This April, artists will once again unite to raise awareness about rhino poaching in Africa with the Rhino Disharmony concert.
The Rhino Disharmony movement aims to create one global voice against rhino poaching through the participation of artists, their fans and the informed public. The movement aims to create a global platform that will draw attention to the rhino poaching crises in South Africa, to encourage a shift in perception about the use of rhino horn and how it is fast tracking this species to extinction. The annual concert will once again highlight the disharmony that is caused through the poaching of rhinos in South Africa and draws attention to the fact that the world has lost 52 per cent of its population in the past 40 years. As in previous years, world-famous pianist Tian Jiang will perform classical showpieces with invited musicians. By contrasting these classical pieces with modern lyrics will show how the contrasting forces in nature can also come together and create harmony – such as the one that we hope to restore.
The Los Angeles Times once wrote: ‘Tian Jiang achieved an exquisite performance of Mozart’s beloved Piano Concerto No.23. The internationally known Jiang is a deeply persuasive Mozartean who delivers the full spectrum of the composer’s virtues – wit, pathos, brilliance, and serenity in this buoyant performance…’ Praised for his ‘formidable technique, shining, crisp, energetic and colorfully illuminated playing’ by the New York Times, a subsequent profile on CBS’ Sunday Morning further celebrated the sweet irony of this remarkable artist’s rich, imaginative interpretations: that this music he had been forbidden to hear, let alone play, as a child had become his life. Tian Jiang was born in Shanghai during the early days of China’s Cultural Revolution. His first memories resound not of Bach and Mozart, but of the boots of the Red Guard as they stomped through his home in search of cultural contraband, such as books and music. By the time he turned nine, the tide of the Cultural Revolution had receded and he was admitted to the Shanghai Conservatory to pursue his insatiable interest in classical music.
At the age of 16, Jiang met Vladimir Ashkenazy, who was then touring China for the first time. So impressed was the great Russian virtuoso that he invited Jiang to appear in the BBC film, Music after Mao – Ashkenazy in China, documenting his visit. A subsequent meeting with the American violinist and goodwill ambassador Isaac Stern likewise resulted in a friendship, and an agreement with the Chinese government to allow Jiang to study at the San Francisco Conservatory for one year. Returning to China in 1982, Jiang graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory with a bachelor’s degree, won the first prize in the National Piano Competition of China, and eventually achieved his goal of returning to the United States. A Van Cliburn Scholarship Award then took him to The Juilliard School where he graduated with a Master of Music. Jiang’s debut concert at Carnegie Hall in 1989 attracted such critical acclaim that word of a remarkable talent – with a remarkable story – soon leaked to the media, prompting Jiang’s profile on CBS’ Sunday Morning.
He has performed recitals in more than 35 countries. He is proudly the first Chinese pianist to have toured his homeland with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on its historic visit to China in 2000, and the first Chinese pianist to have joined the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra as a soloist on a ten-city US tour in 2003. As a recording artist, Jiang already has 13 CDs to his credit, including two new releases: Tian Jiang Live at Carnegie Hall and Shanghai Night. His original composition Shanghai Dream, distributed worldwide by CBS Records, caused a sensation and quickly became a best-seller. Jiang’s highlights 2016 include his successful tour through Russia, including the premiere performance of the ‘Yellow River’ piano concerto in Russia. In December, he completed a China National Concert Tour with internationally celebrated violinist Alexander Markov. Their masterful performances led to the duo being immediately booked for five years of concert engagements, ending in 2021. Jiang’s annual South African tour, where he ‘writes music for his animals’, is much anticipated and a highlight on the classical music calendar. The Rhino Disharmony Concert takes place on the 20th of April 2017 at Haggie Hall, St Cyprian’s School in Oranjezicht, Cape Town.