East meets West as Grammy nominated musician Wu Man and the award-winning Miró Quartet perform a Festival co-commissioned world premiere work "Gardenia" by Chinese composer Xiaogang Ye.
Rarely is a western audience the first to experience new music from this legendary Chinese artist. The performance marks Wu Man's return to the Festival—recognized as the world's premier pipa virtuoso—and the Festival debut of the Austin, Texas-based, internationally touring Miró Quartet.
Composed for string quartet and Pipa (a traditional Chinese instrument), "Gardenia" was commissioned in 2016. This work is among the subtropical plants series of composer Xiaogang Ye’s works, in which include "Enchanted Bamboo," "Hibiscus," "Datura," "December Chrysanthemum," "Scent of Green Mango," etc. These works show the Southern-originated musician’s sensitivity and attention to the natural environment in a country of the Far East.
"Gardenia" indistinctly means eternal joy in Chinese context. It is born in a moist natural environment with a kind of faintly fragrant scent; its white color is of high aesthetic value to Asians. And it is usually used as food and medicine in South Asia. The gardenia honey is with mild sweet and faint sweet. The Gardenia is also a city flower of Yueyang City, which is a quiet and distant small city located in Hunan Province, South of China. When composing this work, the composer adopted folk operas and folk songs in the area of Yueyuang, showing his yearning and a sense of loss to the beautiful scenery in South China.
Co-Commissioned by the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, La Jolla Music Society, and Chamber Music Northwest. Commissioned with support from Charles T. Clark. Made possibly by the Fund for the Future.