Musical Lecture-Performance

Rhapsody in Yellow

A Lecture-Performance with Two Pianos

Ming Wong

World premiere: 22 September 2022, steirischer herbst ’22 | German premiere

An international piano competition, a table tennis match, two improvising pianists: At a time of rising tensions between the US and China, artist Ming Wong presents a musical lecture-performance that traces the Sino-American “ping-pong” diplomacy.

Two pianists sit opposite each other at two pianos. In the background is a large screen that also shows a pianist sitting at a grand piano, in front of an orchestra led by a conductor.
  • 1 h 15 min, no interval
  • In English with German subtitles

Past Dates

At a time of rising tensions between the US and China, artist Ming Wong presents a musical lecture-performance that traces the Sino-American “ping-pong” diplomacy, starting with President Nixon’s historic state visit to Communist China and his meeting with Chairman Mao fifty years ago. Evoking an international piano competition and a table tennis match, two classical pianists collaborate and improvise on a performative unification of the sonic regimes of the US and China.

In a ping-pong double concerto accompanied by archival moving images and spoken word, they explore the role of European classical music, modernism, and myth-making in the rise of these two nations in the 20th century. From table tennis and television to tanks and trade wars, “Rhapsody in Yellow” charts the changing balance of power between the US and China, in a duet of discord and harmony, chaos and serendipity, humor and pathos.

Cast

Ming Wong Concept,Text and Video
Henry Hao-An Cheng Musical Direction
Ben Kim, Mark Taratushkin Piano
Music conceived by Ming Wong and Henry Hao-An Cheng, arranged by Christopher Schlechte-Bond
Liam Morgan Cinematography and Lighting
Konstantin Sichart Vision Mixing
Guo Liu, Alex Booth Foyer Exhibition Display
Mariko Mikami Production Management

Commissioned by steirischer herbst ’22 and Singapore Art Museum
Produced by steirischer herbst ’22

The description of the performance was written by the curators of steirischer herbst ’22. We would like to thank for the kind and uncomplicated provision of these materials.