LAWRENCE — A concert and panel discussion at the University of Kansas will highlight music from Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures.
The opening event for the KU Asian Classical Music Initiative (ACMI) will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 in Swarthout Recital Hall. A pre-concert talk moderated by Zhengyingyue (Elaine) Huang, ACMI president and graduate student in music, will explore Asian composition culture and communities in the Western world and the creative influence and experiences of musicians living in the Midwest. Panelists include Mo Zhou, director of opera at the University of Missouri-Kansas City; Forrest Pierce, professor of music composition at KU; and Yi-Yang Chen, assistant professor of piano at KU and the advising faculty member of ACMI.
A concert following the panel discussion will feature 26 musicians presenting work by Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander composers. Co-sponsored by the School of Music and the Center for East Asian Studies, and in collaboration with the Kansas City Chinese Association and Kansas Chinese School North, the concert will set the stage for future initiatives.
"It's a gathering that has never been seen in the Midwest classical music industry. In this unprecedented concert, we will show the interaction, similarities and unique identities of different musical cultures," Huang said. "We hope to promote cultural and artistic exchanges between the East and the West through our own solidarity."
In response to nuanced racial politics in conversation with the classical music field, KU graduate students in music have recently established ACMI at KU with hopes for racial justice and celebration of diversity. ACMI is designed to bring awareness to the world of AAAPI (Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander) classical music composers through concerts and conferences.