Review: World premiere of Du Yun’s multimedia “Where We Lost Our Shadows”

Posted on: January 30, 2019

At the Southbank Centre’s five-day SoundState festival in London, the “central event, in a concert on a theme of migration and exodus by Aurora Orchestra, was the world premiere of Where We Lost Our Shadows by Du Yun, the Shanghai-born composer and performance artist now based in New York, in collaboration with the Palestinian film-maker Khaled Jarrar,” writes Fiona Maddocks in Sunday’s (1/27) Guardian (U.K.). “Thunderous, virtuosic gusts of percussion, played by the Japanese-born Shayna Dunkelman, heralded this composition, in which the Pakistani singer Ali Sethi embroidered exquisite raga material around the colors of western orchestral sounds, eventually joined, to ethereal effect, by the British mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston (who also sang, terrifically, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen). The film element, showing young Syrian refugees on the road, was overwhelming, nearly threatening to topple the music but done with beauty and seriousness. Describing all the elements risks ending up like a table of world flags. The experience was quite different: unifying and powerfully resonant.” Where We Lost Our Shadows is jointly commissioned by the Kennedy Center with Carnegie Hall, American Composers Orchestra, London’s Southbank Centre, and Cal Performances. The U.S. premiere takes place on March 31 at the Kennedy Center with Joseph Young leading the Peabody Modern Orchestra. 

Posted January 30, 2019