Called “an exploding star in the musical firmament…” by The Wall Street Journal, the Chamber Music Society’s global reach continues this May with debut performances in China at the international Beijing Modern Music Festival on May 29, followed by a performance at the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center on May 31. CMS Artistic Directors pianist Wu Han and cellist David Finckel will be joined by their distinguished colleagues pianist Gilles Vonsattel, violinist Arnaud Sussmann, violist Paul Neubauer, and clarinetist David Shifrin. The all-contemporary program scheduled for both venues features George Tsontakis’s KnickKnacks for Violin and Viola; Bruce Adolphe’s Couple for Cello and Piano; Pierre Jalbert’s Trio for Piano, Violin, and Cello; and Paul Schoenfield’s Trio for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano. The program also includes a work that is certain to be of special interest to the Beijing audience: Beijing-born Zhou Long’s Tales from the Nine Bells for Clarinet, Violin, Viola, and Piano. The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer is a graduate of Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music where the work will be performed.
The all-contemporary program showcases the superb CMS performers in an array of works by living composers and demonstrates CMS’s commitment to music of our time. George Tsontakis, an award-winning, Grammy-nominated American-born composer of Greek descent who has been praised by The New York Times for his “personable style,” will be represented by his KnickKnacks for violin and viola. Bruce Adolphe, an acclaimed composer, educator, author, and radio personality, was commissioned to write Couple for cello and piano especially for its performers, cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han. Trio for piano, violin, and cello is by Pierre Jalbert, a winner of the prestigious CMS Elise L. Stoeger Prize for excellence in the field of chamber music composition. From Paul Schoenfield, known for combining popular, folk, and classical music forms, comes Trio for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano described by The New York Times as possessing a “robust, klezmer-tinged score.” Zhou Long’s evocative Tales from the Nine Bells for clarinet, violin, viola, and piano was commissioned by CMS and London’s Wigmore Hall where it was first performed by CMS musicians in April 2014. A United States citizen since 1999, Zhou Long’s work has been praised for finding “a plausible, rigorous, and legitimate way of consolidating compositional methods and techniques that allow him to express brilliantly both his experiences as a composer of Western music and his considerable knowledge of his native China.”
About Beijing Modern Music Festival: Beijing Modern Music Festival (BMMF) is supported and sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture of China. Founded in 2004, BMMF is regarded as an influential modern musical event in China, and has gradually become one of the most important modern music festivals in the world. BMMF is committed to disseminating modern music, promoting international artistic and cultural communication, and building a platform for young musicians. Since its inception, BMMF has organized almost 400 concerts, nearly 100 lectures and master classes, and published a large number of academic books, scores, audio and video discs.
About Shanghai Oriental Art Center (SOAC): This stunning cultural arts center was designed by French architect Paul Andreu and officially opened in 2005. Viewed from above, it resembles a blossoming five-petal flower constructed from glass, wood, and steel. Each petal marks a separate space including an entrance, an area for exhibitions, and halls for various types of performances including concerts and opera.
CMS IN CHINA
May 29, 1:00 PM: Beijing Modern Music Festival at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music Concert Hall, Beijing
May 31, 7:45 PM: Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, Shanghai