Students in the West Virginia University Wind Symphony will participate in a unique cultural musical exchange thanks to an invitation from the United States – China Cultural & Educational Foundation to take part in a three-city performance tour of China.
“At the College of Creative Arts, we have a history of both expanding educational opportunities for our students and serving as ambassadors for WVU and the state of West Virginia,” said Keith Jackson, dean of WVU’s College of Creative Arts. “Of course, performing in some of the largest cities in the world is important, but the exchange of culture is an even larger opportunity that is truly life changing.”
The invitation comes after years of success from the WVU Wind Symphony, with its recent New York City Carnegie Hall debut solidifying the group’s reputation of excellence.
Forty-seven students comprise WVU’s Wind Symphony, representing West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan Ohio, Delaware, Kentucky and Ukraine. A part of WVU’s School of Music Bands program, the Wind Symphony is considered the most elite ensemble, requiring accepted musicians to perform high-caliber literature.
For these students, whose majors vary from music performance to economics to exercise physiology, touring through China is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“It is common to hear that music is a ‘universal language,’ but it is also a ‘unifying language,’” Jackson said. “While many of our students will go on to rich careers in the field of music, several of the students in the Wind Symphony come from majors outside of the School of Music. No matter where their careers take them, all of these students will have the shared experience of performing at a high-level for an international audience. That type of experience will unite these Mountaineers forever.”
The seven-day tour, planned for spring 2020, will make stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing, with the Wind Symphony performing in one venue in each city, followed by time for sight-seeing and cultural experiences.
“Foreign travel, such as this performance tour, does more than simply provide our students an opportunity to visit another country,” said Scott Tobias, director of WVU bands. “It allows them to experience a different culture and to broaden their horizons. In doing so they gain a new perspective, not only as musicians but as citizens of the world.”