American Composers Orchestra and the Beijing Modern Music Festival announced the launch of a new, international collaboration, the China-U.S. Composers Project, on Monday, June 22, 2015 at a VIP event hosted by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC, with honored guest H.E. Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. Taking place over three seasons or more, with multiple performances and exchange activities in both Beijing and New York City, the China-U.S. Composers Project will be one of the most significant cultural exchange projects ever undertaken between China and the U.S., and the most important international exploration of the work of contemporary composers to date.
The collaboration has three components, each will develop mutual understanding and international friendships:
A major FESTIVAL in New York City that brings together delegations of Chinese and American composers for performances and professional exchange will focus attention on these composers and their music. The festival will feature a delegation of 12-15 Chinese composers and 12-15 American composers in attendance; two concerts by ACO, featuring music by Chinese and Chinese-American composers and led by ACO Music Director George Manahan; chamber music and traditional music performances by guest ensembles from both China and the U.S. in collaboration with major cultural venues in New York; and educational partnerships with the area’s top institutions.
CONCERTS by American Composers Orchestra at the Beijing Modern Music Festival introducing an array of innovative American composers to Chinese audiences, and introducing these composers to their counterparts in China. These concerts will feature premieres by 10-12 American composers, led by ACO’s Music Director George Manahan.
NEW MUSIC READINGS of music by young and emerging composers from China and the U.S. will be produced in China and the U.S. and introduce talented young composers from both countries, promote their work and careers. Readings will take place on an ongoing basis over the next several seasons. A unique facet of the project, with the potential for deep connections between the young people of the U.S. and China, these Readings will give young composers the chance to have their music workshopped, rehearsed and performed, and to gain the very rare opportunity to work with a professional orchestra. Readings provide important career-building exposure and experience. Composers also learn from each other and from more established mentor-composers. The Readings will keep dialogue and exchange going between the two countries over an extended period, providing a long-term connection between their musical worlds.
ACO will engage composer Chen Yi as artistic advisor for the project to help conceive programs and select participating composers. Yi is in a unique position to provide artistic insights for the project: she is a well-respected composer, a Chinese-American, who is familiar and well liked by composers in both China and the U.S. Within ACO, Yi will collaborate with ACO’s senior artistic staff: composer/Artistic Director Derek Bermel, and the award-winning composer and ACO Artistic Director Laureate, Robert Beaser, who also serves as chairman of the composition department at the Juilliard School. Renowned composer Xiaogang Ye, artistic director, assisted by Shaosheng Li, project director for the Beijing Modern Music Festival, will co-curate on behalf of the Beijing Modern Music Festival. The senior artistic leaders of both organizations have already developed strong bonds on which to build their relationship. Both Beaser and Bermel have been guests at the Beijing Modern Music Festival, and Beaser and Ye have a close working relationship over many years.