Downtown Artists Unite for China’s Earthquake Victims and UNICEF

Benefit Poster

New York – The Players Theatre will host Hands together: New York Artists Gather for China Earthquake Relief to Benefit UNICEF presented by Matrix Music Collaborators on June 14, 2008, 3pm, 115 MacDougal Street (between W3rd and Minetta Lane) in Greenwich Village, New York. Admission is $45 / Package of Four for $125. All proceeds will go to U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Tickets can be obtained through TheaterMania (www.theatermania.com) at (212) 352-3101. For individual donations, please visit www.unicefusa.org/ert for U.S Fund for UNICEF.

On May 12, 2008 the largest natural disaster in a generation struck Sichuan province in China.

According to date recently collected by UNICEF, more than 10,000 school buildings in Sichuan were badly damaged by the earthquake. Almost 7,000 schools were completely destroyed and many others suffered partial damage. UNICEF estimates that the number of school children affected is in the millions. Most of these children are now trying to continue their schooling in temporary shelters and tents. Precise figures are still very difficult to obtain. As the death toll from the earthquake exceeds 68,000, according to official estimates, the needs of survivors are growing daily. At least 300,000 people were injured and 5 million displaced. Now in the aftermath we can see that the scale of the humanitarian crises before us is truly staggering. Supplies are being rushed to the five million are literally without shelter. Like so many Americans we stand together with the people so deeply affected by this massive earthquake to find ways to help.

This special performance will feature an international line up of artists to include Min Xiao-Fen; Wu Na; Huang Ruo; members of the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre; Asian American Writers’ Workshop; the cast of puppeteers from Peter and the Wolf and Matrix Music Collaborators. It is geared for all ages.

Program:

Drunken Man by Jiu Kuang, based on a famous poet of the western Jin dynasty (265 -420)

Blue Pipa (inspired by Miles Davis) by Min Xiao-Fen

The North of Sunset
by Thelonius Monk, arr. by Min Xiao-Fen

Mo (dedicated to the victims of the Sichuan earthquake) by Min Xiao Fen and Wu Na

Performed by Min Xiao-Fen, pipa / Wu Na, qin

Four Fragments for solo violin
by Huang Ruo

Performed by Yoon Kwon, violin

Oblivion by Astor Piazzolla

Performed by Matrix Music Collaborators

Excerpts from The Joy Luck Club

a play by Susan Kim, adapted from the novel by Amy Tan with direction & musical staging by Tisa Chang

Performed by Pan Asian Repertory Theatre

“Super Cop World” video installation featuring mighty Mario and Jackie Chan

Designed by Eric Siu

Peter and the Wolf, Op. 57 by Sergei Prokofiev

Performed by puppeteers: Deborah Hertzberg; Serra Hirsch; Daniel Irizarry; Mary Robinette Kowal; Chris McLaughlin; Jessica Scott; Meghan Williams, and Jodi Eichelberger, directed by Jane Catherine Shaw and Terry O’Reilly with Matrix Music Collaborators under the direction of Sheryl Lee

Readings by published authors from Asian American Writers’ Workshop

Internationally known for her virtuosity and fluid style, Min Xiao-Fen has influenced countless Chinese musicians and her influence expands to players of all instruments and beyond China as well. She is a breathtaking virtuoso and courageous pioneer in both orchestral and underground projects, plays traditional and modern composition and her interpretations of the music of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis, as well as her own experimental music for the pipa. She played solo concerts at the Utrecht International Lute Festival, the Vienna Music Festival, the Brussels Lute Festival and the New York Guitar Festival and performed a solo set of the music of Thelonious Monk for Jazz at Lincoln Center. www.bluepipa.org

Wu Na began to learn guqin at nine. She graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in 2004 being conferred the master’s degree of quqin, and joined the Central Ensemble of the Folk Music as a guqin player. In 2002, she won the champion in the young professional group of The National Youngsters’ Game of Art – Solo Game of Chinese Traditional Instruments sponsored by the Ministry of Art. In 2004 to 2007, she was invited by Cuijian and Dou wei, the Chinese rockstars, to be the guqin player with the way of the improvisation to participate in their solo concert and publications etc. In 2005, became the host of “silkcottonhouse”, which is a traditional culture and arts studio of Chinese.

Brief history about the pipa and qin:

The history of pipa goes back two thousand years. The Chinese sound “pipa” is made when it’s plucking: the downstroke is ‘pi’, the upstroke is ‘pa’, is a four stringed, pear-shaped with a crooked neck. A very difficult instrument to master – there are more than 70 techniques used to play the pipa – it has six inverted frets and up to twenty-four bamboo frets, and the strings are tuned A-d-e-a.

Qin or Gu Qin is also known as seven-string qin. Qin’s history spans for about three thousand years. Qin music is the most effective form of musical expression that displays the spirit and essence of the Chinese ethnic musical culture

Sergei Prokofiev’s classic Peter and the Wolf is re-imagined by Mabou Mines co-artistic director Terry O’Reilly and Jane Catherine Shaw to speak to the experience of children newly immigrated to the USA as well as young native New Yorkers. The ensemble players of the Matrix Music Collaborators becomes a playground for the puppets – a garden of delight for Peter and his animal friends and safety from the wolf outside the gate. featuring puppets from the famed Guangxi region of China to animate this best known of all compositions for children. Puppet design is by Simon Wong, artistic director of Ming Ri Institute for Arts Education Ltd. in Hong Kong. Additional puppets by Mary Robinette Kowal and Jane Catherine Shaw.

