Tafelmusik takes new Mandarin version of
The Galileo Project on tour to Asia
Orchestra makes debut at prestigious Beijing Music Festival
Toronto (Canada) … Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra takes a new Mandarin-language version of its multi-media concert experience The Galileo Project: Music of the Spheres to China this fall for appearances that are part of a tour including stops in Malaysia and South Korea. The Asia TourGalileo Project has been expanded to include Chinese astronomy and music. One of Tafelmusik’s most successful international exports, The Galileo Project has now been seen in Mexico, Canada and the United States and continues to attract invitations from presenters around the world. Toronto audiences will be able to experience the original version of The Galileo Project this season from March 2 to 6, 2011 at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre.
The Asia tour begins in Kuala Lumpur with two performances on October 18 and 19 at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas and an education concert at the National Planetarium, home of theMalaysian National Space Agency (ANGKASA). On October 21 and 22, Tafelmusik makes its highly-anticipated debut at the prestigious Beijing Music Festival, including a concert at the Forbidden City Concert Hall. At the end of the tour, three Tafelmusik musicians will run an intensive five-day residency at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea. Chinese-Canadian musician Wen Zhao and bilingual American actor Jonathan Kos-Read, a well known film and television personality in China, join Tafelmusik for the performances in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.
Recognized as “one of the world’s top baroque orchestras” (Gramophone), Tafelmusik exports not only “superb, idiomatic performances” (Globe and Mail), but captivating ideas that translate into unique concert experiences. The Galileo Project is one such experience, created by bassist Alison Mackay to commemorate the International Year of Astronomy. The Galileo Project is a concert programme celebrating the fusion of arts and science, featuring a multidisciplinary team including the Orchestra, astronomers, a stage director, a set and lighting designer, and astronomical photographers.
For the Mandarin version of The Galileo Project, Mackay has incorporated historical information about several Chinese astronomers, as well as the haunting sound of the pipa (a Chinese stringed instrument) performed by Wen Zhao, who appeared in Tafelmusik’s Four Seasons Mosiac DVD. American actor Jonathan Kos-Read, who enjoys star status in China as a TV and film star, performs both the English and Mandarin versions of the Galileo script.
The repertoire for the Chinese edition includes music from the time of Galileo by composers Monteverdi and Merula, together with astronomically-themed music by baroque composers such as Rameau, Handel, Zelenka, and Bach. The second part of the programme begins with a reflection on the achievements of the brilliant 12th century Chinese astronomer Guo Shoujing set against a backdrop of ancient music for the pipa.
The international impact of The Galileo Project has been enormous: a Spanish-language version premiered at Mexico’s Cervantino Festival last fall, broadening Tafelmusik’s reach to Spanish-speaking audiences of the world. The original English-language version also travelled to Los Angeles, Kansas City, Santa Barbara, and San Diego earlier this year, earning unanimous praise from American critics and audiences: “Shattering stereotypes about baroque music-performance practice, Tafelmusik revealed … that the age was animated, colorful, cosmopolitan and sexy, and its artists … profoundly in touch with the human condition.” (Santa Barbara News Press)
The Galileo Project’s impact is also being felt beyond the concert stages of the world: the project was nominated as Canada’s entry in the International Year of Astronomy’s 2009 Prize for Excellence in Astronomy Education and Public Outreach. In November 2009 The Galileo Projectwas the subject of a feature article in Hubble Space Telescope’s CAP Journal (Communicating Astronomy to the Public), and was the December 2009 cover story for International Arts Manager, a UK publication. In April 2009, the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid discovered by Canadian astronomer David Balam in Hawaii “197845 Tafelmusik” in the Orchestra’s honour.
The Galileo Project premiered in Toronto in January 2009 to great critical and audience acclaim:“Simply put, this is one of the best, most imaginative shows based on classical music seen here in years …” (Toronto Star).
“Tafelmusik is proud to represent Canada internationally on major tours this season,” states Music Director Jeanne Lamon. “It’s really important that the best Canadian artists go out in the world to remind people that Canada is an important force culturally, as well as politically and economically. I believe we live in one of the finest countries in the world, and I'm very proud to represent Canada on the world stage. Our job as cultural ambassadors is an extremely important part of our raison d'être.”
Visit Tafelmusik’s website for more information on the Asia tour dates and concert venues. A video excerpt of The Galileo Project can be seen on YouTube.
Tafelmusik Season and Asia Tour Sponsor:
Tafelmusik gratefully acknowledges the support of its partners in government:
Tafelmusik’s Season Radio Sponsor is The New CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.