of Arts in Chinese Music and Culture, a unique multidisciplinary opportunity for graduate-level academic study and performance of Chinese music outside of China. Planned is the construction of a permanent home for the US-China Music Institute on the Bard campus in upstate New York. The Chinese Music Pavilion will be a landmark for the study and appreciation of Chinese music in the United States and throughout the West. barduschinamusic.org
About the Central Conservatory of Music, China
Established in 1949 and merged with the National College of Music and several other music educational institutions in China, the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) is a specialized Chinese institution of higher education for nurturing high level music professionals. It currently enrolls 1,543 undergraduate students and 633 graduate students. Functioning as a national center of music education, composition, performance, research and social promotion of music, CCOM is a world-renowned institute of music that represents the highest caliber of music education in China. While carrying on the diverse musical heritage of China, CCOM is actively absorbing the essence of various music cultures across the world, embracing different artistic elements with an open mind. Facing a time of increasing opportunities, CCOM will continue its efforts to become a world-leading conservatory with top-notch programs in music education, dedicated to preparing future generations of professional music leaders for the development of art in China, and to bringing China’s vibrant music culture to the world.
About Bard College
Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year, residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City. With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1,000 parklike acres in the Hudson River Valley. It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with majors in more than 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 11 programs; nine early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally. Building on its 161-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College has expanded its mission as a private institution acting in the public interest across the country and around the world to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal arts education. The undergraduate program at our main campus in upstate New York has a reputation for scholarly excellence, a focus on the arts, and civic engagement. Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders. For more information about Bard College, visit bard.edu.
Bard Press Contact:Mark Primoff
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