Idees, Pensee, Muses sur la musique & theatre

Tag Archives: Asian American

New York Philharmonic announced that San Francisco-born composers Anthony Cheung is one of the three composers who will share The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic at the request of inaugural recipient Henri Dutilleux. The Kravis Prize for New Music is bestowed every two years for extraordinary artistic endeavor in the field of new music, and French composer Henri Dutilleux was named the first recipient in 2011. Dutilleux decided that he would share the $200,000 award with three composers, each of whom would write a work to be performed by the Orchestra in his honor.

Born in 1982 in San Francisco, Anthony Cheung is a composer and pianist. As a performer and advocate for new music, he is artistic director and pianist of the Talea Ensemble inNew York. His music has been performed by the Ensemble Modern, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Linea, Musiques Nouvelles, Chicago Symphonyʼs MusicNOW, Dal Niente, International Contemporary Ensemble, Minnesota Orchestra, French National Orchestras of Lille andLorraine, Orchestra of the League of Composers, and eighth blackbird. Current projects include a Tremplin commission for the Ensemble intercontemporain and a Koussevitzky Foundation commission for the Talea Ensemble, both to premiere in 2012.

Cheung received his bachelor’s degree in music and history from Harvard University and his doctorate from Columbia University, where he taught and served as assistant conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra. Most recently, he was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Cheung will spend the 2012–13 season inRomeas a recipient of the Rome Prize, and he will begin a teaching appointment at theUniversityofChicagoin 2013.


The composer Matt Van Brink posted a very interesting article on NewMusicBox about his participating in this year’s “The Intimacy of Creativity,” a chamber music workshop program in Hong Kong created by Bright Sheng 盛宗亮. Sheng lives in Flushing and has been very active in New York’s music scene. He has done a lot of programs with the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts. But I didn’t know of this one in Hong Kong.

The program adapts the workshop model common in theater and literary world to the creation of chamber music. Young composers present their works in front of experienced composers and student performers, who in turn give feedback. Van Brink write, “[f]or the composers, the open discussion and rehearsal of our music compelled us to see our own works more objectively, opening the door to revision. For the performers, it was an opportunity to engage and connect with the works, and to pass along that excitement to the audience.”

Lang Lang had a very busy weekend. (So, what’s new?) On Friday (May 11), he received a Degree of Doctor Musical Arts, honoris causa from the Manhattan School of Music. The next day, he played a sold-out recital (again, what’s new?) at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Neither Puccini nor Verdi was on the program. Instead, Lang Lang played Bach, Chopin and Schubert. The same program will be repeated later this month at Carnegie Hall.

As the New York season draws to the end, festivals start to arrive. One of them is the first Queens New Music Festival, which will put on 9 concerts and showcase 12 world premieres in four days (May 10 – 13).

Mo Suo’s Burial Ceremony, a woodwind quintet by the New York-based Chinese composer Xinyan Li 李昕艷, is one of the pieces that will be performed.

Posted on Li’s Website:

Mo Suo’s Burial Ceremony was composed in 2006. Inspired by the unique funeral customs in Mo Suo, a Chinese southwest minority, this wood quintet depicts Lama’s reciting scriptures to release souls from purgatory, Daba monks’ dancing to expel ghosts, as well as Lama’s cremating corpse which are tied up like a fetus into a wooden cage for reincarnation. I tried to create various colors and dramatic tension and express the touching emotions. In this work, winds are considered human beings’ voices that contain joy, sadness, anger, and fear etc. They cry, they laugh, they talk and they dance. In addition, this work is based on three pitches—B, C, and F, initials of Burial, Ceremony and Funeral. The first and last note both use C, which symbolize a life cycle.


The intricate relation between costumes and dance is vividely illustrated in Dancing with 29 Sweaters, a collaborative performance between Yung Li Chen 陳詠俐, Huei-Lee Wei, and Jia-Jen Lin 林嘉貞. Chen and Wei’s choreography responds to Lin’s “wearable sculpture” to create a dialogue between dance and sculpture. It will be performed live at the HATCH Presenting Series. The video is here:

Not every pianist who played on the Carnegie Hall stage is Horowitz or Lang Lang. But then, Horowitz probably never knew how to read someone his Miranda Rights! Chris Yip葉家傑 is that rare combination – a bona fide NYPD police officer and a serious pianist. It is more remarkable that he turned to piano only after he earned his police badge!

This started several years ago when he was still a rookie officer. His patrol area included the Brooklyn Music School in the Fort Green neighborhood. He would pass by the school everyday, hearing the music wafting out from the building while keeping his eyes on any suspicious activity on the street. One day, he decided to check out what’s inside and ended up sitting down on a piano bench with a teacher.

It is not an easy task to learn piano as an adult, as any piano teacher will tell you. But when there’s a will, there’s a way. Yip has persevered and is now one of the star alumni at the Brooklyn Music School. He will play at the school’s centennial benefit concert on May 5. Wouldn’t it be fun if he played in his uniform!

Details of David Henry Hwang’s Artist-in-Residence at the Signature Theater have surfaced. There will be three plays, including the world premier of Kung Fu, inspired by the life of Bruce Lee, about a young martial artist who comes to America from Hong Kong in the 1960s dreaming to be a movie star.

Hwang had been writing the book for a musical about Lee, but a spokesman for Signature said that Kung Fu was not the same project and that Hwang was no longer involved in that musical. (Hwang has yet to decide if the main character in Kung Fu will be named Bruce Lee.)

Leigh Silverman, who staged Chinglish on Broadway last fall, will direct Kung Fu as well as a revival of Golden Child, which ran on Broadway in 1998. In February 2013 the director May Adrales will mount his 1981 play The Dance and the Railroad.

So, no revival of M Butterfly. Does it mean he’s saving it for the long rumored Broadway revival?