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Bard College's China Now Music Festival Kicks Off This Weekend

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It’s an important idea to embrace in these times of intense division: Culture and the arts build bridges, not walls. A perfect embodiment of this concept is the Bard College Conservatory of Music’s US-China Music Institute, which this weekend presents its inaugural China Now Music Festival.

Dedicated to promoting an understanding and appreciation of music from contemporary China through an annual series of concerts and academic activities, the festival for its debut run has as its theme “Facing the Past, Looking to the Future: Chinese Composers in the 21st Century.” The three-day event features the college’s renowned The Orchestra Now in concert at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on its Annandale-on-Hudson campus and in New York at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall and Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage.

The opening concert, on October 19 at 8pm at Bard’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, includes world premieres of two works by composers from the Central Conservatory of Music. The concert also premieres Chen Yi and Zhou Long’s Humen 1839 and Ye Xiaogang’s My Faraway Nanjing for cello and orchestra. The Lincoln Center concert, on October 21 at 3pm, is focused on how Chinese composers have looked into the past. The program 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 Carnegie Hall concert, on October 22 at 7:30pm, will look to the future, with a program consisting entirely of world-premiere compositions by the composition faculty of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

Here's the Azusa Pacific Symphony performing the finale of Humen 1839 in 2016:

The inaugural China Now Music Festival will take place on October 19, 21, and 22. For tickets and more information, call (845) 758-7026 or visit https://www.barduschinamusic.org/.

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