Humanity First 路 Jenny Q Chai Christmas Piano Concert

Humanity First 路 Jenny Q Chai Christmas Piano Concert

Shanghai Centre Theatre
4F, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu Jing'an Shanghai
Choose Session:
This ticket is only available as a paper ticket
Humanity First 路 Jenny Q Chai Christmas Piano Concert

Humanity First 路 Jenny Q Chai Christmas Piano Concert

Shanghai Centre Theatre
4F, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu Jing'an Shanghai
180 - 680
Paper ticket

Event details

馃憠 Receive Paper Tickets via Express Delivery
馃憠 Children Under 1.2m Not Permitted
馃憠 Duration: 70 min.
馃憠 No Cancellation

The program Humanity First-We Are All In This Together is a strong reflection during this pandemic period. It includes themes of global warming and Covid-19 responses.

With the world going more and more divided and nationalistic over the last few years, in a strange way, the pandemic is almost like a reset button by nature, to remind us that we are all in this together.

Globally, we are all experiencing very similar circumstances, such as quarantine life, the lack of PPE and basic needs for survival, the lack of in person contact, the lack of jobs and security, the fears of uncertainty and the yearning for health, security, love and connection.

Globally, we are experiencing the same kind of difficulties, and yet trying to survive, to adapt, to thrive and to hold on to hope. It is a heightened time for us to remember to unite together as earthlings. We must take care of our earth, global health systems, global strategizing, communications and plannings, in order to survive together. We much work together to slow down the global warming, and to create a safer environment for the whole world to live in. During this pandemic, it is even more so the chance to reveal the perseverance of humans beings as a race.

The earthlings will prevail, if we stay together!

For many years, I have been creating thematic programs for issues to reflect our current society, such as my global warming program Acqua Alta with NASA data visualizations. Last year, I gave a TEDx talk on when Classical Music Meets Technology, which is essentially what I do as a pianist. Over the years, I asked myself, what’s the true purpose of being an artist, a performing artist? Art needs to reflect the current state of our world, and to raise awareness in people about social issues. It’s something an artist could do to make a difference!

The pandemic and climate change can be looked at as scientific topics, yet they are also extremely human experiences. We are all living with it, enduring it and in the same, trying to find ways to improve it.

The neuroscientist António R. Damásio wrote in his book, Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain, “Emotions and the feelings are not a luxury, they are a means of communicating our states of mind to others. But they are also a way of guiding our own judgments and decisions. Emotions bring the body into the loop of reason.”

In other words, modern science has discovered, emotion is an even more powerful way to drive our decisions.

Music moves people on an emotional level, beyond logic. That is why I believe my program will make an impact on the audiences who go to the performance.

On top of that, I have incorporated visual elements throughout the program, including NASA data visualizations. Visual stimulation is the primary sense of humans. Thus, I believe, my audiovisual program will have an even bigger force to impact the audiences.

I would like to invite the audiences to participate in an improvisation event, bringing any instrument they have, and newspaper articles about the pandemic and climate change.

I would like to have audiences organized in groups, each group sharing some personal experiences with these topics, and determine one main emotion.

Then, I will conduct an improvised performance with the groups, with the pre-determined emotions and orders. With predesigned parameters, audiences will have the freedom to choose the key words they would like to say, sing, or hum, and play the instruments they bring. For my conducting, I will need to have a piano, a bell, and a toy piano possibly. We will truly celebrate the moment form of performing art together, expressing our feelings and wishes on these pressing social issues.

Track List

Jaros艂aw Kapuscinski Oli’s Dream                                        

Jaros艂aw Kapuscinski Calligraphy for Ziqi                                    

Milica Paranosic Bubble (in trouble) with bubble machine and lights              

Ligeti Musica Ricercata No.7 with NASA global warming data visualizations

Ligeti Musica Ricercata No.1 with NASA global warming data visualizations


Tan Dun C-A-G-E for Fingerings                                           

Jaros艂aw Kapuscinski Side Effects (2017)                              

Jacob Charles Twisted Loops (2021)for piano and electric ring                 

Steven Sondheim Into the Woods arrangement by Andy Akiho with paintings by

Camryn Connolly

Steven Sondheim Into the Woods arrangement by Andy Akiho with paintings by Camryn Connolly                                                           

A fairytale told by prepared piano.

A prepared piano is a piano that has had its sounds temporarily altered by placing bolts, screws, mutes, rubber erasers, and/or other objects on or between the strings. Its invention is usually traced to John Cage's dance music for Bacchanale (c. 1938), created without room for a percussion orchestra. Typical of Cage's practice as summed up in the Sonatas and Interludes (1946–48) is that each key of the piano has its own characteristic timbre, and that the original pitch of the string will not necessarily be recognizable. Further variety is available with use of the una corda pedal.

Jenny Q Chai being one of the most well-known contemporary pianists internationally, and a student of John Cage’s students, introduced prepared piano to China for the very first time, together with pianist Piotr Tomasz in 2012.

Composer’s note on arranging this piece. Andy Akiho: “the first time i listened to it i loved the concept of Into the Woods—being lost in and confused by the woods, and the consistent and driving rhythms of the opening prologue. i was also intrigued by Sondheim’s innovative and witty use of spoken narrative against his catchy melodies, particularly during each character’s introduction. My goal in re-imagining this pro- logue was to orchestrate each character’s personality with the use of prepared piano—for example, dimes on the strings for the cow scenes, poster tack on the strings for door knocks and narrated phrases, and credit card string-clusters for the wicked witch. My goal was to portray each char- actor’s story and mystical journey using exotic piano timbres in place of text.”

