Home » China Now Music Festival Ends With Tribute to Three Generations of Composers Bridging U.S., China

China Now Music Festival Ends With Tribute to Three Generations of Composers Bridging U.S., China

The sixth season of the China Now Music Festival culminated in a grand finale on Sunday in a spellbinding concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, paying homage to three generations of composers bridging the United States and China.

Titled “The Orchestra Now Celebrates the Music of Chen Yi and Zhou Long,” the concert featured major symphonic works by this legendary couple, two of the most influential Chinese-American composers and their renowned teacher at Columbia University, Chou Wen-chung, who passed away at the age of 96 in 2019.

With the addition of two pieces by their young students — Zhou Juan, a student of musical arts from University of Missouri-Kansas City and Li Shaosheng, a composer in residence at the China National Symphony Orchestra and Guangxi Symphony Orchestra, the program linked three generations of composers to highlight the generational musical bridge that Chen and Zhou have built between the United States and China.

Chen Yi and Zhou Long, both born in 1953, embarked on their musical odysseus during the 1980s at Columbia University under the tutelage of composer Chou Wen-chung, whose compositions, characterized by their deep connections to both Eastern and Western traditions, left an indelible mark on Chen and Zhou.

Inspired by their mentor’s fascination with exploring the intersection of diverse musical cultures, Chen and Zhou have, over the decades, seamlessly blended their cultural heritage with contemporary compositional techniques, spawning a unique and captivating musical language that resonates across borders.

The concert was presented by The Orchestra Now, a graduate-level training orchestra based at Bard College, conducted by Jindong Cai, artistic director of the festival, and Chen Bing, a professor in the Conducting Department at the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM).

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