Oratorio Chorale ventures into world music with Orchid Ensemble

Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2012 in Culture

Oratorio Chorale ventures into world music with Orchid Ensemble

The members of the Vancouver-based Orchid Ensemble include Lan Tung on the erhu (Chinese violin), Jonathan Bernard on percussion and Yu-Chen Wang on the zheng (Chinese zither). During the week of April 25-29, the trio will perform with the Oratorio Chorale, and present school programs.

BATH — On the weekend of April 28-29, the Oratorio Chorale will bring a new and innovative program to two venues on the coast of Maine, as part of a five-day residency with the Vancouver-based Orchid Ensemble. During the week the Orchid Ensemble will provide school presentations of East-West music, and a program of Chinese-Jewish music of the Asian Diaspora.

The musical programs are billed as “Cold Fusion,” in which the Oratorio Chorale will perform with the Orchid Ensemble’s Lan Tung, of Taiwan and Canada, on the erhu (Chinese violin), Yu-Chen Wang, of Taiwan and the U.S., on the zheng (Chinese zither), and Jonathan Bernard (Canada) on percussion. This ensemble blends these ancient instruments and traditions from China and beyond.

The music sung by the Chorale will include Stephen Paulus’ “Meditations of Li-Po,” the eighth century Chinese poet, the melodious “Ting Song” (Listening to the Pines) by Hua Yan-jun, and additional music by Moshe Denberg and Janet Danielson.

The school programs will feature instruments, music and stories from China and around the world. Student participation will be offered at Morse High School, at Bath Middle School, the Merriconeag Waldorf School in Freeport, and for students at Temple Beth-El in Portland.

In addition, a free special program of Jewish/Chinese fusion music will be presented at Temple Beth-El at 7 p.m. April 25.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Among other music that evening, the Oratorio Chorale will perform a composition by Moshe Denberg. Based on the Orchid Ensemble’s “Ten Thousand Miles to Kai-Feng,” this program explores the Jewish presence along the Silk Road and in China, from the seventh century and beyond. It features music that combines Jewish and Asian traditions.

Oratorio Chorale and Orchid Ensemble performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. April 28 at Montgomery Theater, Morse High School, Bath; and at 3 p.m. April 29 at Woodfords Congregational Church, 202 Woodford St., Portland.

Tickets to the weekend concerts are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, students half price, children under 12 free. For ticket information, call (207) 798-7985, or visit www.oratoriochorale.org for ticket venues. This program occurs with support from the Alfred Patterson Fund/Choral Arts New England and the Sam L. Cohen Foundation.

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