Pieces of China is an online series that tells the story of China, one object at a time.
It was 1997, and Chinese conductor Jindong Cai wanted to add something challenging to a series of American music concerts he was performing in Shanghai. He first served up some crowd-pleasing Gershwin and Copeland. Then came Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1, written to commemorate those lost to the AIDS crisis. It was a sensitive topic in China, which was grappling with its own outbreak. “I wanted to show how art can reflect society,” says Cai. On Sept. 24, the renowned conductor and founder of the US-China Music Institute at Bard College, will talk about the program that promoted cultural dialogue, and why those kinds of exchanges matter today.