On Friday, August 15, SPAC and The Philadelphia Orchestra will present the New York premiere of composer Tan Dun’s Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women. A multimedia tour de force which made headlines around the globe at its China premiere this spring, Nu Shu is an exploration – through film and music -- of an ancient Chinese language secretly created by women in the remote province of Hunan, China, and passed through generations of mothers and daughters by reading, writing and singing.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Orchestra for the performance and principal harpist Elizabeth Hainen is the featured soloist.
The Chinese-born Tan Dun was commissioned by the Orchestra, along with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, to create the work for Principal Harp Elizabeth Hainen. Best known for his score to the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the music in the medals ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics, composer Tan Dun grew up in a rice-farming village near Hunan’s capital. He followed his interest in the roots music of his homeland to research Nu Shu and capture its spirit in his 2013 symphony for 13 short films, harp and orchestra. The work had its U.S. premiere in Philadelphia last fall and its Chinese premiere this May.