Concert at KU will spotlight Asian and Pacific Islander cultures, composers

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A University of Kansas School of Music concert this weekend will highlight music from Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAAPI) cultures and composers.

The concert, which includes a pre-show talk, is the first event from a new student-led group at KU, the Asian Classical Music Initiative.

“In response to nuanced racial politics in conversation with the classical music field, a handful of KU graduate students in music have recently established the first student-driven ACMI in the United States with hopes for racial justice and celebration of diversity,” according to a news release.

The talk will be led by Zhengyingyue (Elaine) Huang, ACMI President and graduate student, and it will “explore Asian composition culture and communities in the Western world and the creative influence and experiences of musicians living in the Midwest.”

Panelists include Mo Zhou, Director of Opera at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC); Dr. Forrest Pierce Professor of Music Composition at KU; and Dr. Yi-Yang Chen, Professor of Piano at KU and the advising faculty member of ACMI.

The concert will feature 26 musicians — KU School of Music faculty members, students and alumni.

“It’s a gathering that has never been seen in the Midwest classical music industry. In this unprecedented concert, we will show the interaction, similarities, and unique identities of different musical cultures,” Huang said via email. “We hope to promote cultural and artistic exchanges between the East and the West through our own solidarity.”

Admission is free. The pre-concert talk will start at 7 p.m. and the concert at 7:30 this Saturday, Oct. 16 at Swarthout Recital Hall, 1530 Naismith Drive.

The event is cosponsored by the School of Music and the Center for East Asian Studies, and in collaboration with the Kansas City Chinese Association and Kansas Chinese School North.

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