The modern Chinese Orchestra, a large ensemble of Chinese instruments consisted of at least 80 members that adapted the structure of the western symphony orchestra, is designed to be at the crossroads of cultural exchange between the West and China. Since its appearance in the early 20th century, it has been continuously changing with inventions, adaptations and innovations on music, instruments, and compositions. With conductor Jindong Cai and composer JunYi Chow, this music chat will connect the history, present to the new trend of Chinese Orchestra, and discuss its forever evolving relationship between the confluence of its tradition and the cultures across the globe.
Music Chat is a lecture/performance series highlighting various regions, instruments, and musical forms and featuring discussions with leading experts as well as performances by world-class musicians.
Music at China Institute 华美音乐 is a collaborative program with the US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, bringing the beauty, wisdom and philosophy of traditional Chinese music to people of all ages and backgrounds in the heart of Lower Manhattan.
This program is part of “Developing Intercultural Competence (ICC) through Music,” a professional development series for Chinese language teachers in partnership with the New York University Project Developing Chinese Language Teachers (DCLT).
A conductor, author, and educator with a distinguished career, Jindong Cai is the director of the US-China Music Institute, co-director of the Chinese Music Development Initiative, and professor of music and arts at Bard College. Prior to joining Bard, he was a professor of performance at Stanford University. Over the 30 years of his career in the United States, Cai has established himself as an active and dynamic conductor, scholar of Western classical music in China, and leading advocate of music from across Asia.
He has conducted most of the top orchestras in China, as well as orchestras across North America, and has written extensively on music and the performing arts in China. Together with his wife Sheila Melvin, Cai has coauthored Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese as well as Beethoven in China: How the Great Composer Became an Icon in the People’s Republic.
JunYi Chow is a Malaysia-born New York-based composer, multi-instrumentalist and improviser. Chow’s music has been lauded by Financial Times for its “skillful contrasts in both volume and texture”. He explores the indefinite possibilities of tone colour and sound in his music. Chow’s thorough knowledge of skills and characteristics of both Chinese and Western instruments has made him a leading figure in merging music that transcends in genres and cultural backgrounds.
Among the awards Chow has received include the Grand Prize of Best Original Orchestra Work from Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra International Composition Competition. Chow has received commissions from Albany Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Singapore Chinese Orchestra, Georgetown Festival in Malaysia, Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, among worldwide performances of his compositions in Malaysia, Singapore, Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, United States, and Canada.
As an active researcher in the music for Chinese Orchestra, Chow’s The TENG Guide to the Chinese Orchestra (co-author with Samuel Wong and Chenwei Wang) serves as a one-stop guide for composers, scholars and enthusiasts alike.
He is currently the Composer-In-Residence of The TENG Company (Singapore) and Vivo Experimental Orchestra (Malaysia). He was previously the conductor of Chinese Music Ensemble of New York (2018 – 2019).