The Des Moines Symphony has announced that composer Bright Sheng will guest-conduct the orchestra’s October 24 and 25 concerts at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines. The program for those concerts will feature two of Sheng’s pieces: Nanking! Nanking! and Tibetan Swing. The former was written in memory of victims of the 1937 Massacre of Nanking, China; the latter centers around rhythms and dance movements of Asian culture. Sheng, who received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” in 2001 and currently is a professor of music at the University of Michigan, has written numerous works featuring the pipa; also performing on the Des Moines Symphony’s October concerts will be pipa player Yang Wei. In addition to the two Sheng works, the Des Moines program will also include Shostakovich’s Festive Overture and Symphony No. 9.

Posted October 16, 2009