Tan Dun to Lead Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in The Map: Concerto for Cello, Video and Orchestra, October 11-14
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon composer's multimedia work draws on sounds and scenes from his native China
Baltimore, Md. (September 4, 2007) - Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dun will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in concerts featuring his own multimedia concerto, October 11, 2007 at the Music Center at Strathmore and October 12-14 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Titled The Map of Asia, this Explorer series program will include Dun's The Map: Concerto for Cello, Video and Orchestra, with BSO Principal Cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn as soloist. Weaving video and audio recordings of traditional Chinese musical performances with original compositions for Western orchestra, the work recalls Tan's memories of his youth in the Hunan province of China. Also on the program are Borodin's Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor and Shostakovich's Overture on Russian and Kirghiz Folk Themes. The Map of Asia is the first program in the 2007-2008 Explorer series which, this season, highlights the music of Asia, the British Isles and Latin America. Each program features works by contemporary composers from that region. See below for complete program information.
Among the most sought-after composers today, Tan Dun has earned acclaim for his compositions for stage, screen and concert hall. As a conductor, he has appeared with ensembles all over the world, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and last season with the Metropolitan Opera, conducting the world premiere of his opera The First Emperor. Editor's note: In addition to these concerts, on October 10 at Theatre Project, Tan Dun will participate in the BSO's "Composers in Conversation," a new lecture series offering patrons a unique opportunity to engage with each of the 11 composers featured in the 2007-2008 season. See www.BSOmusic.orgfor complete program details.
As with many of Tan Dun's compositions, The Map ventures into the non-traditional, blending the sounds of a Western orchestra with multimedia elements and unusual instruments such as stones and Chinese drum. For Tan, his work traces a spiritual journey back to his musical roots in China after his exposure to Western music and culture following the 1981 Cultural Revolution. Central to the piece are field recordings, filmed by Tan himself, of musical life in Hunan, China. Dun's score calls for the orchestra and solo cello to interact with the music from the videos, often imitating or developing the sounds from the Tujia, Miao and Dong cultures. Annotator Ken Smith illustrates this concept in program notes for the premiere performances: "In a particularly striking example, Tan draws on… Miao vocal tradition by having the solo cello on stage engage a singer on the video screen. Suddenly, a musical structure originally intended to communicate across mountain villages and open fields navigates entirely new boundaries of time, place and culture."
Paired with The Map is Shostakovich's Overture on Russian and Kirghiz Folk Themes. Shostakovich wrote the overture in 1963 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic's voluntary incorporation into Russia. Similar to Dun's inspiration for The Map, Shostakovich utilizes folk themes he observed during a visit to the Kirghizstan. Both The Map and Overture on Russian and Kirghiz Folk Themes receive their BSO premieres on this program. The works were also performed together when Tan Dun conducted the world premiere of The Map with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2003.
Rounding out the musical trip across Asia will be the Polovtsian Dances from Alexander Borodin's opera, Prince Igor. Popularized by the song "Stranger in Paradise" from the 1953 hit Broadway musical Kismet, the Dances are a staple of the modern orchestral repertoire. Although most often performed as a concert piece, in the opera the Dances serve as accompaniment for the slaves of the Polovtsian Khan as they dance to entertain the captured Prince Igor. Regarded as one of the most important historical Russian operas, Prince Igor was left incomplete upon Borodin's death in 1887. The score was completed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov and the opera premiered in St. Petersburg in 1890.
Tan Dun, conductor and composer
The conceptual and multifaceted composer/conductor Tan Dun has made an indelible mark on the world's music scene with a creative repertoire that spans the boundaries of classical, multimedia, Eastern and Western musical systems. A winner of today's most prestigious honors - the Grawemeyer Award for classical composition, Grammy Award, Academy Award (Oscar) for the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon film score, and Musical America's "Composer of The Year" - Tan Dun's music has been played throughout the world by the leading orchestras, opera houses, international festivals, and on radio and television. Recent compositions include a new opera, The First Emperor, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, which premiered on December 21, 2006 with Tan Dun conducting; Secret Land for the Berlin Philharmonic; Paper Concerto for The Los Angeles Philharmonic; the opera Tea: A Mirror of Soul for Suntory Hall and The Netherlands Opera; and The Map: Concerto for Cello, Video and Orchestra for Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony. Tan Dun's latest film score is for prolific director Feng Xiaogang's The Banquet, with the CD soundtrack released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2006. His current commissions include a new work for pianist Lang Lang and The New York Philharmonic to premiere in 2008.
Based in New York, Tan Dun was born in Hunan, China. Having served as a rice-planter and performer of Peking opera during the Cultural Revolution, he later studied at Beijing's Central Conservatory. There he encountered Western classical music for the first time, discovering a range of 20th-century repertoire previously suppressed in China. Tan Dun soon became the leading composer of the "New Wave" of contemporary music in China, which embraced a new cultural pluralism in the arts that began to develop in the early 1980s. Tan Dun moved to New York in 1986 upon receiving a scholarship from Columbia University, where he completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree (1993).
Ilya Finkelshteyn, cello
Praised by The Washington Post as a "complete master of his instrument," cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. In 2002, he became principal cello of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Yuri Temirkanov. Prior to that, Mr. Finkelshteyn was a member of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for five seasons under the late Hans Vonk.
Prizewinner of such competitions as the Concertino Praga, Russian Cello Competition, the WAMSO International Competition, the Aspen Concerto Competition, and the Chautauqua Concerto Competition, Ilya Finkelshteyn has appeared as a soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Saint Paul Civic Orchestra, the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra, and the National Repertory Orchestra.
Ilya Finkelshteyn started his education at the Special Music School at the St. Petersburg Conservatory under the tutelage of Sergei Chernyadiev. After immigrating to the United States, he studied one year at the University of Minnesota School of Music with Tanya Remenikova and six years at the Juilliard School with Harvey Shapiro, where he was coached by Felix Galimir, Samuel Sanders, and members of the Juilliard String Quartet.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Explorer Series: The Map of Asia
Thursday, October 11, 2007 at 8:00 p.m.-The Music Center at Strathmore
Friday, October 12, 2007 at 8:00 p.m.-Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 8:00 p.m.-JMSH
Sunday, October 14, 2007 at 3:00 p.m. - JMSH
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Tan Dun, conductor Ilya Finkelshteyn, cello
Shostakovich-Overture on Russian and Kirghiz Folk Themes
Borodin-Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor
Tan Dun-The Map: Concerto for Cello, Video and Orchestra
Special anniversary pricing for the 2007-2008 season at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall is made possible by generous underwriting from the PNC Foundation.
Subscriptions are on sale now and single tickets go on sale August 23.
Single tickets for the performance at the Music Center at Strathmore start at $21.
Unreserved seating for the performances at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall starts at $15.
For more information, contact the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or www.BSOmusic.org.