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Visualizing the Climate Crisis,” Presented by Asia Society in Collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Visualizing the Climate Crisis,” Presented by Asia Society in Collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Visualizing the Climate Crisis,” Presented by Asia Society in Collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

The Bard East/West Ensemble Photo by Ian Striedter

On Saturday, April 16 at 7 p.m., the Bard East/West Ensemble, founded by the Bard Conservatory of Music’s U.S.-China Music Institute, will perform a public concert under the direction of conductor Professor Jindong Cai at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., with a program of music that brings East and West together. The concert is part of the “COAL + ICE” documentary photography exhibition and climate-themed arts festival organized by Asia Society and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which is currently running through April 22 at The REACH at Kennedy Center. All events are free and open for the public.

The Bard East/West Ensemble is named after the combination of the instrumentation and musical traditions from the East and West. This ensemble aims at bringing together Chinese and Western music and seeking a new model in cross-cultural cooperation in music. Jindong Cai directs the ensemble, which includes young musicians from Bard Conservatory. He also invites accomplished musicians to perform as guest soloists. The Bard East/West Ensemble will focus on playing music with original instrumental arrangements and creations by its resident composers Xinyan Lu, Gao Chengjin, or Zhihua H. This will allow for a new form of musical expression. The ensemble features 12 musicians who play dizi and erhu as well as pipa, suonas, guzhengs, cello, double basses, and percussion.

Jindong Cai, director at the U.S. China Music Institute, stated that music is a unifying force within our ever-changing world. The Bard East/West Ensemble is a combination of Western and Chinese instruments that creates a musical dialogue that is essential for our time. We look forward to perform during the “COAL + ICE” festival at the Kennedy Center.”

The Bard East/West Ensemble’s performance at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC will begin with a 30-minute panel discussion called “Musical Connections in Challenging Times,” with guest speakers Orville Schell, Sheila Melvin, and Jindong Cai. Jindong Cai will conduct the concert for one hour, featuring vocal and instrumental repertoire from American traditional and modern music, as well as American contemporary and Chinese music.

The hourlong concert program responds to the exhibition’s theme of climate change awareness through art, and advocates for the concept of international mutual cooperation. The music selection encourages creativity, breaks down the boundaries in musical expression between Chinese and Western music, and provides a delightful experience to audiences of all cultural backgrounds.

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Program highlights include Vivaldi’s famous “The Four Seasons” arranged especially for the Bard East/West Ensemble. The Chinese wind instrument virtuoso Yazhi Guo will perform a new work, “The World of Winds,” in which he will play various wind instruments such as the suona, sheng, guanzi, hulusi, and saxophone. Soprano Esther Maureen Kelly and baritone José Rubio are two active intercultural singers who will perform a selection of songs in both Chinese and English. Other repertoire includes ensemble works “The Amusing Couple”by Bao Yuankai and “The Silk Road” by Jiang Ying, evoking Chinese folk tradition and the landscapes on the silk road. 

This year’s “COAL + ICE” documentary photo exhibition is the first time its global tour has landed on the East Coast of the United States, visualizing climate change through 30,000 square feet of immersive documentary footage. The six-week festival, which revolves around the exhibition, offers music, theater, panel discussions, art-making and other activities for audiences of all ages, and is included in the Kennedy Center’s 50th Anniversary season. All events are free and open to the public, although pre-registration is required on the Kennedy Center’s website.

“COAL + ICE” is a multinational group exhibition focusing on climate change and environmental protection, originally conceived by Asia Society’s Center for US-China Relations. It was first created in Beijing as an exhibit for Three Shadows Photography Art Center. It was then shown in Paris during COP21 and most recently in San Francisco at the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture.

Performance Information
An Evening of Music with Bard East/West Ensemble
Saturday, April 16, 2022 @ 7:00 p.m
“COAL + ICE” Tent at REACH Plaza, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C
Live shows are free but limited seating is available so reservations are required.

Post Date: 03-30-2022

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