ACF Chair Stanley Yen who co-founded Taiwan Connection (TC) with renowned violinist Nai-yuan Hu believes the role of musicians should not only be performers, but also be the ones to step outside of the concert halls to introduce classical music to the population. In recent years, some of TC’s Taiwan based musicians have been actively achieving this mission introducing classical music to schools in the remote regions and businesses across Taiwan. They perform, give music introductions, and offer audience the opportunity to engage with classical music.
Three groups were formed – the Sen Trio d’anches, Artrich String Quartet and the Tainan String Quartet. Throughout the year, they diversify into different schools and businesses giving people the chance to get to know and appreciate classical music. In the summer, during the TC Music Festival, students from the remote are invited to the concerts – a particularly rare opportunity especially for an event taking place in the national concert hall.
Before going into each school, oboist Hsieh Wan-Chen (謝宛臻) from the Sen Trio d’anches will share music to be performed for students to familiarize beforehand. As a mother herself, she found that in doing so increases student curiosity when hearing the pieces played live. Before the TC Music Festival concert, Hsieh records the introduction of each piece to be performed for the same purpose.
In remote communities, resources are rare, and unfortunately what is sacrificed first is the arts; in TC’s school initiatives, Hsieh witnesses that even so, youths have an innate appreciation for music. One school teacher shared TC’s initiatives inspired a student, who once skipped recorder lessons due to being born with finger malformations, to instead learn the violin. Another teacher feels since TC’s presence, students are more engaged in music class and more passionate in their playing. Through the efforts of each of the musicians in the Sen Trio d’anches, Artrich String Quartet and the Tainan String Quartet, musical horizons are opened through listening, learn the back stories of the composers, and even concert etiquette.
2019 Taiwan Connection Music Festival The Taiwan Connection (TC) Music Festival is a once a year occasion bringing together local and overseas musicians to perform chamber music, challenging one another to play without a conductor. Even more valiant than years prior, the conductorless orchestra selects Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Divertimento in D major, K. 136/125a, and Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 to perform. Without a conductor present, each musician has the opportunity to express oneself entirely whilst responding in a musical dialogue throughout the performance.
This year, four notable musicians will join the performance. They include Andrew Bain, principal horn player of the Los Angeles Philharmonic who was also principal horn for the Star Wars soundtrack, Ole Akahoshi, cellist and Professor of the Yale School of Music, Flutist Göran Marcusson of the GotesborgsMusiken Chamber Ensemble, and Yoda Akinobu, principal bassoonist of the Tokyo Geidai Symphony Orchestra. In their effort to commit to the festival, TC Co-founder and Director Hu Nai-yuan hopes that that they will bring inspiration to the local musicians.
In addition to concerts, Hu will also conduct free-entry lectures on the composers and music selected for the 2019 festival. He will share background stories of Mozart and Mendelssohn and give insight on the societies of their time, family circumstances and religion which all take part in inspiring their music.
TC today is no longer just a once a year summer festival, or an initiative to connect Taiwan and overseas musicians, it is now a lasting commitment to introduce classical music to every corner countrywide.
2019 TC Music Festival performances August 30th in Kaohsiung (National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts) August 31st in Taichung (National Taichung Theatre) September 1st in Taipei (National Theater & Concert Hall)