Apr 282010
Authors: Ashley Lauwereins

As part of what University Center for the Arts spokesperson Jennifer Clary called the most significant collaboration in recent department history, 25 Chinese students traveled more than 6,000 miles to Fort Collins to perform music with CSU students.

East-West Week, which pairs CSU students with counterparts from the East China Normal University, kicked off Tuesday and continues tonight, Friday and Saturday with collaboration concerts.

The connection between CSU and ECNU was formed in October when CSU President Tony Frank visited China. According to a UCA press release, CSU has partnered with ECNU on a number of research initiatives and student exchange programs, and the universities decided to add a musical focus to their partnership. 

“Collaborations bring together the unique teaching methods and styles of separate entities, bringing about both challenges and wonderful synergies to create cohesion in the final presentation,” Clary said in an e-mail interview.

Tonight’s collaboration concert features Johannes Brahms’ “Liebeslieder Waltzes” and other opera scenes by western and eastern composers. CSU and ECNU students will perform the opera scenes together.

Friday and Saturday night will see a collaboration between all CSU the choirs, the ECNU students and the CSU Symphony Orchestra to perform Beethoven’s “Symphony N. 9 in D minor, op. 125” –– one of Beethoven’s most beloved symphonies featuring “Ode to Joy.”

“The unique thing about Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ is it’s all about brotherhood and a sense of universality of human rights,” said Wes Kenney, director of orchestra at CSU.   “This makes it a special piece speaking to various cultures coming together.”

 “As we prepare our students to perform in a global market, this experience provides them a perspective for measuring their own skill level,” said Leila Heil, director of the CSU Concert Choir. “It also adds vitality to our program in terms of bringing new personalities and ideas into our environment.”

Cammie Kolber, a junior music education major singing in the combined choir concert, said it is important to have exchange between the different students.

“It’s the power of music to bring people together, cross cultural boundaries and bring people together,” Kolber said.

Today’s East-West Week collaboration concert starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Organ Recital Hall at the UCA.

The choir and orchestra combined concerts are on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Griffin Concert Hall at the UCA.

Tickets to both performances are $7 for students, $12 for the public and $1 for youth, and they can be purchased at http://www.CSUArtsTickets.com.

Staff writer Ashley Lauwereins can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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