Sunday, April 22, 2012

New Horizons Music Festival Concerts Honor Visiting Composer Chen Yi

Faculty and students of the HSU Music Department are combining to honor visiting composer Chen Yi in the best way possible: by playing her music and presenting it to a new North Coast public in two different concerts on April 22 and 23. These concerts are the centerpiece of the 4-day New Horizons Music Festival.

Born in China and currently teaching at the University of Missouri, Chen Yi has been called “perhaps the most internationally renowned female Asian composer of contemporary music today.” She is known for combining traditional Chinese folk music with familiar forms of western music. She will be on the HSU campus Sunday and Monday.

“This is the first time that almost all of our faculty and many of our students will play the music of one living composer,” said pianist and HSU Music professor Daniela Mineva, “and she will be here to guide us and to attend our concerts of her work.”

Chen Yi’s chamber music and vocal compositions are showcased in the Sunday, April 22 faculty concert, which features HSU and community musicians Terrie Baune, Karen Davy, Elisabeth Harrington, Carol Jacobson, Nicholas Lambson, Robin Miller, Daniela Mineva, Cindy Moyer, Eugene Novotney, Virginia Ryder, Laura Snodgrass, Shao Way, and guest cellist from San Francisco Thalia Moor.

The Monday (April 23) concert presents the Humboldt Symphony, Symphonic Band and University Singers performing some of Chen Yi’s orchestral and choral works. Her recent “Suite from China West” will be performed as both a symphonic band piece and in a two piano version played by Daniela Mineva and John Chernoff. “Romance and Dance,” features violin solos by Cindy Moyer and Terrie Baune. Paul Cummings conducts the Humboldt Symphony and Symphonic Band. Harley Muilenburg directs the University Singers.

Composer Chen Yi will attend final rehearsals for these two concerts and offer her guidance. She previously has been consulted frequently by email. “It’s a wonderful experience to be able to ask the composer questions,” said Paul Cummings. “We don’t get to do that very often. You can’t call up Mozart and ask him if you can slow down the finale. But we’ve been emailing over the past few months, and she’s been fantastic—she answers every email within a day, and signs each message, ‘Love, Chen Yi.’”

In addition to meeting with faculty and students, Chen Yi will give a talk on Chinese art and music at noon on April 23 in Fulkerson Recital Hall, which is free and open to the public.

The New Horizons Music Festival will also include workshops and master classes, as well as concerts by the Kronos Quartet on April 24 (sponsored by Center Arts) and the Rez Abbasi Invocation Quintet on April 25 (sponsored by Redwood Jazz Alliance.)

The HSU faculty concert of Chen Yi’s chamber and vocal compositions is Sunday April 22, and the large ensembles concert of her orchestral and choral works is on Monday, April 23. Both concerts begin at 8 p.m. in Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $10 general and $5 seniors and all students, from the HSU Box Office (826-3928) or at the door. 

Media: Tri-City Weekly, Arcata Eye, Humboldt State Now.

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