In July and August of 2014, Linda Jennings was invited to lead cello pedagogy and performance workshops in Bangkok and Chiang Rai, the first programs of this kind in Thailand.
In this project, Jennings collaborated with two leading music organizations in Thailand, the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra Foundation and the Chiang Rai Youth Orchestra, to support the development of string music education in Thailand, a country where western art music is still a relatively new development.
As artistic director of the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra Cello Workshops, Jennings developed and led an intensive, three-week workshop for top high school and college cellists as well as leading cello teachers and professional cellists. The final workshop concert featured solo performances by selected young cellists as well as cello ensemble performances led by Jennings.
The program featured two world premieres of works for solo cello and cello ensemble commissioned specifically for this project with Jennings as soloist: “Chiaroscuro” by IUP Music professor Stanley Chepaitis and “Song without Words” by leading Thai cellist Kittikuhn Sodprasert. The program also highlighted IUP music faculty member Mary Logan-Hastings in a performance of Hector Villa Lobos’ famous work for solo soprano and cello choir, “Bachianas Brasilieras #5.”
In describing his new work, Chepaitis said the title, “Chiaroscuro,” is “an Italian term meaning light-dark. The name appealed to me, for this composition, due to the tension between dark, Phrygian-inflected harmony and a melody composed mainly of rising perfect intervals. The darkness of this tension is offset at strategic points by the intrusion of bright harmonies derived from the Lydian mode.”
Jennings was also invited to perform as a member of the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra for an all-Mozart concert featuring internationally renowned guest conductor/violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky. Jennings presented a final week-long workshop and concert for the Chiang Rai Youth Orchestra program in northern Thailand, one of the leading youth music programs in Thailand.
This project was supported by a State System Faculty Professional Development Council grant, the IUP College of Fine Artsand Music Department, and the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra Foundation and the Chiang Rai Youth Orchestra.