Jon Jang presented at SF Jazz Festival 2010!
Jon Jang will be presented at SF Jazz Festival 2010!
Jon Jang at SF Jazz Festival!
Jon Jang: Angel Voices: Rhapsody on Angel Island Poetry
Sunday, October 24, 3PM
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
$30 General Admission | $50 Premium - Click here to buy tickets
Over his brilliant career, Bay Area based pianist-composer Jon Jang has performed many stimulating and thought-provoking works which often document key points in Chinese history, including The Chinese American Symphony; Island: The Immigrant Suite No. 2; and Tiananmen! This performance is the World Premiere of Angel Voices: Rhapsody On Angel Island Poetry, based upon poems written by Chinese, Japanese and Russian Jewish immigrants who were detained on Angel Island from 1910-40. The work features poet Genny Lim and a chamber jazz ensemble comprised of pipa (Chinese lute), woodwinds and a rhythm section. Min Xiao-Fen, the pipa soloist, spent ten years playing with the Nanjing Traditional Music Orchestra of China. Since moving to the U.S., she has appeared with such notables as Randy Weston, Wadada Leo Smith, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Björk. “Two Flowers on a Stem” is one of Jon Jang’s favorite metaphors and aptly describes his collaboration with Min Xiao-Fen for this exceptional performance.
The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra has launched California Compositions, an ambitious multi-year project to celebrate the states greatest achievers in the arts and other fields by commissioning new works of music in their honor and premiering them in the Sacramento area.
The first of these commissioned works is by composer Andr Previn. It honors internationally-acclaimed Sacramento painter Wayne Thiebaud and will premiere on October 14, 2006 at the Sacramento Community Center Theater. The second project, Gold Mountain, a tribute to the Chinese, will feature new works by Jon Jang and Gang Situ, January and April 28 of 2007, respectively.
Future projects will honor the accomplishments of specific ethnic groups in the state, using these new works to generate community dialogue regarding diversity, as well as common themes of humanity.
Music review: 'Symphony' hits the mark
By Edward Ortiz - Bee Arts Critic
April 30, 2007
Some works are so descriptive and thematic they can't help but be thought of as program music.
Jon Jang's vivid one-movement work "Chinese American Symphony" is one of those. That was clearly evident in the Sacramento Philharmonic's performance of the work Saturday at the Community Center Theater. It was the highlight of a deceptively scattershot program that included Sibelius's Symphony No. 7, Ottorino Respighi's "Pines of Rome" and Brahms's "Tragic Overture."
Jang's work begins with the slow rhythmic strike of an anvil, and 20 minutes later ends with a haunting variant of the same. The anvil strike is a sonic signifier of spikes driven into the ground by Chinese immigrants during the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.
"Symphony" is highly evocative music that clearly hits the musical mark of what the Philharmonic's groundbreaking Gold Mountain commission project set out to achieve.
click here to read more
Jon Jang: Echoes of history
By Edward Ortiz - Bee Arts Critic
From Sacramento Bee
The sound of a hammer striking an anvil is what ends the musical journey of Jon Jang's "Chinese American Symphony."
It's the sound that resonated across the valleys, peaks and tunnels of the Sierra in the 1860s, when Chinese immigrants laid miles of track from sunrise to sunset during the building of the transcontinental railroad.
"The ending of this symphony is very spiritual," said Jang.
That's because Jang, who is a descendant of Chinese immigrants, sees the ending of the work as a sonic symbol of the beginning of the Chinese American immigrant experience in California.
It's a beginning of sorts for Jang, too. [click here to read more]
Jon Jang melds his music and his history for a 'naturalized,' timely jazz groove
from the San Francisco Chronicle
Chinatown was destroyed along with much of San Francisco in the earthquake and fire of 1906. But because this was a time of severe discrimination against Chinese and Chinese Americans -- the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 barred Chinese from entering the country because they were deemed a threat to U.S. workers -- San Francisco politicians had different plans for Chinatown.
In telling this story, local pianist and composer Jon Jang quotes from one of the many books he owns about the Chinese experience in the United States: "Chinese San Francisco, 1850-1943: A Trans-Pacific Community," by Yong Chen (Stanford University Press).
"The earthquake did not bury anti-Chinese sentiments," Chen says in the book. "Numerous newspaper reports of the Relief Committee's serious discriminatory practices prompted President Roosevelt to inquire into the situation. Acts of violence against the Chinese persisted as well. In one incident a Chinese who went back to his former residence on Sacramento Street was stoned to death 'by Western rascals.' (reported in The Chinese-Western Daily).
"Just a few days after the quake, San Francisco Mayor E.E. Schmitz promptly told the police chief that all Chinese should be placed at Hunter's Point on the southern end of the city."
It was only the Chinese Empress Dowager's influence and cash contributions that persuaded the mayor to rebuild Chinatown where it was, Chen reports. more
(from the San Francisco Bay Guardian - 8 Days a Week June 1-8)
From the ashes Composer and pianist Jon Jang has played a groundbreaking collision of Asian and western music since his emergence in the 1980s. His new piece, Sweet Whisper of a Flower, is a suite of compositions commissioned by the East Bay Community Foundation and the EastSide Arts Alliance to commemorate the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and resultant founding of Oakland's Chinatown. In the piece Jang recontextualizes Chinese folk melodies with settings that, as he puts it, look Chinese but don't act Chinese. His group, the Jon Jang Seven, performs the work in progress about musical, generational, and cultural regeneration during the "Jazz at Intersection" summer series. Notable musicians in the ensemble include tenor saxophonist Francis Wong and trombonist Wayne Wallace, who also serves as music director. 8 p.m., Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia, S.F. $12-$15. (415) 626-3311, www.theintersection.org. (Fong)