Notre Dame International’s Global Citizenship Series: April 2024

Author: Mary Hendriksen

Patrick Yim

For our April entry in Notre Dame International’s 2024 Global Citizenship Series, we highlight an innovative concert and a beloved film series—both presented at Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Tales from the Nine Bells: Music of Chen Yi and Zhou Long — Sunday, April 14, 4:00 pm, Leighton Concert Hall

“This concert is a dream project,” says Patrick Yim, assistant professor of violin in the Department of Music, “and not only because of the fame of the composers whose works we will perform. The music to be played—by 12 musicians in total—explores interactions between the musical traditions of East and West. By translating Chinese folk culture, including traditional music, traditional instruments, and legends, into music for the Western instruments and ensembles, Chen and Zhou challenge our understanding of the affordances of these instruments.”

The concert showcases the creative ingenuity of two of the most celebrated Chinese-American composers active today: Chen Yi (2006 Pulitzer Prize Finalist and Charles Ives Living Award) and Zhou Long (2011 Pulitzer Prize winner), both currently on the faculty of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory.

Chen Yi and Zhou Long’s work is transformative in that they use traditional Chinese culture, such as poetry, folk music, calligraphy, and language, as a starting point for their music.

The concert will open with Zhou’s haunting, atmospheric Tales from the Nine Bells, a chamber work for violin, viola, clarinet, and piano commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The piece is inspired by a Chinese folk legend in which bells ring out untouched by humans. Three musicians will join Yim for a performance of the title piece.

“Percussive piano techniques, glassy string sounds, and a highly expressive clarinet,” writes Zhou in his program notes, “are representative of the wind that carries the ringing of the bells and makes for a delicately colored, gripping work that brings to light the largely unexplored nuances of the instruments.”

Then, Yim will perform the world premiere of Bamboo Grove, a newly composed solo violin work by Zhou.

The concert’s second half features the viola in two works by Chen Yi: Xian Shi for viola, percussion, and piano (the first viola concerto by a Chinese composer) and Suite for Viola and Chamber Winds inspired by traditional Chinese instruments.

Composers Zhou Long and Chen Yi are well-versed in the musical traditions of China and the U.S. Both trained at the elite Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and Columbia University in New York, with their craft and artistry appreciated around the globe. The Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and Yo-Yo Ma are just a few of the ensembles/musicians who have performed their works.

In a special appearance at the April 14th concert, Chen Yi and Zhou Long will provide insight into their works from the stage.


The next day, the composers will give a public lecture titled "Cultural Confluence in the Music of Chen Yi and Zhou Long," Monday, April 15, 2024, at noon, in the LaBar Performance Hall, sponsored by the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies and the Department of Music.

There is an interesting origin story for the Tales from the Nine Bells concert—one, Yim says, that “showcases the power of interconnections at a premier research university like Notre Dame.”

Yim received a Faculty Research Support grant from Notre Dame Research in 2022 for funding to bring the composers and guest musicians to Notre Dame for a week of activities that includes rehearsals with the composers, professionally recording the pieces with Grammy Award-winning producer Jesse Lewis, and performing the public concert on April 14. All events take place at the Leighton Concert Hall at the DPAC, the site of world-class performance facilities. Chen and Zhou will also engage with Notre Dame composition and performance students in a public masterclass on April 12.

“The recording itself is groundbreaking,” explains Yim. “This will be the first time that Tales from the Nine Bells has been recorded, as well as the other three pieces on the program. Because the recording will be made under the supervision of the composers, it should be regarded as an authoritative interpretation of these works—one that will set the standard for all future performances.”

Also of note, in a second grant, this one from Notre Dame International under its Asia Research Collaboration Grant program, Yim was awarded funding to continue his exploration of the dialogues possible between Eastern and Western instruments and musical traditions. In January 2024, the grant supported a performance in Hong Kong with a colleague and a second performance at Notre Dame in February. Watch the performance of CHAN Hing-yan: Autumn Comes for Violin and Sheng. Yim advises that doing so would be an excellent preparation for the April 14th concert.

Nanovic European Film Series – Thursday evenings at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Browning Cinema throughout April

Since 2005, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies has partnered with the Debartolo Performing Art Center to use film as a lens to tell European stories. This spring, the film series focuses on the “margins”/“peripheries” of Europe.

Four films will be screened in April, every Thursday at 6:30 pm:

Summer 1993 (Spain), April 4

Murina (Croatia), April 11

Chevalier (France), April 18 (Note this session begins at 7:00 pm)

The Quiet Migration (Denmark), April 25

The screenings are free but ticketed. More information HERE.