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Music and Power Concert: Renowned violinist Bin Huang performs

02/19/2013

Internationally renowned Chinese violinist Bin Huang will perform the
Internationally renowned Chinese violinist Bin Huang will perform the "Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto" with the symphony orchestra March 1
An international conference on "Music and Power," organized and sponsored by the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies, will be held at Miami University Feb. 28-March 2. As part of the conference, a Gala Concert will be held at 8 p.m. Friday, March 1, in Hall Auditorium.

Internationally renowned Chinese violinist Bin Huang will perform the “Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto” with the Miami University Symphony Orchestra, directed by Ricardo Averbach.

During the Gala Concert, Miami’s Chamber Singers, directed by William Bausano, and Collegiate Chorale, directed by Jeremy Jones, will combine under the direction of Averbach to perform Prokofiev’s “Cantata Alexander Nevsky” - one of the hallmark choral works of the 20th century and one of Prokofiev's most popular compositions. Mezzo-soprano Mari Opatz-Muni, associate professor of music at Miami and director of the opera program, is the soloist.

Molly Jones, senior music performance major and winner of Miami’s 2012 Concerto Competition, will perform Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 with the symphony orchestra.

Bruce Murray, chair and professor of music, will give a pre-concert lecture at 7:15 p.m. in Hall Auditorium.

Tickets, $10 general and $5 students/seniors, are available at the Miami box office, 529-3200.

Bin Huang: Only violinist to win top awards in the three top international competitions

The Miami University Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Oct. 2012 (photo by Jeff Sabo)
The Miami University Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Oct. 2012 (photo by Jeff Sabo)
“Bin Huang will perform one of her greatest specialties: the lush 'Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto,'" Averbach said. “We are thrilled that she accepted to play with a student orchestra. This speaks to how humble a great artist can be, as she recently performed the same concerto with the National Orchestra of China on an international tour in the U.S.”

Huang’s visit is also special since this year is the first that Chinese students are in the orchestra, according to Averbach.

“This concerto is a wonderful mix of the Western symphonic tradition with Chinese folk music and vocal techniques," according to Averbach.

Composers Zhanhao and Gang originally wrote the concerto for a Western violin, imitating the sound of the erhu, a traditional bowed Chinese instrument.

After an initial good reaction to the work in the late 1950s and early '60s, the Chinese Cultural Revolution condemned Western culture. The individualist nature of the story as well as its non-atheistic connotations were considered anti-Communist. As a result, the young composers as well as the violinist who premiered the piece were arrested for crimes worse than murder.

"Cantata Alexander Nevsky"

“Prokofiev’s 'Cantata Alexander Nevsky' was a natural choice for the Music and Power concert,” Averbach explained.
The Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall, Oct. 2012
The Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall, Oct. 2012
“It transports us to the 13th century for a tale of war, treason and the power of the common people united by a hero.” Its famous 30-minute battle sequence has influenced everything from Laurence Olivier's “Henry V” (1944) to the “Star Wars” films.

“Prokofiev and Stalin were contemporaries and died almost simultaneously - their funerals happened on the same day, with a multitude of people attending Stalin's funeral and almost nobody at Prokofiev's,” said Averbach.

Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1

“Shostakovich is perhaps the most important Soviet composer involved in the struggle between music and power during the Stalin era,” according to Averbach.

Molly Jones will perform Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto, with which she won the Concerto Competition and the Havighurst Center Special Award last year.

The concert is sponsored by the Havighurst Center with support from the department of music and the Confucius Institute at Miami University.

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