Melodies of Love and Loss: Chinese Music Inspired by Gold Boy, Emerald Girl
Sunday, April 15, 2012, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Harold Washington Library Center: Cindy Pritzker Auditorium
Program notes by Yuan-Qing Yu, CFAS 2012-2013 Artist-in-Residence
Literature and music are inseparable; both are the essence of enlightenment. Goethe once said: “A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry every day… in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”
When I was asked to curate this concert in support of YiYun Li’s “Gold Boy, Emerald Girl”, I was very excited to combine my two loves. Li’s book is a collection of short stories, each rich with emotions and is beautifully crafted. I want this concert program to be the perfect union for this wonderful book.
Dragon Boat – Chinese folk melody adapted for pipa by Hua Yanjun
Cursive – Chou Wen Chung
I chose “Cursive” with “Kindness” in mind, not only because one of the characters in “Kindness” is a flutist, but also because the venerable Chou Wen Chung’s works are always based on principles drawn from traditional Chinese paintings and Chinese theories of ‘Yin/Yang’ and ‘I-Ching’. These qualities resonate with what the New York Times’ reviewer said about Li, “What’s distinctive about YiYun Li’s work is the contrast between its emotional intensity and its calm”.
Being – Huang Ruo
Huang Ruo’s “Being” is chosen because of the title, and the alliance of the Clarinet and the Viola despite the distinctions between the two. This reflects the heart of the story “A Man Like Him”.
C.A.G.E – Tan Dun
Tan Dun’s “C.A.G.E.” is written in memory of composer John Cage. The restrictive nature of the piece, (the entire piece is composed from only four notes, C A G E), and the play on the word “cage” is the perfect pairing of Li’s third story “Prison”.
Five Seasons – Lei Liang
In Lei Liang’s “Five Seasons,” the pipa and the string quartet achieve exuberant synergy and reach expressive extremes. Aren’t these the emotions mirrored by the longings and desperate desires portrayed in Li’s stories?
My Hometown Far Away – Bin Li *Migratory Journeys World Premiere
Chen QiGang’s Le Souvenir is a direct link by title to Li’s story Souvenir. Bin Li’s “My Hometown Far Away” is a tribute to YiYun Li’s life as an immigrant. In Lei Liang’s Five Seasons, the Pipa and the String Quartet “achieves exuberant synergy together” and reaches “expressive extremes”. Aren’t these the emotions mirrored by the longings and desperate desires portrayed in Li’s stories?
Miniatures – Vivian Fung
Vivian Fung’s “Miniatures” serves as the ideal summary of the nine stories in “Gold Boy, Emerald Girl”. Whether this sonic program gives you the feeling of pleasure, melancholy or despair, I hope the union of literature and music from today’s program will leave you satisfied.
About the Performers
Elizandro Garcia-Montoya, clarinet
Born in Costa Rica, Elizandro Garcia-Montoya is an active performer and educator. He has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Jacksonville Symphony, and the State of Mexico Orchestra in Toluca, Mexico. A prizewinner in the 1999 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, Garcia-Montoya continues to pursue his chamber music career. He has performed with groups such as the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Pilgrim Chamber Players, and The Chicago Ensemble, among others.
Garcia-Montoya completed his master’s degree at Rice University. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University, a professional studies diploma from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and pursued additional post-graduate studies at DePaul University. arcia-Montoya has performed at numerous music festivals including Tanglewood, National Repertory Orchestra, Kent/Blossom Music, International Festival at Round Top, Spoleto/USA, and Yale University’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.
Garcia Montoya lives in Chicago, IL, and is currently co-principal clarinetist of the New Hampshire Music Festival and the New Millennium Orchestra in Chicago.
Jaime Gorgojo, violin
Recent highlights in Jaime Gorgojo’s career are three chamber music appearances in 2011 with Yo-Yo Ma in Symphony Center. Born in Madrid, he has performed as a soloist, chamber, and orchestra musician in Spain, the US, France, Mexico, and Canada. In 2010 he became concertmaster of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and has performed under the baton of renowned conductors such as Ricardo Muti, Lorin Maazel, Essa-Pekka Salonen, and Cliff Colnot. He is a member of the MusiCorps String Quintet (the outreach program of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) that performs in Schools and City Parks around Chicago, making music accessible to all audiences. He is also the “face” of the CSO Institute in their “ 2010-2011: A year in review”.
Jaime Gorgojo is violin and viola Faculty at North Eastern Illinois University since September 2011 and is finishing his DMA at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He plays a Dalphin Violin from 2005.