Recipient of the 2007 Asian Cultural Council Grant, visual artist, Eric Siu is currently doing his residency at Location One in New York. His ‘Super Cop World’ video installation features mighty Mario and Jackie Chan in a slapstick Wonderworld. Super Cop World is just an innocent play with a fictional action movie and imaginary classical video game. Jacky Chan’s fictional action collage is a coincidental match with Super Mario’s runs and jumps. www.ericsiuart.com

Oblivion (1984), a melancholic and one of the most celebrated works by Astor Piazzolla, represents the peak of his popular acclaim. Re-imagined by Sheryl Lee with studio tracks and mixing by Ted and Maurice Clayton of One20 Productions.

Matrix Music Collaborators, a New York-based innovative chamber ensemble presents interdisciplinary collaborations through the unique approach of bridging dance, theater, visual art, film and poetry with classical, experimental, contemporary and world music, sharing the stage with an international roster of accomplished musicians. These artists maintain their busy schedules touring all over the world as soloists and recording artists, while performing with the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Lincoln Center, and at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals such as Aspen, Tanglewood, Spoleto, Verbier in Switzerland, to name a few. www.thematrixmusiccollaborators.com

Hailed by The Wall Street Journal as “strikingly assured,” Huang Ruo ‘s music has been performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Wolfgang Sawallisch, the Juilliard Symphony under James Conlon, the American Composers Orchestra, the ASKO Ensemble, the Nieuw Ensemble, Dutch Vocal Laboratory, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Da Capo Chamber Players, the Albany Symphony, IRIS Chamber Orchestra, Sioux City Symphony, and the Queens Symphony Orchestra that commissioned and premiered his violin concerto, just to name a few. His music has been played in the Carnegie Hall Weill Recital Hall, the Avery Fisher Hall (Lincoln Center), the Alice Tully Hall (Lincoln Center), the Miller Theatre, the Symphony Space, the Academy of Music (Philadelphia), the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Harris Concerto Hall (Aspen), the MUZIEKGEBOUW AAN ‘T IJ (Amsterdam), the Paradiso Hall (Amsterdam), and the City Hall (Hong Kong).

Huang’s work has been spotlighted on National Public Radio (NPR), Radio-Finland, Radio-Sweden, Radio-Amsterdam, Radio-Canada and Radio-China. He was invited to give lectures and forums at the New York University, Columbia University, the Aspen Composers’ Forum, the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, the Shanghai conservatory of Music, the Guangzhou Conservatory of Music, and was a visiting composer at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the University of Georgia. In 2006, he has been selected as a Young Leader Fellow from the U.S. – China National Relationship Committee. www.huangruo.com

For more than 30 years, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, guided by founding Artistic Producing Director, Tisa Chang, has been creating critically acclaimed and innovative Off Broadway premieres for audiences in New York City, nationally and internationally. Pan Asian Rep celebrates the artistic expressiveness of Asian and American theatre artists working under the highest standards of professional excellence. Pan Asian Rep has produced over 100 productions, with highlights including last fall’s “The Joy Luck Club”; “Rashomon”, which toured to Havana, Cuba; and the masterpiece, “Shogun MacBeth”, coming this November to the Julia Miles Theater. www.panasianrep.org

Established in 1991, The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Inc., is a nonprofit literary arts organization founded in support of writers, literature and community, devoted to the creating, publishing, developing and disseminating of creative writing by Asian Americans. www.aaww.org

Built in 1907 and converted into a theatre in the late 1940’s, The Players Theatre has been a jewel in the midst of beautiful Greenwich Village, serving as a magnet for performing artists and their audiences. The theatre has been home to such long run productions as An Evening with Quentin Crisp, Psycho Beach Party and Ruthless starring an 8yr old Brittany Spears, Natalie Portman and Legally Blonde the Musical’s Laura Bell Bundy. The theatre is now home to the controversial comedy The Feminazi starring Suzanne Willett, and the famous Café Wha?, which has been a Greenwich Village mainstay since the 1960’s. www.theplayerstheatre.com

Contributing sponsors include Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, bluepipa,Inc., Players Theatre, C. Bechstein Pianos, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, Matrix Music Collaborators, Asian American Wrtiers’ Workshop, Mabou Mines and PS 122.

About UNICEF:

For more than 60 years, UNICEF has been the world’s leading international children’s organization, working in over 150 countries to address the ongoing issues that affect why kids are dying. UNICEF provides lifesaving nutrition, clean water, education, protection and emergency response saving more young lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. While millions of children die every year of preventable causes like dehydration, upper respiratory infections and measles, UNICEF, with the support of partnering organizations and donors alike, has the global experience, resources and reach to give children the best hope of survival. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicefusa.org.

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