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postheadericon Jon Jang Biography

Composer Jon Jang became the first American born Chinese to compose a symphonic work that honors Chinese American history. For three decades, composer and pianist Jon Jang gives a musical voice to a history that has been silent. A majority of his works represents a chronology of Chinese American history in San Francisco. Commissioned by the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra and Oakland East Bay Symphony, Jon Jang composed The Chinese American Symphony (2007) which pays tribute to the Chinese laborers who built the first transcontinental railroad in United States.

Other works include: Oyama Canon in D (2013); Portrait of Sun Yat-sen (2011), When Sorrow Turns to Joy – Songlines: The Spiritual Tributary of Paul Robeson and Mei Lanfang (2000), Reparations Now! Concerto for Jazz Ensemble and Taiko (1988), Island: the Immigrant Suite No. 2 (1995) for the Kronos Quartet and Cantonese Opera singer and the score for the dramatic adaptation of Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior (1994) commissioned by the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Huntington Theatre in Boston and Center Theatre Group of Los Angeles (Mark Taper).

Pianist/composer Jon Jang has recorded with Max Roach, James Newton and David Murray. His ensembles have toured at major concert halls and music festivals in Europe, China, Canada, United States and South Africa, four months after the election in April 1994 to end apartheid. During 1999-2001, Jang toured with Max Roach as part of the Beijing Trio at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Zurich, Berlin, Milan and the Royal Festival Hall in London. Jon Jang was selected as one of the small group of composers along with Philip Glass, Meredith Monk and others to have works performed at the first Other Minds Festival in San Francisco and be in residency at Djerassi Resident program in 1993. In May 2013, Jang performed at The White House Forum on Asian American Pacific Islander Issues in Washington DC hosted by the US Department of the Interior and The White House.

New York Times described Jon Jang’s music: “Like the ‘'Third Stream’' composers of the 50's who married jazz and classical music, Jang honors his two idioms without fully merging them. “Among Jang’s awards: History-Makers Award from the Chinese Historical Society of America; Mid-Career Visionary Artist Award from the Ford Foundation and the first Conservatory alum to receive the Distinguished Achievement Award from Oberlin College
As a scholar, Jang has taught at Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley and UC Irvine. In 2012, Jon Jang was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr.-Cesar Chavez-Rosa Parks Visiting Professor recognition at the University of Michigan. In London in 1997, Jang was one of four artists selected by the British Embassy in Washington DC to participate in Reinventing Britain, a conference of prominent international scholars featuring Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy and Homi Bhabba as speakers...

Last Updated (Wednesday, 14 January 2015 10:03)