Mabel Kwan, piano
As a pianist for Ensemble Dal Niente, Mabel Kwan is active in performances and education outreach throughout the concert season. She performed with Dal Niente at the 45th International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany where they received a Kranichstein Stipend Prize, the first ever awarded to an ensemble. She and percussionist Andrew Bliss are founding members of the duo Nothing in Common. The duo has performed at the Intermedia Festival at IUPUI, SEAMUS, and universities and concert venues throughout the Midwest. Mabel has given solo recitals at the Sonic Fusion Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland and the Experimental Piano Series produced by the Chicago Composers Forum and Pianoforte Chicago. She champions the works of artists from her generation and has enjoyed collaborations with Liminal Performance Group and the Poetry Foundation. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Mabel received performance degrees from Rice University and Northern Illinois University.
Dominic Johnson, viola
After studying with Csaba Erdelyi at Rice University, Violist Dominic Johnson toured domestically and in Europe playing rhythm viola for an indie rock band, (the) rachel’s. Mr. Johnson is currently the executive director and principal violist of the New Millennium Orchestra of Chicago, an ensemble he co-founded in 2005, and has performed with artists as diverse as Josh Groban, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, and Reggie Watts. Recently Dominic has been performing in Miami with the Miami Symphony and Firebird Chamber Orchestra, and in New York with the Arcos Chamber Orchestra.
Aurelien Pederzoli, violin
Born in 1982 in Nancy, France, Aurelien Pederzoli began to study violin at the age of three. At the age of seven, he gave his first concert as soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra in Nancy. One year later, he played his first recitals in Paris and Lyon. Pederzoli has performed extensively in Europe and the U.S. Pederzoli has played at music festivals all around Europe: Oleg Kagan Festival in Kreuth, Verbier Festival, Al Bustan Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, La Folle Journée, Gulbenkian Music Festival and Foundation, Lanaudière Music Festival, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Saint Riquier Festival, Sully sur Loire Music Festival.
In 1993, Pederzoli was accepted at the Paris Conservatory. At age 17, Pederzoli entered the Bern Hochschule, Switzerland in the master class of Prof. Igor Ozim. In 2001, Pederzoli was invited to study at the Julliard School of Music in New York as well as the Curtis Institute of Philadelphia, an offer he turned down to study with Shmuel Ashkenasi in Chicago. Pederzoli holds a soloist diploma from the Bern Hochschule, a master’s Degree in Violin Performance from DePaul university, and a master’s degree in American Music from the University of Metz.
Pederzoli is a founding member of the ANAPHORA Ensemble. He plays on a Della Fonte violin made in Napoli in 1873 in gracious loan by Liz Stein.
Anna Steinhoff, cello
Anna Steinhoff is a classical cellist whose “soulful cello” has been described by critics as “the rhythmic heart of the ensemble.” Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Anna completed degrees in cello performance from the Oberlin Conservatory and Northwestern University before making her home in Chicago. In addition to the modern cello, Anna specializes in early instruments such as the baroque cello and viola da gamba. She is a regular member of Chicago’s period instrument orchestra, Baroque Band, and has performed with ensembles such as the Haymarket Opera Company, Newberry Consort, Callipygian Players, Bach and Beethoven Ensemble, Music of the Baroque, Chicago Opera Theater, and Madison Bach Musicians. She is also a founding member of Wayward Sisters, who won the 2011 EMA/Naxos competition and will be recording their debut album in 2012.
Jessica Warren, flute
Hailed as “remarkable” by the Chicago Tribune and “one to watch, in more ways than one” by Muso Magazine, Jessica Warren-Acosta has gained worldwide recognition as a dynamic performer and a flutist who thinks outside the box.
Warren-Acosta has concertized on three continents and appeared as a soloist with the Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore, Leipzig Radio, Fort Worth, and Omaha Symphonies as well as at numerous international music festivals including the Spoleto USA Festival where she gave the American Premiere of Pascal Dusapin’s Flute Concerto, Galim. She gave her New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in 1998.
She has toured Latin America as an artistic ambassador to the United States, soloing with orchestras and giving recitals to rave reviews. She has been named a winner in several international competitions including the Artists International Competition and the International Music Competition, Citta di Padova. For more information, please visit www.jessicawarren.com
Yang Wei, pipa
At age 18, Yang Wei performed as a soloist with the National Shanghai Orchestra. In 1989, he won first prize at the International Chinese Musical Instruments Competition. Yang Wei moved permanently to the United States in 1996, making his home in the Chicago area. Since 2000, Yang Wei has toured with the acclaimed Silk Road Project, performing alongside world famous cellist, Yo-Yo Ma. In the United States, he has performed at such known venues as the Ravinia International Music Festival, the Kimmel Center, Lincoln Center, and the Chicago Symphony Center. He has also served as Artist-in-Residence for the Art Institute of Chicago. Additional accomplishments include a Fellowship in Ethnic and Folk Arts by the Illinois Arts Council in 2006 and a residency at the Humanity Institute of the University of Michigan in 2006 and 2007.
The Migratory Journeys Concert Series was sponsored in part by: