From messiah suite to 'Jasmine Flower'

(shanghai daily)
Updated: 2007-01-19 09:24

In total darkness, the ocean waves crash and roar. Then gradually the dawn comes and the sun rises over the sea.

"By the Ocean," a composition of New York-based Chinese pianist Julian Yu, will begin next Saturday in darkness with the sounds of pounding waves.

"With music that sounds like sea waves, the light will gradually turn on and give a feeling of 'sun rising from the sea'," says Yu.

The next piece, "Lost in the Forest," will continue the story and take audience into a mysterious forest.

Shanghai-born Yu won a full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music in 1994, and he received a master's degree in music in 2001.

Seven years ago he staged his Shanghai debut with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra featuring Beethoven's sonata and Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2."

Last year he reappeared as a New Age pianist in modern romantic style and staged two sell-out concerts of his own compositions as well as adaptations from theme songs of popular South Korean movies and TV series.

This concert will be much larger in scale and feature Yu's newest creations, two messiah suites for which Yu has drawn original music from Haydn, Mozart and Bach.

He will premiere a Kyrie and Gloria, sung in Greek by 60 male vocals.

In New York, Yu is in the habit of composing small, romantic pieces as a kind of diary to release the stress of living and studying away from home.

Three years ago friends persuaded Yu to send a demo to the YBN, a South Korean recording company. Yu became the company's first Chinese artist.

"I prefer simple, pure composing. No action notes," says Yu, who couldn't write a note for weeks after returning to Shanghai because it was so hard to calm down in our bustling, busy city.

He says each composition is inspired by his own experience or the stories of friends. For instance, "Recap-Ocean" was written immediately after he broke up with his Chinese girlfriend 10 years ago. "Tears" was written when one of Yu's Chinese friends in New York told him in tears of the death of her South Korean boyfriend in a car accident.

In addition to playing messiah suites and sentimental compositions, Yu will also play his adaptations of famous Chinese folk songs like "Jasmine Flower" and Steve Curtis Clapman's "We Will Dance."

South Korean conductor Jum Nan Se will conduct the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra for the concert, also highlighted by performances of South Korean pianist Rho Aera and Japan-based Chinese singer Amin.

Date: January 27, 7:30pm
Address: Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong
Tickets: 80-880 yuan
Tel: 021-962-288


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