Detroit Symphony brings China to NYC

Updated: 2013-08-06 05:50

By Kelly Chung Dawson (China Daily)

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The Detroit Symphony Orchestra will travel to New York's Lincoln Center this September to perform symphonic and vocal works by the Chinese composer and 2012 Guggenheim fellow Xiaogang Ye, in a concert conducted by Yongyan Hu and featuring Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman's first vocal performance in Chinese.

"The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to partner with the Central Conservatory of Music to help bring Chinese new music to US audiences," DSO president and CEO Anne Parsons said last week in announcing the performance. "This is a unique opportunity to intertwine two cities with rich musical traditions and two institutions with proud heritages — all as a result of distinguished members of the DSO playing an invaluable part in bringing us together."

The program, titled Songs of the Earth, will bring together Chinese and Western soloists in the first concert by a major American orchestra of work by a Chinese composer, according to DSO. Featured in the show will be Chinese tenor Yijie Shi, baritone Chen-Ye Yuan, soprano Liu Shen, zheng player Ji Wei and Taiwan-born violinist Cho-Liang Lin.

Ye is vice-president of China's Central Conservatory of Music, and a member of that institution's renowned class of 1978, from which other graduates include international music stars Zhou Long, Tan Dun and Chen Yi. Ye is considered one of the world's leading Chinese composers, and his Starry Sky composition was performed by Lang Lang during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. In 2002 he founded the Beijing Modern Music Festival, which has showcased composers including Kaija Saariaho and Stephen Hartke.

Ye's Twilight of the Himalayas, which was made possible by his Guggenheim fellowship, will be performed with texts by Li Shaosheng and Liu Suola in conjunction with the New York Choral Society.

Also included will be Ye's 1993 piece The Last Paradise and the piece for which the program is named, The Song of the Earth. Excerpts from that piece, which was inspired by Chinese poetry, have already been performed at Avery Fisher Hall in 2005 and 2013, the former of which was described by the New York Times as a "lush, neo-Romantic orchestral score."

The program will be DSO's first collaboration with China's Central Conservatory of Music. Conductor Yongyan Hu is the dean of China's Orchestra Academy at the conservatory, and zheng soloist Ji Wei is also an associate professor at the institution.

Tickets for the concert, which will be held on Sunday Sept 22 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, are now available online.