Programs Offerings

Chopin – Nocturne Op. 48, No. 2
Ryan Francis – Etude La Fee Verte
John Cage – The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs
Jarosław Kapuściński – Where is Chopin?

Contemporary Chinese–American pianist Jenny Q Chai presents a multi–sensory program that takes audiences on an emotional journey looking for the “Chopin” inside each one of us. The program opens with a poetic Chopin nocturne, followed by a virtuosic etude quoting Chopin waltz by contemporary American composer Ryan Francis, finishing with a large–scale audiovisual work by Polish composer and Stanford University Music Department Chair, Jaroslaw Kapuściński: Where is Chopin?.

Kapuściński’s Where is Chopin? is a performance installation that examines the perceptions and emotions on the faces of people around the world as they listen to Chopin’s Preludes Op. 28. These expressions are shown with re–composed essences of the music. Kapuściński says, “To obtain the images, I travelled to 12 cities around the world to hold listening sessions with volunteers. In each country I collaborated with a local photographer or cinematographer. For me, the piece is almost a social experiment: Are the reactions different by culture, or are they different by gender or generation? How does music touch people from completely different backgrounds, professions and cultures?” Through the many facial expressions examined during the work’s video installation, Where is Chopin? acts as a contemporary opera in today’s digital era.

Jenny Q Chai (piano) with New York Philharmonic musicians Qianqian Li (violin), Quan Ge (violin), Leah Ferguson (viola), and Qiang Tu (cello)

Robert Schumann – Piano Quintet, Op. 44
– Intermission –
Steve Reich – Clapping Music
Andy Akiho – Prepared Piano Quintet “The War Below”

The friendship between pianist Jenny Q Chai and New York Philharmonic violinist Qun Ge  blossomed during their teenage years studying at Philadelphia’s renowned Curtis Institute of Music. Now, both internationally recognized performers in their respective fields, the two friends realized that they’d never performed on stage together, and noted the very different paths they’d each taken to get to where they are today, Quan being a long–term tenured violinist at NY Phil and Jenny being a contemporary solo pianist who programs daring concerts, mostly featuring living composers and modern technology. Although both musicians live and work in completely different musical environments, the two musicians have always admired and respected each other’s differences and strengths.

Developed during a conversation at the iconic Magnolia Bakery in New York City,  The War Below highlights the similarities between  classical western art music and contemporary classical music, as well as the way in which the two genres and the two long time friends complement one another. Andy Akiho’s music employs both rhythm and polarizing emotions, while Reich’s Clapping Music uses only rhythm for impact and Schumann’s piano quintet emphasizes extreme musicality and emotions.

Schumann – Chopin from Carnaval
Satie – Gymnopedie Mvt. 1
Debussy – Prelude, La fille aux cheveux de lin
Debussy – Prelude, Feux d’artifice
Debussy – Etude, Pour les huit doigts
Schoenberg – Three Piano Pieces, Op. 11, No. 3
Webern – Variations for Piano, Op. 27, No. 2
Andy Akiho – Response Pieces I Homage a Webern: Transparency
Ives – Concord Sonata, Mvt. 3 “Alcotts”
Ives – Song, Dream
Ives – Song, Memories
Stockhausen – Klavierstuck VIII
Messiaen – Catalogue D’oiseaux: VIII. L’Alouette Calandrelle
Ligeti – Musica Ricercata No. 1 and No. 7
Kurtág– “Quiet Talk with the Devil” from Jatekok: Les Andieux
Cage – The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs
Akiho – Synesthesia Suite Karekurenai (Crimson) for prepared piano
Annie Gosfield – Brooklyn, Oct. 5, 1941
Richard Sussman – Spirit Guide

Inspired by her radio shows at Shanghai Media Group 94.7FM, which is broadcast to over 2 million Chinese listeners, Jenny Q Chai draws a musical map for modern audiences, tracing the history of how contemporary music comes from distinguished predecessors, and how geographical regions and cultural aesthetics in music influence and react to each other. The program is a guided listening tour for those who have insatiable musical curiosity about the evolution of music.

Sonorous Brushes

Group 1:
Debussy – Douze études, No. 3, Pour les quartes
Debussy – No. 6, Pour les huit doigts
Debussy – Préludes Book II, No. 11, Les tierces alternées
Debussy – No.12, Feux d’artifice

Group 2:
Frédéric Durieux – Pour tous ceux qui tombent—Hommage à RAVEL
Ravel – Oiseux tristes
Messiaen – Cantéyodjayâ

Group 3:
Jarosław Kapuściński – Calligraphies for ZiQi
Kapuściński – Side Effects

Just as painters and visual artists employ the vast range of colors in the chromatic spectrum, composers and performers use the endless sonic spectrum to create and evoke musical worlds. As a pianist and an amateur painter, Jenny Q Chai has discovered a personal form of synesthesia—a melding of senses—in regard to how I experience music. This all–French program presents repertoire that truly lives at the intersection of color and sound, exploring this meeting of the senses. While practicing and preparing each piece of music, Chai seeks to translate her mental imagery into the real world, both through musical performance and on canvas.

In order to fully realize this program, Jenny Q Chai completed a four–month residency at Cité des Arts in Paris, where she worked simultaneously on the musical performance and the paintings of each score. In the 2019–2020 season, Jenny tours with the results of this process, offering a simultaneous performance of music and display of her visual art, united for the audience, just as they are in Jenny’s own personal experience.

Fittingly, the repertoire of this program pays homage to the most important French composers of the Impressionistic era, the period of musical innovation that is perhaps most strongly tied to a corresponding visual artistic movement. Watch Jarosław Kapuściński’s Side Effects

Jenny Q Chai is pleased to offer the following concerti:

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Piano Concerto  

Marco Stroppa (b. 1959)
Upon a Blade of Grass (1996)

Matthew Aucoin (b. 1990)
Piano Concerto (2016 – general availability fall 2018)

Philippe Manoury (b. 1952)
Zones de turbulences (2013, with pianist Adam Kośmieja)

Peter Eötvös (b. 1944)
CAP-KO (Concerto for Acoustical Piano, Keyboard and Orchestra) (2005)

Esa-Pekka Salonen (b. 1958)
Piano Concerto (2007)

Beethoven (1770-1827)
Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15
Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37

Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor (Op. 25)

For more information, please contact:

Nina Moe, Managing Representative, ARIEL ARTISTS