The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) will run unprecedented workshops where composers and performing musicians work hand in hand to create music for public performance.
This is one of the major initiatives proposed by Prof James Z Lee, Dean of Humanities and Social Science at HKUST, in consultation with Prof Bright Sheng, a world-renowned composer who will be visiting HKUST regularly in the capacity of YK Pao Distinguished Professor.
“At present, composers and performers are different groups of musicians and they do not often communicate with one another. As a result, composers often fail to produce what is best for the performers and the audience. The aim of our proposed workshop is to enable composers and performers to convene and to refine new musical works,” said Prof Lee.
Planned to be implemented in the Spring Semester of 2011, each workshop will last two weeks. First, the composer will produce a preliminary piece of work and pass to the performers to perform. Each week, the composer and performers will discuss and continuously refine specific compositions, and at the end of the week, a public concert on campus will be held where the semi-refined or refined work will be performed. These concerts will hopefully be repeated downtown to make the program more accessible to the Hong Kong general public
“The workshops will afford great diversity. The works will encompass Western and Chinese music of various genres, and will involve local and overseas composers and performers,” said Prof Lee.
“While we frequently listen to music, we don’t often have the chance to meet with the creators of music and learn how they compose their works. I am sure the opportunities we offer will be tremendously inspiring to our students,” Prof Lee added.
A range of classes and lectures on music theory and music appreciation will be delivered by Prof Sheng and several other invited composers, starting in the Fall Semester of 2010.
Prof Sheng is a world-class Chinese-American composer whose stage, orchestral, chamber and vocal works are performed regularly in North America, Europe and Asia.
One of his notable achievements was in 1999, when US President Bill Clinton invited him to create a new work honoring then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji at the White House. In 2001 Professor Sheng was named a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellow.
Prof Sheng is currently Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor of Music at the University of Michigan.
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