Happy New Year!
I am extremely excited to begin the New Year as guest conductor with your ProMusica Chamber Orchestra! Our program will feature music of Chopin, Mozart, Chen Yao, and Huang Ruo. At first glance, this program may seem like an eclectic group of composers but it is a perfect way to celebrate all the aspects of this New Year and the continued success of this wonderful musical organization.
January 23rd is the official celebration day of the Chinese New Year, the year of the Dragon. To mark this event, we are featuring a trifecta of amazing Chinese talent in the classical music world. Chinese composers, Chen Yao and Huang Ruo are esteemed young composers who are truly unique. They have maintained their heritage while embracing Western orchestral idioms in their own individual compositional language. Huang Ruo was awarded First Prize in 2008 by the prestigious Luxembourg International Composition Prize. The New Yorker describes him as “one of the most intriguing of the new crop of Asian-American composers.” His work Path of Echoes is an exciting work but it is also reflective in nature. I love how he combines musical gestures from the orchestra that captures the Chinese mountainside and then quickly it explodes with direct emotion. Chen Yao’s work, Two Poems is more overtly descriptive compositionally. One can sense the “nature” elements in his work immediately and I believe it is more romantic in character. He received his training mostly in China and completed his Ph.D in music composition at the University of Chicago under the guidance of world-renowned composers Shulamit Ran and Marta Ptaszynska. I met Chen in Chicago about 8 years ago and have been a huge advocate of his music. I’m excited to share both of these composers with you. The third aspect of this Chinese trifecta is our guest artist, pianist Di Wu. A prize winner of the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, a rising star, and according to her website a true “foodie”. Her playing has been described as possessing "charisma, steely technique, and a keen musical intelligence" by the Philadelphia Inquirer. I am very excited to showcase her talents in the virtuosic and romantic Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1.
Mozart’s Symphony No. 33, will mark the 33rd Anniversary of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra! What an accomplishment for the organization. I am so proud to be a part of this anniversary. This delightful and unexplored work of Mozart contains the ideal chamber-like intimacy. This symphony will truly highlight the talents of ProMusica.
As a finalist for the Music Director and Conductor, of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, I am eager and excited to showcase the musicians of the orchestra. It is my passion to be able to make great music with great musicians and composers, and this concert will have many moments for all to shine. I am looking forward to spending a substantial amount of time with the many volunteers, administration, board members, musicians, audience members, and community members who are involved with the orchestra. Getting to know a community of arts supporters is important to me and I always look forward to the one-on-one connections that I am able to make.
I do hope many of you will take the opportunity to come and chat with me about the orchestra, the Columbus arts community or to introduce yourself and say hello! See you all very soon.
I hope 2012 brings you good fortune and good health!
(Read Rei's Biography here.)