Review: Juilliard’s Festival of Chinese Composition

Posted on: February 2, 2018

“Westerners have learned a lot in recent decades about Chinese contemporary music as it relates to our own, mainly through an influx of gifted Chinese composers and performers,” writes James R. Oestreich in Monday’s (1/28) New York Times. “But as the Juilliard School’s Focus! Festival 2018 showed over the last week, we still don’t know the half of it. Joel Sachs, the event’s director, chose the subject, ‘China Today: A Festival of Chinese Composition,’ because the school is about to establish a campus in Tianjin, a city of 15 million near Beijing. And he unearthed a rich source, to judge from a scintillating chamber concert on Jan. 22 and the sensational orchestral concert that concluded the festival on Friday. Mr. Sachs set out, he wrote in the program booklet, ‘above all to feature composers living and working in China.’ But the music had to use mostly Western instruments, specifically those taught at Juilliard, since the goal of this annual festival is to involve the students with new music. The stunningly visceral final concert, with the Juilliard Orchestra conducted by Chen Lin in Alice Tully Hall, presented three works by veteran composers.”

Posted February 2, 2018