Identity: Zhongshang Zhuang
is a striking and distinctive piece that combines the richness of the Western orchestra with a 3800-year-old Chinese folk instrument. Coupled with a grant to subsidize travel and accommodations for a guzheng virtuoso, the piece represents an opportunity for your orchestra to create a rare and memorable musical event.

Identity: Zhongshang Zhuang was commissioned in 2009 by Hanyi Inc as an effort to combine the musical traditions of Western and Chinese culture in a piece that would be accessible to international audiences. A romantic orchestral concerto setting provides the backdrop for the guzheng, a Chinese zither ancestral to instruments such as the Japanese koto or Korean gayagaeum. The concerto shows off the guzheng's mesmerizing timbre and lightning agility in a unique blend of the familiar and the exotic.

A collaboration between American composer Michael Gordon Shapiro and Chinese producer/composer Victor Cheng, Identity bears the musical signature of both Eastern and Western musical traditions. The piece's stage history includes performances in the United States, Canada, and several cities in mainland China, most notably by Beijing's China National Symphony Orchestra. Janen Music is now making the piece available to American orchestras for the first time.





Identity is programmatic, evoking a fictional but all-too real story of a family separated by the Chinese civil war. The three movements correspond to the outbreak of war, the desolation of a former officer isolated from his family, and the triumphant reunion generations later. The story may optionally be conveyed to audiences verbally or in program materials, but is not necessary in order to enjoy the piece.

Recognizing that most American orchestras don't have access to a guzheng player, Hanyi Inc will subsidize travel and accommodations for a renowned guzheng virtuoso, Su Chang - effectively providing a soloist for the piece at no cost to the host orchestra! This offer is made possible through a grant offered by Hanyi, motivated by a desire to help share this music more widely throughout the United States, and to introduce American audiences to the guzheng. The grant will be awarded to up to six qualified orchestras for performances in 2014 to 2016. The hosting orchestra must commit to a serious performance of the music and is responsible for ground transportation and ground instrumental cartage for Su Chang (airport to/from hotel, hotel to/from venue). The orchestra will also be responsible for costs of renting score and parts from Janen Music.

Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis, so interested parties are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Hanyi will review received grant applications and usually provide a decision within two weeks. Grants will be awarded based on an orchestra's history, artistic mission, and prospective performance dates. (Academic orchestras are eligible provided they are of collegiate/university level.)

Interested parties may download the grant application form here.

Internationally-renowned Su Chang began study of the guzheng at age six, and has performed both solo and in accompaniment to orchestras worldwide. Her notable engagements include being a featured soloist in the YouTube Symphony orchestra's 2010 concert in Sydney under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas, and a personal invitation from Oscar-winning composer Tan Dun to perform in the 2012 Zurich premiere of a new work. She has also performed with Grammy-winning artist Kitaro, and tours internationally with the pop/Chinese folk ensemble The Viva Girls.

Ms. Chang premiered the Identity concerto in 2010 under the baton of Case Scaglione of the New York Philharmonic, and has been the soloist at every subsequent performance. She is fluent in English and very acclimatized to performing with Western orchestras in both concert and recording environments.

To hear audio excerpts from Identity: Zhongshang Zhuang, please use the players below.







Full audio of the concerto and perusal scores available upon request.


Questions about the concerto or the grant may be directed to Michael Gordon Shapiro, identityconcerto@mikemusic.com.

Questions regarding the rental fee or of a general nature should be directed to Scott McRae, smcrae@janenmusic.com.


To see Janen Music's full catalogue, click here.



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