Lecture and Performance
Join us for the inaugural event of UMBC’s Asian American Faculty Council: A lecture and performance with musician-activist Jon Jang!
Lecture: The Sounds of Struggle: Music from the Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s to the Asian American Movement of the 1980s
Composer/pianist/public intellectual/political activist Jon Jang reflects on his early years: from learning about the power of black music and revolutionary politics during high school and at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in the 1970s to his work as a musician and activist in relationship to the Asian American Movement and other progressive political movements in the 1980s.
Performance: How Music Got into Me and How I Got into Music
Jon Jang is a pioneering pianist and composer from San Francisco who has performed and presented widely. His compositions and performances traverse jazz, gospel, symphonic, and traditional Asian musics. Jang is the first American born Chinese to compose a symphonic work that honors Chinese American history – The Chinese American Symphony (2007). Commissioned and performed by the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra and the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the work pays tribute to the Chinese laborers who built the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. He composed “When Sorrow Turns to Joy – Songlines: The Spiritual Tributary of Paul Robeson and Mei Lanfang” (2000) with James Newton, a work commissioned by Cal Performances.
Jang has broken barriers and genres as a composer, pianist, and artistic director of ensembles in developing original works noted for their compelling mix of different influences and sounds. As a composer, Mr. Jang has received many commissions from the NEA, Rockefeller Foundation, Cal Performances, and the Berkeley Repertory Theater to mention a few. As artistic director and pianist of the Pan Asian Arkestra and the Jon Jang Sextet, featuring David Murray and Chen Jiebing, Jang’s ensembles have toured at major jazz festivals and concerts in South Africa, Europe, Canada, China, and the United States. He has also collaborated and performed with legendary drummer Max Roach, Sonia Sanchez, Billy Taylor, James Newton, the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Ensemble and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Besides creating a musical voice for Asian Americans for over three decades, Jang has taught music courses at Stanford University, been a Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks (KCP) Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan a guest lecturer at many universities.
Admission is free.