The music of the East and the West filled the Alexander
Kasser Theater on December 8 as the Montclair State University Symphony
Orchestra, joined by musicians from the East China Normal University (ECNU)
Symphony Orchestra, presented the annual Beatrice Crawford Memorial Concert.
Featuring works by Chinese composers, the “New World”
symphony by Antonin Dvořák and a John J. Cali School of Music-commissioned, world-premiere
work by noted American composer Roberto Sierra, the concert was a scintillating
mix of East and West, old and new.
In addition to the world premiere of Sierra’s work, El Baille, highlights of the concert
included performances of Chinese pieces by members of the ECNU Symphony
Orchestra, and a solo performance on the erhu, the bowed, two-stringed Chinese
fiddle by the erhu master, Wang Guowei. Director of Orchestral Studies Ken Lam
led the orchestra with a guest-conducting appearance by Hou Runyu, music
director of ECNU and artistic advisor to the Asian Youth Orchestra.
The concert was special not only for the unique program but
for the cross-cultural collaboration afforded by the visit of the 19 students
and five instructors from ECNU. “This is the first time we have ever
been joined by such a large group of Chinese student musicians,” says Executive
Director of International Affairs Marina Cunningham, noting that ECNU has been
a partner institution of Montclair State for more than a decade. “We are
pleased to be able to continue our tradition of exchanging music ensembles with
partner universities and conservatories.”
The ECNU members arrived a week prior to the concert and did
much more than just rehearse. They also enjoyed campus tours, educational
opportunities, concerts and recitals, outlet shopping and a full day of
sightseeing in and around New York City. President Susan A. Cole provided
funding to cover the visitor’s expenses during their stay and the ground
arrangements were made by the Global Education Center in cooperation with the
The Beatrice Memorial Concert is an annual event presented at Montclair State University in memory of Beatrice “Billie” Crawford, a Montclair musician who was the director of two choral groups, The Madrigals and The Choraliers. The concert is supported by a generous grant from the Keating Crawford Foundation.