On President’s Day, Monday, February 16 at 7:00 pm, Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) is proud to present Two Cultures—One Dream at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium

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 Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY)


Two Cultures — One Dream






Yellow River Cantata 


Monday, February 16 at 7:00 pm ~ Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall


For Immediate Release, January 29, 2014 New York, NY …  On President’s Day, Monday, February 16 at 7:00 pm, Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) is proud to present Two Cultures—One Dream at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium. The powerful program pairs two major works: the world premiere of Exodus by Memphis-based composer Earnestine Rodgers Robinson, renowned for her moving oratorios on spiritual themes, and conducted by DCINY Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Jonathan Griffith; and the historic Yellow River Cantata – written by composer Xian Xinghai in 1939 to encourage the Chinese people to take up arms against their invaders – under the baton of DCINY Debut Conductor Jie Yi.  Outstanding choruses hailing from China, Taiwan, New Zealand, and across North America will make up the Distinguished Concerts International Chorus which will be heard with the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra.


Visiting composer Earnestine Rodgers Robinson is deeply inspired by scripture in her large-scale compositions. Her previous oratorios, The Crucifixion and The Nativity, were premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1997 and 2001, respectively, and have been widely acclaimed by audiences and the media. Exodus, a four-part oratorio with narration, passionately depicts the story of the enslaved Israelites living in the land of Egypt; their deliverance from Egyptian captivity; and their ultimate triumph in reaching the Promised Land. Exodus was arranged and orchestrated by Heather Sorenson. The premiere performance will feature narrators Michelle McKissack and Pastor James T. Meeks.


The historic Yellow River Cantata, incorporating both Chinese and Western musical styles, was written in 1939 by Xian Xinghai with lyrics by Guang Weiran. In November of 1938, Weiran himself led a Squad of the “Anti-Enemy Troupe” across the Yellow River and into the communist anti-Japanese headquarters in the Lüliang Mountains. During his journey, he witnessed the local boatmen battle against heavy gales and torrential waves and heard their spirit-lifting songs. Upon reaching Yan’an in January 1939, Guang wrote a patriotic poem entitled “Yellow River” which he recited during the Chinese New Year celebration.  Xinghai, who studied at the Conservatoire de Paris and returned to China in 1935, was present at the recital and was moved to write a cantata based on Weiran’s poem. The Cantata soon spread to many parts of China to inspire its listeners to participate in the Anti-Japanese War. The work’s movements include the “Boatmen’s Song,” as the men struggle against the Yellow River’s torrents; along with praises for the river’s grandeur and strength; and emotional, tearful laments, contrasted with optimistic passages, sung with strength and vitality. The powerful conclusion, “Unleash your Anger, the Yellow River,” symbolizes the river’s greatness, passionately rousing the Chinese people to stand strong against their oppressors. The DCINY performance will feature baritone Chai-lun Yueh, soprano Ana Isabel Lazo; tenor Tshombe Selby; and baritone Brian Wahlstrom.


DCINY Debut Conductor Jie Yi is Resident Conductor of Shanghai Opera Chorus and a teacher at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. In 2010, he was awarded the “Huang He Fellowship” sponsored by Asian Culture Council to study at the Metropolitan Opera with Chorus Master Donald Palumbo. Previously, he studied in Paris with Maestro John Nelson. Additional teachers include Seiji Ozawa, Neeme Jarvi, and Parvo Jarvi, and Yi was assistant conductor to Maestro Lorin Maazel for the “Symphony Open Day” with the New York Philharmonic. Mr. Yi has conducted the Ensemble Orchestra de Paris, Estonian National Youth Orchestra, Parnu City Orchestra, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Shanghai Opera House Orchestra & Chorus and Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, among others.


An acclaimed conductor, educator and lecturer, Jonathan Griffith has led performances across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Griffith is the 2014 winner of The American Prize in Conducting, in the professional orchestra division. The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit competitions designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States. In naming Griffith as its winner, the American Prize judges specifically noted his “energetic” and “committed” performances. Jonathan Griffith is co-founder and artistic director of DCINY which has brought together, under Griffith’s artistic leadership, thousands of musicians and choral singers in concert at prestigious venues across the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Disney Hall.


Distinguished Concerts International New York Founded by Iris Derke (general director) and Jonathan Griffith (artistic director and principal conductor) Distinguished Concerts International is driven by passion, innovative vision, a total belief in its artists, and unwavering commitment to bringing forth unforgettable audience experiences. DCINY is a creative producing entity with unmatched integrity that is a talent incubator, a star-maker, and a presenter of broadly accessible, world-class musical entertainment. For more information about upcoming DCINY musical events around the world, please visit: www.DCINY.org.


Tickets: $20 – $100

Available at www.carnegiehall.org, by calling 212-247-7800

or at the Carnegie Hall Box Office (57th Street & 7th Avenue)





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