American Composers Orchestra

 

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Related Concert:
"Pacifica" at Carnegie Hall, Oct. 15, 2000

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 11, 2000 at 8pm
Pacifica Mix

Asian Tradition & New World Sensibilities in Music by Emerging Asian-American Composers

KENJI BUNCH: Suite for Viola and Piano
USHIO TORIKAI: Air 4
GI NYOUNG LEE: Sanjo (NY premiere)
JOAN HUANG: Remembering South River Land (NY premiere)
DOROTHY CHANG: Bloom (NY premiere)
P.Q. PHAN: Beyond the Mountains (NY premiere)

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Tickets are $15 ($12 for Japan Society members and ACO subscribers) and available at the Japan Society Box Office at 333 East 47th Street, or by phone at 212-752-3015.

A pre-concert lecture with the composers, free to ticket-holders, begins at 7:15pm. A post-concert dialogue with composers and the audience will follow the performance.


Composer P.Q. Phan Offers "Pacifica Mix,"
New Music by Emerging Asian-American Composers
Wednesday, October 11 at 8pm at the Japan Society

Works by Dorothy Chang, Ushio Torikai, Joan Huang, Gi Nyoung Lee, & Kenji Bunch

The American Composers Orchestra (ACO), in association with the Japan Society, presents "Pacifia Mix," Wednesday, October 11 at 8pm at The Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street. "Pacifica Mix" presents chamber music by a diverse collection of six young Asian-American composers whose national backgrounds include Japan, Korea, China and Vietnam. The program includes several New York premieres with music by Dorothy Chang, Ushio Torikai, Joan Huang, Gi Nyoung Lee, Kenji Bunch, and P.Q. Phan. The concert is the first in a pair of performances presented by ACO that explores the fusion of Asian heritages and new world sensibilities in American music.

(ACO's exploration of Asian focus continues on Sunday, October 15 at 3pm at Carnegie Hall, with a program that includes the world premiere of P.Q. Phan's When the Worlds Mixed and Times Merged, as well as music by Melissa Hui, Lou Harrison, and Chinary Ung.)

The program for "Pacifica Mix" was conceived by Vietnamese-American composer P.Q. Phan, who serves as ACO's Music Alive Composer-in-Residence this fall. Phan emigrated to the U.S. in 1982 after six months in a Vietnamese jail cell for his political beliefs. Largely self-taught as a composer, Phan now teaches composition at Indiana University's School of Music at Bloomington, and last year won a coveted Prix de Rome. He has had works commissioned by the Kronos Quartet (three times), the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and others. Phan first came to ACO's attention six years ago, through the orchestra's annual new music reading sessions, which give emerging composers a first opportunity to work with a professional orchestra and to hear their compositions performed.

The Music Alive Composer-in-Residence program is an initiative of the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet the Composer that has placed eight composers in residencies with orchestras around the country this year. During his Music Alive residency with the ACO, Mr. Phan will participate in a variety of educational, outreach, and performance activities that are part of ACO's yearlong exploration of new Americans in music: Coming to America: Immigrant Sounds/Immigrant Voices.

 "The 'Pacifica Mix' program consists of composers living across the United States with diverse geographical, cultural, and environmental backgrounds," say Phan. "Some are originally from Asia and currently reside in the U.S., others are American-born, but were raised in an 'Asian' environment. Each has a unique artistic approach involving cultural integration between their ethnic origins and their living environments," he adds.

 "Pacifica Mix" opens with Suite for Viola and Piano, a work by violist/composer Kenji Bunch that exploits the "extreme ranges and virtuosi possibilities" of the viola. Suite for Viola and Piano was commissioned by Young Concert Artists and premiered at New York's 92nd Street Y and Washington's Kennedy Center in 1999. A founding member of the recently acclaimed Flux Quartet, Mr. Bunch, who is of Japanese parentage, grew up in Oregon and studied viola and composition at Juilliard.

Ushio Torikai began her musical studies on piano and violin before studying the traditional Japanese instruments, koto and shamisen. Ms. Torikai's compositions vary widely, employing traditional instruments from the East and West, as well as Western choral groups, Buddhist monks and the electronic laboratory at IRCAM in Paris. Her piece Air 4 for solo flute will be performed.

Korean composer Gi Nyoung Lee's Sanjo for solo viola, is influenced by the traditional Korean solo music genre, Sanjo. While reminiscent of traditional rhythms and melodies, the work remains free and expressive and consists of sections based on progressively faster rhythms. Mr. Lee was born in Seoul in 1968 and is currently a doctoral student in composition at Indiana University in Bloomington.

After an early start studying music in China, Joan Huang's musical education was interrupted by the Cultural Revolution of Mao Tse-Tung, during which she spent three years on a farm doing hard manual labor and being "re-educated." After the Cultural Revolution Ms. Huang entered the Shanghai Conservatory. In 1986 she came to America to continue her musical education. She received a PhD from UCLA in 1991 and has had her works performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony among others. Ms. Huang is represented on this program by Remembering South River Land for piano trio, in its New York premiere.

Dorothy Chang's Bloom, a work that according to Chang, "addresses the concept of creation and transformation," also receives its New York premiere. Ms. Chang, who was born in 1970 and is currently a Visiting Lecturer of Composition at the Indiana University School of Music, likes to weave into her compositions elements of her varied interests in electronic music, traditional Chinese music and music in performance art.

The program concludes with P.Q. Phan's Beyond the Mountains, a work for clarinet, violin, cello and piano, which seeks to explore such facets of life as religious beliefs, philosophical practices, and social behaviors-those cultural aspects that are often distanced from cognitive recognition by the individual, but which greatly impact all individuals' lives. According to Phan, the piece reflects "conflicts and reinforcements between what is near to the individual and that which in folk stories is thought to exist, 'beyond the mountains.'"

Major support of the American Composers Orchestra is from Alliance Capital Management L.P., Mr. Thomas Buckner, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Citigroup Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Jean and Louis Dreyfus Foundation, Fidelity Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, J.P. Morgan & Co., Virgil Thomson Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund. ACO programs are also made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The residency of composer P.Q. Phan is made possible through Music Alive, a program of the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet The Composer. This national program is designed to provide orchestras with resources and tools to support their presentation of new music to the public and build support for new music within their institutions. Funding for Music Alive is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and The Aaron Copland Fund for Music. ACO's "Coming to America: Immigrant Sounds/Immigrant Voices" project is supported by the Animating Democracy Initiative, a program of Americans for the Arts funded by the Ford Foundation.

Japan Society Fall 2000 performances are made possible in part by The Starr Foundation, the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Endowment Fund, and with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency.


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