New Jer­sey orches­tra set for con­cert to mark Year of the Pig

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE - By CHEN NAN

The New Jer­sey Sym­phony Orches­tra will ring in the Year of the Pig at the New Jer­sey Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter in Ne­wark, New Jer­sey, in the United States, on Feb 2.

The NJSO, un­der the ba­ton of its mu­sic di­rec­tor Zhang Xian, will present a broad range of mu­sic cel­e­brat­ing both East­ern and Western tra­di­tions, in­clud­ing pre­mieres of Chi­nese com­posers Li Huanzhi’s Spring Fes­ti­val Over­ture and Tan Dun’s The Triple Res­ur­rec­tion.

Sep­a­rately, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Com­pany, which was launched in 1988 by dancer-chore­og­ra­pher Nai-Ni Chen, for­merly a prin­ci­pal dancer of Tai­wan’s Cloud Gate Dance Com­pany, will give a per­for­mance chore­ographed to the Hum­ming Cho­rus from Puc­cini’s Madam But­ter­fly. And the Pek­ing Univer­sity Alumni Cho­rus, the New York Fes­ti­val Singers and Starry Arts Group Chil­dren’s Cho­rus will join in the con­cert for works, in­clud­ing Beethoven’s Choral Fan­tasy, the Anvil Cho­rus from Verdi’s Il Trova­tore, the Jas­mine Cho­rus from Puc­cini’s Tu­ran­dot and tra­di­tional Chi­nese songs.

Speak­ing about the show, Zhang, who was born in Dan­dong, Liaon­ing prov­ince, and stud­ied pi­ano at the Cen­tral Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic in Bei­jing, from age 11, says: “Our first Chi­nese New Year con­cert is a big part of the NJSO’s ef­fort to­ward boost­ing com­mu­nity re­la­tions.

“Spring Fes­ti­val is an op­por­tu­nity to deepen our con­nec­tions not only with the Chi­nese com­mu­nity but also with the gen­eral pub­lic through­out the state, com­ing to­gether to cel­e­brate a very old tra­di­tion.”

Zhang moved to the US in 1998 to com­plete her doc­toral stud­ies at the Col­lege-Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic at the Univer­sity of Cincin­nati in Ohio, where she took first prize at the Maazel/Vi­lar Con­duc­tors’ Com­pe­ti­tion in 2002 and be­came Amer­i­can con­duc­tor Lorin Maazel’s as­sis­tant at the New York Phil­har­monic later that year, and the phil­har­monic’s as­sis­tant con­duc­tor in 2004.

In 2016, Zhang was ap­pointed mu­sic di­rec­tor of the New Jer­sey Sym­phony Orches­tra. And she be­came the BBC Na­tional Orches­tra of Wales’ first fe­male prin­ci­pal guest con­duc­tor of 2015.

Be­fore that, she was the mu­sic di­rec­tor of the Sioux City (Iowa) Sym­phony Orches­tra from 2005 to 2007. She has been the mu­sic di­rec­tor of Mi­lan’s Giuseppe Verdi Sym­phony Orches­tra since 2009.

When Zhang was pre­par­ing for the con­cert, she wanted to bring East­ern and Western mu­sic to­gether. So the event mixes dragon dances, tra­di­tional Chi­nese folk songs, mod­ern mu­sic and very well-known Western opera ex­cerpts.

As for the two pre­mieres, she says that the Spring Fes­ti­val Over­ture is a clas­sic piece and very pop­u­lar in China. It was se­lected to be broad­cast in space on China’s first lu­nar probe Chang’e-1.

Mean­while, the NJSO has per­formed many pieces by award-win­ning com­poser Tan over the years. And the Triple Res­ur­rec­tion will be a fes­tive show­piece for two soloists of the New Jer­sey Sym­phony Orches­tra — con­cert­mas­ter Eric Wyrick and prin­ci­pal cel­list Jonathan Spitz — be­sides lo­cal pi­anist Min Kwon.

Speak­ing about the show, Chen says: “Mu­si­cally, it will be very at­trac­tive for the au­di­ence; and vis­ually, this con­cert will be very col­or­ful and vi­brant,” adding that when peo­ple walk into the lobby of the con­cert hall, they will im­me­di­ately ex­pe­ri­ence the cul­ture first­hand, with Chi­nese cal­lig­ra­phy, danc­ing, solo per­for­mances by young Chi­nese mu­si­cians and a chil­dren’s choir singing Chi­nese tra­di­tional songs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.