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Symphony Band China Tour - May 2011

Beijing National Center for the Performing Arts

Beijing National Center for the Performing Arts

The University of Michigan Symphony Band, led by Michael Haithcock, Director of University Bands, will tour China beginning May 7, 2011 with violin soloist Xiang Gao, following a “bon voyage” concert in Hill Auditorium on Thursday, May 5th.  The Symphony Band, comprised of woodwind, brass and percussion instruments, is considered one of the leaders of the modern wind band movement in America. Hailed for its “breathtaking precision and detailed, polished, and expressive phrasing,” (American Record Guide) the Symphony Band will bring its artistry to Hangzhou, Shanghai, Xi'an, Shenyang, Beijing and Tianjin, before presenting a “welcome home” performance in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 29th in Los Angeles with an event presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The Symphony Band’s tour repertoire features premieres of new works by U-M composition faculty William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, Kristin Kuster, and Bright Sheng. Other works include arrangements of traditional Chinese folk songs, classical works such as the Shostakovich Festive Overture and Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and popular modern works such as themes composed by John Williams’ for the Star Wars movies  and George Gershwin’s Rumba.

The tour, generously sponsored by the University of Michigan Provost's Office, Office of the President, the University of Michigan Confucius Institute and Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), will provide University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance student musicians the opportunity to perform in China’s great cities and concert venues, while learning about Chinese culture firsthand. Students will act as musical ambassadors, inviting Chinese students and audiences to interact with an American-style concert band and hear new American music. To prepare our musicians for this immersive experience, the 80 undergraduate and graduate students participating in the tour will take a 10-week course in Chinese culture, history, geography and basic language skills during the winter 2011 term. The course will prepare Michigan students for the tour, which in addition to performances will include cooperative learning and teaching opportunities at Chinese universities and conservatories.


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