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Piazzolla: Escualo
Mozart: Symphony No. 21 - I. Allegro
"Qixi Rhapsody" (七夕狂想曲) for Violin, Pipa and Orchestra - Alejandro Drago.

"Qixi Rhapsody" (七夕狂想曲) for Violin, Pipa and Orchestra - Alejandro Drago.

Recording of the world premiere of the Qixi Rhapsody for Violin, Pipa and Orchestra by Alejandro Drago. Celia Liu, Pipa. Alejandro Drago, Violin. Fung Ho, Conductor. Olympia Youth Orchestra. Live recorded on January 7, 2024 at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse (San Gabriel, CA) Program notes: The “Qixi Rhapsody for Violin, Pipa and Orchestra” was inspired by the annual festival in China and other Asian countries, which takes place on the seventh day of the seventh month on the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, celebrating the ancient romantic legend of the love between the heavenly Weaver (Zhinü) and the Cowherd (Niulang). This festival has been often described as the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day and is celebrated to this day in a number of traditional ways. The Rhapsody represents an attempt at retelling the mythical tale in music. Symbolically, in the Rhapsody the Weaver is represented by the pipa, and the Cowherd by the violin, although that correspondence is not strict beyond the fact that the two soloists represent the lovers of the legend. The Rhapsody focuses on five key moments of the tale, that correspond to the five sections of the piece: First, we are introduced to the love between the Weaver and the Cowherd. After this placid section, a contrasting, rhythmically active and increasingly harmonically dissonant new section begins: The Emperor of Heaven sends minions to escort the heavenly Weaver back to heaven and the Queen Mother of the West cruelly separates the lovers by putting a Silver River (the Milky Way) between them. The following section, in the subdued tonality of B-flat minor, represents the pain of the lovers’ longing for each other in separation, and is structured in a simple A-A’ form, allowing each of the solo instruments to state the same musical phrase in full and to comment on it. The fourth section is fittingly introduced by the flutes and represents the building of the bridge of magpies over the Silver River for the lovers to meet. Which leads to the fifth and final section, depicting the reunion of the Weaver and the Cowherd, which musically is a restatement of the first section but with some key changes in rhythm and in the accompaniment, which is of a more celebratory, triumphal character. The Rhapsody has been dedicated by the author to Prof. Fung Ho, pipa performer Celia Liu, and the Olympia Youth Orchestra.
Liszt Totentanz with Olympia Youth Orchestra, John C Carpenter, Soloist

Liszt Totentanz with Olympia Youth Orchestra, John C Carpenter, Soloist

Pianist John Carpenter, First Prize Winner of 2018 Intercontinental Piano Competition of New York, Artist/ Pro Division, and First for for best performance of piece by a living composer, which he played in Winner's Concert at Carnegie Hall...also Silver Medalist, International Piano Recording Competition, Winner of Kalamazoo Bach Festival Young Artist Competition, University of Connecticut Concerto Competition, Merit Scholarship at Manhattan School of Music, Full Scholarship and TA for Doctoral Studies at College-Conservatory of Music Cincinnati, Ohio, Full Scholarship for special Artist Diploma of the CCM and many other awards. He has played piano extensively as a professional over a period of 60 years. He has played on both coasts of the United states and throughout the country, including two full solo recitals and a competition award appearance at Carnegie Hall, onstage with Cincinnati Ballet, with the Cal State Los Angeles and Olympia Youth Orchestras, the BACH Orchestra, at the NAMM Convention in Anaheim, and on tour with University Symphony in Connecticut 4 performances, twice with Dayton Philharmonic, at Bruno Walter Auditorium Lincoln Center and many more. He has performed also in over 1000 religious services in 25 different churches. He is a radio broadcaster on WAIF Cincinnati, where he speaks about individual empowerment and community involvement. His teachers included Eugene List, Sascha Gorodnitzki, Ana Maria Trenchi Bottazzi, Robert Goldsand and Louis Crowder.
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