2018 Inaugural Season (Archive Page)


"Western classical music is developing in China at phenomenal speed, but just as exciting is the freshness that Chinese composers bring to the Western world. With the China Now Music Festival as our looking glass, we hope to bring people and cultures from East and West together through music.”

–Jindong Cai

The US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, in collaboration with the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing, announces the inaugural season of the China Now Music Festival, a series of orchestral concerts set to take place October 19–22 at The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, and at Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall and Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage in New York City.

The festival is dedicated to promoting an understanding and appreciation of classical music from contemporary China through an annual series of concerts and academic activities. Each year the China Now Music Festival will explore a significant theme, beginning in 2018 with Facing the Past, Looking to the Future: Chinese Composers in the 21st Century.  The concerts will be performed by Bard College's The Orchestra Now, conducted by Jindong Cai, artistic director of the festival and director of the US-China Music Institute. 

Friday, October 19, 8 p.m.

program One

Sosnoff Theater, Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Photo credit: Karl Rabe, 2018

Photo credit: Karl Rabe, 2018

The opening concert of the festival, at Bard’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, features The Orchestra Now (TŌN), conducted by Jindong Cai, performing a world premiere of a new work by composer Chen Danbu from the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing. The concert also includes the U.S. premiere of Chen Yi and Zhou Long’s Symphony Humen 1839,’ and Ye Xiaogang’s My Faraway Nanjing for cello and orchestra. 

Pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m.

Tickets, $20-50, are available at the Fisher Center Box office, 845-758-7900 or fishercenter.bard.edu.

Saturday, October 20, 12–2 p.m.


Panel discussion
facing history: musical reflections on the opium war, the nanjing massacre, and the cultural revolution

China Institute, 100 Washington Street, New York. Temporary entrance: 40 Rector Street, 2nd floor, New York, NY. 

In collaboration with the China Institute, the panel will include composers Ye Xiaogang, Zhou Long, Chen Yi, and Tony Fok, writer Su Wei, and festival Artistic Director Jindong Cai. Light lunch will be served. 

Admission is free with purchase of a ticket to any China Now Music Festival concert. Reservations required. Contact Aaron Nicholson at 212-744-8181 ext. 138 or visit https://www.chinainstitute.org/event/facing-history-musical-reflections-opium-war/.

Sunday, October 21, 3 p.m.

program Two

DGH Concert Image3.jpg

David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY.

This event is focused on how Chinese composers have looked into the past. The Orchestra Now (TŌN), conducted by Jindong Cai, confronts three wrenching events in modern Chinese history: the first Opium War of 1839–42, the Nanjing Massacre of 1937, and what is now known as the “sent-down youth” movement during the Cultural Revolution of 1966–76.  

The concert begins with the symphony Symphony ‘Humen 1839’ by Chen Yi and Zhou Long. The work is a musical portrait of the heroic effort to confiscate and burn imported opium. Ye Xiaogang’s My Faraway Nanjing for cello and orchestra is dedicated to the 300,000 civilian victims killed in the Japanese invasion of Nanjing during World War II. Composer Tony Fok and writer Su Wei both lived through the chaotic period of the Cultural Revolution. They were among the more than 17 million urban Chinese youths sent down to the countryside to labor alongside farmers. This experience inspired their oratorio/cantata Ask the sky and the earth, featuring a chorus of over 200 members from around the U.S., some of whom were also among the “sent down youth.” This year marks the 50th anniversary of the movement. 

Pre-concert lecture at 2 p.m.

Tickets, $20–$50, available at lincolncenter.org, CenterCharge at 212-721-6500, or the David Geffen Hall box office.

Monday, October 22, 7:30 p.m.

program Three

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall, 881 7th Avenue, New York, NY

Photos courtesy of the artists.

Photos courtesy of the artists.

The Orchestra Now (TŌN), conducted by Jindong Cai, and by Chen Lin from the Central Conservatory of Music, looks to the future with an exciting program consisting entirely of world-premiere compositions by the distinguished composition faculty of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. The Central Conservatory is the cradle of 21st-century Chinese composers. The festival will showcase six new compositions: Guo Wenjing’s Zang; Qing Wenchen’s The Light of the Deities; Chen Xinruo’s Yun Shao; Jia Guoping’s The Landscape of the Northern Country; Tang Jianping’s Realmorphism; and Chang Ping’s Singularity

Pre-concert lecture at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets, $20–$50, available at carnegiehall.org, CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800, or the Carnegie Hall box office at 57th Street and 7th Avenue.

Group Discount
20% off applies to group of 10 or more

Lincoln Center
Please contact CenterCharge at 212-721-6500 or use promo code GROUP20.

Carnegie Hall
Contact Group Sales directly at groupsales@carnegiehall.org or call 212-903-9705 to reserve tickets.

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