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Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra invited to perform in China

Submitted by jhafer on Fri, 12/17/2010 - 4:13pm

Three-concert tour in Beijing and Xi’an kicks off Dec. 31

KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec. 17, 2010) — While other students are ringing in the New Year with family and friends, 75 students from the Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra will be touring China like a professional orchestra, playing at three prestigious concert halls to packed audiences.

For the last several weeks, the orchestra students have undergone a crash course in Chinese language and culture in preparation for a three-concert tour in Beijing and Xi’an, China, from Dec. 31 – Jan. 7, 2011.

China is one of the most important countries in the classical music world today. Orchestral music is wildly popular. As part of the concerts, KSU students will perform the music of Chen Yi, one of the most important Chinese composers in the world today and a graduate of the Central Conservatory in Beijing. Furthermore, KSU students will observe and interact with Chinese musicians and learn the unique teaching philosophies and history of music in China.

“We applied with a recording of the orchestra to perform a concert in the new concert hall in Xi’an and were accepted,” Director of Orchestras and Associate Professor of Music Michael Alexander said. “After that acceptance, we were also invited to perform shared concerts at the Central Conservatory in Beijing – one of the leading conservatories in the world – and at Jiao Tong University. Our students will have the opportunity to meet other music students in China, watch them perform and learn about how music is studied in China.”

In addition to the concert performances, students will also have the opportunity to observe an elementary school music class, attend a Chinese Opera performance, and see the important cultural sites in Beijing and Xi’an, including the Great Wall, Beijing Cloisonne Factory, Tian An Men Square, the Forbidden City, the Imperial Palace, and the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum.

“The students in the orchestra have done an incredible job to prepare what we needed to be able to have a successful trip,” Alexander said. “The trip itself will be amazing. In addition to being able to tour some amazing places, we will perform three incredible concerts, spend time with Chinese Conservatory Orchestras, and learn about Chinese instruments and culture.”

In addition to the piece by Chen Yi, the orchestra will also perform "West Side Story" by Leonard Bernstein, Symphony #4 by Tchaikovsky, and "Escapades" from "Catch Me If You Can" by John Williams, which will feature guest soloists Sam Skelton and John Lawless. Skelton is director of jazz studies at KSU; Lawless is instructor of percussion studies.

"The invitation to perform in China is another extraordinary achievement for the KSU Symphony Orchestra, which has achieved a remarkably high level of success in a short period of time,” College of the Arts Dean Joseph Meeks said. “Under the direction of Michael Alexander, in just six years, the orchestra program has grown in size and talent and has greatly benefited from the collaborative opportunities with guest artists and other arts organizations. The tour in China is a natural progression for this growing and vibrant program."

For more information contact professor Michael Alexander at 770-862-5414.



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