When six international classical musicians perform on the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center, it clearly rings as a mini-United Nations celebrating the sublime transcendence of music over language and culture.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center present classical musicians from China, Egypt, Romania, South Korea, Thailand and Venezuela in a very special United States tour.
If you go Visiting Classical Musicians' Performance Where: Kennedy Center Millennium Stage When: 6 p.m. Wednesday Info: Free; kennedy-center.org The performance will be streamed live at kennedy-center.org/programs/millennium and archived online.
As part of a Cultural Exchange Visitor Program, the tour offers the musicians the opportunity for instructive tuition in their particular disciplines. They in turn, respond with a recital showcasing some of the most enchanting and dynamic compositions in the classical music repertoire. "We firmly believe that culture and sharing culture has the ability to meaningfully impact the way in which individuals -- not only foreigners but Americans, as well -- think of others in a context [aside from] political or economic considerations," said Brett Egan, director of the DeVos Institute.
Recital pieces to be performed are as diverse as Katherine Hoover's "Kokopeli" and Bohme's Trumpet Concerto in F Minor. The six musicians participating in the program include Octavian Moldovean, a flutist from Bucharest, Romania, who collaborates with the National Radio Orchestra in Bucharest; Sassis Jitrangsan, a trumpet player from Bangkok, Thailand, who plays for the National Symphony Orchestra of Thailand; Anthony Vivas, a violinist from Caracas, Venezuela; Huiqin Zhang, a pianist from Wuhan, China; and, Walid Shanab, a viola player from Alexandria, Egypt, with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Chamber Orchestra. Shanab will perform Paul Hindemith's "Trauermusik," a piece composed for the death of England's King George V.
"The composer wants to tell us that ... death is the destiny we can't escape from," Shanab said. "I hope I can perform it [so that] the audience can feel the music."
Bora Kim, from Seoul, South Korea, is an undergraduate in the department of music at Kyung Hee University there. She will perform the first movement of the Shostakovich Cello Concerto.
"One huge challenge with the piece is that it needs too much power and energy," she wrote via e-mail from South Korea. "But I will do my best to perform."
She said she also looks forward to the lessons she will be receiving from American cellists, curious to see how their teaching methods differ from their Korean counterparts.
"The benefit of these programs is that Americans meet and work with and collaborate with individuals throughout the world in a way that simply breaks down ideas other than [what] have been communicated through mass media or through political channels," Egan said.