Dr. Chai came across Camryn Connolly’s paintings when she submitted her painting for global warming painting contest accompanying Dr. Chai’s global warming program Acqua Alta, her painting was a prize winner. Among many paintings, Dr. Chai was especially impressed by Connolly’s works and decided to pair her paintings with Into the Woods, to describe the state of our world and our current reactions and situations regarding our environment.

The piece has a lot of space to breath between each sound figure, symbolizing the Chinese aesthetics of Leaving White Space (Liú Bái 鐣欑櫧) in calligraphy paintings. Thus giving listeners the impression of a bigger and airy soundscape.

The two improvisatory sections give its performer the chance to make the piece more personal, and echos with John Cage's Music of Change and I-Ching, the so called Moment Form, where every performance is absolutely unique and different.

— Peggy Monastra and Jenny Q Chai

An artist of singular vision, pianist Jenny Q Chai is widely renowned for her ability to illuminate musical connections throughout the centuries. With radical joie de vivre and razor-sharp intention, Chai creates layered multimedia programs which explore and unite elements of science, nature, fashion, and art. The New Yorker describes Chai as “a pianist whose dazzling facility is matched by her deep musicality.”

Based in both Shanghai and San Francisco, Chai’s instinctive understanding of new music is complemented by a deep grounding in core repertoire, with special affinity for Schumann, Scarlatti, Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, and Ravel. She is a noted interpreter of 20th-century masters Cage, Messiaen, and Ligeti, and her career is threaded through with strong relationships and close collaborations with a range of notable contemporary composers, including Jaros艂aw Kapu艣ci艅ski, Cindy Cox, Andy Akiho, and György Kurtág. With a deft poetic touch, Chai weaves this wide-ranging repertoire into a gorgeous and lucid musical tapestry.

Chai is also a vital champion and early tester of the groundbreaking synchronous score following software program, Antescofo. Developed at IRCAM by scientist Arshia Cont, the software offers a real time computer and animation response to live performance elements, enabling performers to create multimedia presentations of sophisticated and expressive fluency. Chai explored and helped hone Antescofo in residence at IRCAM alongside frequent collaborator Jaros艂aw Kapu艣ci艅ski, and has since toured internationally with the software offering multimedia performances in Shanghai, New York, Havana, and elsewhere. In September 2019, Chai is giving a TEDx Talk in Shanghai titled When Classical Music Meets Technology.

Being a student of John Cage’s students, Chai is the first person who brought prepared piano to China, together with Polish pianist Piotr Tomasz.

Other notable highlights include her 2012 Carnegie Hall recital debut; many performances at (le) Poisson Rouge, including a 2016 Antescofo-supported program, Where’s Chopin?; her 2018 Wigmore Hall debut with a program exploring the relation between color and sound; lectures and recitals at Shanghai Symphony Hall, Shanghai Concert Hall, and Shanghai Mercedes Benz Arena; a featured performance at the Leo Brouwer Festival in Havana, Cuba; Philippe Manoury’s double-piano concerto, Zones de turbulences, at the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music with duo partner, pianist Adam Ko艣mieja and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; and much more.

Her immersive approach to music is also channeled into her work with FaceArt Institute of Music, the Shanghai-based organization she founded and runs, offering music education and an international exchange of music and musicians in China and beyond. In summer 2019, Chai oversees FaceArt’s first ever month-long Co-Creation Summer Festival, which invites International piano and composition faculty. Additionally, Chai served on the Board of Directors of the New York City-based contemporary music organization Ear to Mind, and has published a doctoral dissertation on Marco Stroppa’s Miniature Estrose. Beginning with the 2019-20 season, Jenny Q Chai is a piano faculty member of the University of California Berkeley and an alumni mentor at Curtis Institute of music and a career mentor at Manhattan School of Music.

Chai has recorded for labels such as Deutschlandfunk, Naxos, ArpaViva and MSR. In 2010, she released her debut recording, New York Love Songs, featuring interpretations of works by Cage and Ives among others,  and her most recent recording, (S)yn(e)sth(e)te, was released by MSR Records in 2017. She can also be heard on Michael Vincent Waller’s Five Easy Pieces and Cindy Cox’s Hierosgamos. Her Schumann Kreisleriana recording will be released next year with Divine Arts.

The recipient of the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust’s 2011 Pianist/Composer Commissioning Project, the DAAD Arts and Performance award in 2010, Chamber Music America commissioning award and first prize winner of the Keys to the Future Contemporary Solo Piano Festival, Jenny Q Chai studied at the Shanghai Music Conservatory, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and in Cologne University of Music and Dance. Her teachers include Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Seymour Lipkin, Solomon Mikowsky, Marilyn Nonken, and Anthony de Mare


Date&Time: 2021. Dec. 25 Sat. @19:30

Venue: Shanghai Centre Theatre

Tickets: 锟680/480/380/280/180 

[Early Bird] 30% discount on tickets purchased before 25 November 15:00

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Humanity First 路 Jenny Q Chai Christmas Piano Concert

Shanghai Centre Theatre
4F, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu Jing'an Shanghai
Choose Session:
This ticket is only available as a paper ticket
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