Professor Kui Dong's Premiere at Tanglewood

Watch the premiere of Kui Dong’s ‘A Night at Tanglewood’ at the 2017 Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music on their YouTube channel.

Recent reviews:

Classical Voice America

The Boston Musical Intelligencer, Brian Schuth, August 12, 2017:

"As exciting as world premieres of new works are, the fact is that most fail to hold the attention after they end. I am happy to report that the premiere on this program, Kui Dong’s A Night at Tanglewood, bucks that trend. Born in China, Dong is based at Dartmouth College. While she has written many works that explore her own East-West dynamic, A Night at Tanglewood does not do so explicitly. Instead, it examines resonance and collaboration within the context of the string quartet. As it opens, only the cellist is in her typical position. She holds long high notes as the remaining three players stand at a table at the far left of the stage, playing water-filled glasses tuned to a microtonal scale. This texture of long, high, gently interfering sounds is the heart of the piece. When one player strikes the glasses with wooden sticks, the effect is electric. Eventually the players leave the glasses and, one by one, pick up their instruments and play, while walking to their traditional positions. Simple music boxes have a role as well, sending cascades of notes into the haze. As music, it holds ear and attention, if one has the patience to wait for the sounds to evolve (but never resolve). The visual aspect of the work is crucial yet not intrusive. Something of a narrative is implied: near the end of the work the cellist rises for the first time, and walks to the glasses, turning the handle of a music box as she walks. The music box is both charming and alienating, as it demands only minimal effort from the musician to achieve its effect. Beautiful and haunting and thought-provoking, the piece was given a thoroughly committed performance by the 2017 New Fromm Players: Samantha Bennett and Xiaofan Liu, violins, Mary Ferrillo, viola, and Francesca McNeeley, cello.”

 

(Photo courtesy of Kui Dong)

 

(Photo by Hilary Scott)