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Lei Liang's "Xiaoxiang" Concerto Named Pulitzer Prize Finalist!

Lei Liang’s Xiaoxiang Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra has been named a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The work received its world premiere in its revised and expanded version in 2014 with soloist Chien-Kwan Lin and Gil Rose leading the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. This nomination marks another significant achievement for Liang, who has received an Aaron Copland Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Rome Prize.

Liang evokes a specific incident in Chinese history with Xiaoxiang, a name for the region in Hunan Province where the rivers Xiao and Xiang intersect. This incident occurred during the Cultural Revolution, when a woman sought to avenge the unjust death of her husband by wailing in the forest near the house of the local official that killed him. Liang writes of the work:

Instead of displaying technical virtuosity, the soloist in this piece portrays the protagonist’s inability to articulate or utter. The soloist’s music is marked by silences. In that sense, the work may be perceived as an anti-concerto.

Listen to a full recording of BMOP's premiere performance here: 

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