ROCHESTER, NY — The Beijing Viola Ensemble from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, will pay a special visit to the Eastman School of Music on February 18-19, as part of a cultural tour to America. The group — featuring 15 Chinese national student violists — will present a special concert from noon-1p.m., Wednesday, February 19, in Kilbourn Hall (26 Gibbs St.). The performance is free and open to the public.
The Ensemble, directed by Wing Ho — an acclaimed soloist and chamber musician and chair of the viola department of the Central Conservatory — was formed in January 2000. Many of its members are winners of national viola competitions in China and selected to attend the Conservatory. (The youngest member is 13 years old.) The group has performed in major cities of China, as well as in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada, and the U.S.
In addition to the performing in the concert, the Chinese students will take part in master classes led by Eastman viola professors John Graham and George Taylor, while Ho will listen to performances by Eastman viola students. The Chinese visitors also will tour the School and dine with students and faculty during their two-day visit.
“This will be an unusual and moving experience,” said Graham, who coordinated the Ensemble’s visit to Eastman. A distinguished musician and teacher who has performed as soloist and in chamber music ensembles around the world, Graham was instrumental in the initial development of the viola department at the Central Conservatory as a visiting artist there in the early 1980s. His most recent of three visits took place in May 2001.
After its visit to Eastman, the Ensemble will continue its U.S. tour with a trip to Boston.