Asian American Voices: Symphonic Portraits


Jindong Cai conductor
Yixin Wang guzheng
Nina Yoshida Nelsen mezzo-soprano
Helen Zhibing Huang soprano
Li Yi tenor
David Henry Hwang narrator

Part of the China Now Music Festival
Presented by the US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music

In the first half of this symphonic concert, Jindong Cai will lead The Orchestra Now to showcase three new orchestral works by the composers Tan Dun, dean of the Bard Conservatory; Xinyan Li, Bard Conservatory faculty member; and Peng-Peng Gong, Shanghai-based composer and pianist. The second half of the concert will feature several moving episodes from composer Huang Ruo’s 2014 opera, An American Soldier.


Tan Dun Prayer and Blessing
Xinyan Li Awakening Light (World Premiere)
Peng-Peng Gong A Chinese in New York
Huang Ruo Episodes from An American Soldier

China Now Music Festival

Now in its fourth season, the China Now Music Festival is a leading force in introducing music from contemporary China to the United States and in promoting musical exchanges between the US and China. This year, as we continue to pursue our vital mission, we are broadening our scope to include the voices of a wide array of Asian American composers, with the aim of exploring their importance in contemporary American music and society.

“Asian American voices are American voices, and Asian American music is American music. We should always cherish the cultural diversity in American society.”
—Jindong Cai, artistic director, China Now Music Festival

The festival arrives in the midst of a particularly challenging time, shadowed by the global pandemic and recent rise in anti-Asian discrimination and violence. Our repertoire thus reflects how Asian American composers have responded to this particular moment, as well as to the historical reception of Asians in America.

Featuring composer-in-residence Huang Ruo, and ensemble-in-residence the Del Sol Quartet, along with many more composers and musicians, the 2021 China Now Music Festival connects culture, history, contemporary society, and the arts through a vibrant series of musical programs and discussion.

“The recent spike in anti-AAPI hate reminds us that Asian Americans must lift up our voices and show the world who we are, in all our strength, complexity, and humanity.”
—David Henry Hwang, playwright

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