Great Performances in China

UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance invited to two prestigious festivals

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance Wind Symphony Chamber Players performed as a featured ensemble at the Beijing Modern Music Festival and the Tianjin May Festival in China.

Students and faculty performed in three concerts. The first concert was the 2014 Beijing Modern Music Festival, which, according to its web site, “is an influential modern musical event in China, and … one of the most important modern music festivals in the world.” They performed twice at the Tianjin Conservatory of Music’s (TJCM) May Festival. The TJCM is one of the leading conservatories in China.

“The invitation to perform at the Beijing Modern Music Festival and the Tianjin Conservatory is an honor that extends UMKC’s international reputation in the arts,” said Peter Witte, dean of the Conservatory. “Steven Davis, the Conservatory Wind Symphony and our dancers performed beautifully. Chen Yi and Zhou Long have helped create particularly rich connections between Kansas City’s conservatory and our sister conservatories in Beijing and Tianjin.”

Davis is the director of bands, professor of conducting and the conductor of the UMKC Conservatory Wind Symphony Chamber Players. He conducted performances and taught master classes at the TJCM.

Other faculty on the tour includes Chen Yi, Zhou Long, dance professor Sabrina Madison Cannon and cello professor Carter Enyeart. The UMKC Conservatory faculty members taught master classes in China, working with students from the Tianjin Conservatory of Music.

Enyeart, the Rose Ann Carr Millsap/Missouri Distinguished Professor of Cello and Chamber Music at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, was the soloist for Suite for Cello and Chamber Winds, a composition for solo cello and eight winds by UMKC’s composition professor Chen Yi.

The program for the concerts was a collection of music by significant American composers as well as composers with ties to UMKC. The program includes John Adams’ Son of Chamber Symphony, Jennifer Higdon’s Zaka and Evan Chambers’ longing for peace in the garden of lost children. The program included the premiere of Conservatory alum Narong Prangcharoen’s Echoes of Silence as well as a performance of Chen Yi’s Suite for Cello and Chamber Winds. Chen Yi is the Cravens/Millsap/Missouri Distinguished Professor at the Conservatory of Music and Dance.

The UMKC Conservatory Wind Symphony Chamber Players are comprised of the finest wind, string and percussion students at the Conservatory. The ensemble is guided by a philosophy that seeks to expose its students and its audiences to the highest quality of music available.

The Conservatory Wind Symphony has a rich history of creative programming and collaboration. Numerous compositions have been written for this esteemed ensemble by some of the world’s leading composers. In 2012, the Symphony performed with the PRISM Quartet in the renowned Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The group has collaborated with Pulitzer Prize-winning composers including John Corigliano, Bernard Rands Steven Stucky and the Conservatory’s Zhou Long, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize; as well as Conservatory composers Chen Yi, Jim Mobberley and Paul Rudy.

UMKC Conservatory dance students Sarah Frangenberg and John Swapshire performed during Prangcharoen’s Echoes of Silence. Madison-Cannon, associate professor of dance and associate dean of undergraduate studies in the Conservatory of Music and Dance, choreographed the dance. Watch their spontaneous performance at the Great Wall of China.

Prangcharoen received his DMA in composition from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, where he studied with Chen Yi. He was the winner of a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2013 Barlow Prize. He is currently the composer-in-residence for the Pacific Symphony in Orange County, California, as well as the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra. Prangcharoen is the founder of the Thailand International Composition Festival.

Adams is one of the most significant American composers of the late 20th and early 21st century. His music is regularly performed around the world by leading orchestras and performers. He is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Grawemeyer Award and several Grammy Awards. The UMKC Conservatory Wind Symphony Chamber Players performed his Son of Chamber Symphony on the programs in Beijing and Tianjin.

Tours like this require great support.

“We are grateful for the assistance we’ve received from the UMKC Conservatory Alumni Society, the Friends of the Conservatory and members of the Conservatory Advisory board to help send our students and faculty abroad,” Witte said.

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