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Musicians and Dancers in New York Take Part in Weiwuying Relay Challenge of Bach's Music

  • Date:2020-05-01

The National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying), Taiwan(衛武營國家藝術文化中心 )initiated an on-line “Music Playing of Musical Offering” project on April 3(Taiwan Time), inviting musicians and performers, whether in Taiwan or from overseas to take part in this music relay challenge.

Several musicians and performers, living in or associated with New York City when now the city has become the epicenter of Coronavirus Pandemic in America, choose to respond to the relay challenge with passionate energy, and create variations of Johann Sebastian Bach's "Musical Offering (BWV 1079).”, with uploading video clips of them playing either the whole piece or an excerpt in its original form or in their own arrangement on their Facebook.

Taiwanese Vibraphonist/ Composer Yuhan Su(蘇郁涵), collaborating with her good friends, pianist Yuying Hsu(許郁瑛) and visual artist, Nung Hsin Hu made an outstanding video, which is a “Canones Diversi by Bach literally after night-n-day’s efforts” The three partners finished this piece together, while they are actually living separately in New York, Los Angeles and Taiwan. Yuhan said, “It has been a lovely/ intense experience producing this video with the help and love from my musical sister Yuying and great friend visual artist NungHsin, also thanks Betsy for the mixing. It reminds me no matter where our body stuck at, our mind, music soul, still can flow, share, and deliver.”

Janet Yieh(葉懷真), organist and Isabel Ong(翁馨怡), violinist did likewise, they created their version of Bach’s Trio Sonata I. Largo, BWV 1079, playing their own instruments at their homes in New York and South Carolina. On the contrary, Hsin-Yun Huang (黃心芸), who now serves on the faculties of Juilliard and Curtis, was able to play “really together” a version of Bach with her husband Misha Amory, violinist of Brentano String Quartet and their son Lucas, pianist at their home in New York City.

Dancer I-Ling Liu (劉奕伶), living and working in New York City, accepted the challenge from her friend, Ya Ting Chang(張雅婷), who is the first one taking the challenge as a dancer in Taiwan. They both used the original version of Bach’s Music offering as background music to choreograph. I-Ling’s dance incorporated with her daily life and makes the whole video truly represents a stay-at-home reality as a New Yorker at this time.

Having been a New Yorker himself, the founder/ bandleader Vincent Hsu (徐崇育) launched his musical career in New York City. The Vicent Hsu & Soy La Ley Afro-Cuban Jazz Band(徐崇育 & Soy La Ley 古巴爵士樂團), which performed their world premier “Hola Pops! The Latin Side of Louis Armstrong”last year in New York, also took up the relay challenge and posted their version of Bach with Afro-Chuban Jazz style on Facebook. 

The whole relay challenge brings the courage for peopel at this pandemic time to imagine the otherwise, adding color to all our life now. Like what the Weiwuying General and Artistic Director Chien Wen-pin (簡文彬) said, "Although we may be unable to perform on stage, we can still spread our thoughts on music through the Internet,” arts continue in its own way.