This collaborative performance of musicians from Contemporaneous with New York activist orchestra The Dream Unfinished features the American premiere of Huang Ruo's The Sonic Great Wall, a piece for audience and chamber ensemble.
Huang Ruo’s The Sonic Great Wall is a musical interpretation of the Great Wall of China, performed by 13 musicians and audience. Audience members participate in a workshop where they share poetry, and for the performance, they then assemble in rows symbolizing the wall and recite their selected poetry simultaneously. Musicians are stationed between as watch towers, and additional attendees walk along the wall, but cannot cross over to the other side. While the Great Wall primarily served to deter outsiders, it is also considered an early mode of mass communication: signals projected from its watch towers are considered China’s oldest telegram system. It is in this dual interpretation that Ruo intends audiences to experience both the barrier that the Wall imposes, and the communication necessary to transcend such borders.