From the Middle Kingdom to the Wild West
The Orchestra Now, conducted by Jindong Cai
2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the Transcon-tinental Railroad across the U.S. From 1862-1869 some 20,000 Chinese laborers, the vast majority of workers, built the rail line through the Sierra Nevada and across the Nevada and Utah deserts, enduring terrible extremes of winter and summer and other brutal working conditions. In commemoration, the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University and the US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music collaborated on a Symphonic Oratorio with the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford University to shed light on the laborers that made the railroad possible.
The piece entails a mixed chorus, full orchestra, and Chinese traditional instruments. The produc-tion originated with the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University and Jindong Cai in 2012. Music is by Pulitzer prize-winning composer Zhou Long, with lyrics by Su Wei. Artists include Bard College’s The Orchestra Now, the Silicon Valley chorale, and soloists.