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The Power of words

Empowered by friendship, Jialiang and her fellow artists join forces to create a recital project celebrating The Power of Words through poetry and music. The recital program encompasses poetry as ancient as the twelfth century and as contemporary as today; the program features poetry and songs in multi-languages including English, German, French, and Mandarin-Chinese. The Power of Words project carries personal meaning for each of the participating artists, as they tap into their respective expertise and share their own creative power. To hear each artist's stories, check out their biographies below. 

 

Jialiang and her fellow artists are truly grateful to Canada Council for the Arts for generously supporting this project.

PROGRAMME

Das Rosenband ("The Rose Ribbon")

Op.36, No.1

Poetry: Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock

Music: Richard Strauss

Three Yuan Qu Lyrics 元曲小唱三首

Poetry: Xu Zaisi 徐再思

Guan Yunshi 贯云石

Ma Zhiyuan 马致远

Music: Gao Weijie 高为杰

I Never Knew

Poetry: David Cameron

Music: David Jaeger

Poetry Selections by Kathryn Knowles

With Piano Improvisation by Jialiang Zhu

Poetry Selections by Edith Yang Qing 杨青

With Piano Improvisation by Jialiang Zhu

Clouds are the Language of the Sky

云是天空的语言

* World Premiere 世界首演 *

Poetry: Edith Yang Qing 杨青

Music: Roydon Tse

Selections from Chants d'Auvergne

(Songs from the Auvergne)

Music: Joseph Canteloube

poetry text
and translation

Das Rosenband

Poetry by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock

Im Frühlingsschatten fand ich sie;
Da band ich Sie mit Rosenbändern:
Sie fühlt’ es nicht und schlummerte.

Ich sah sie an; mein Leben hing
Mit diesem Blick an ihrem Leben:
Ich fühlt’ es wohl, und wußt’ es nicht.

Doch lispelt’ ich ihr sprachlos zu,
Und rauschte mit den Rosenbändern:
Da wachte sie vom Schlummer auf.

Sie sah mich an; ihr Leben hing
Mit diesem Blick’ an meinem Leben,
Und um uns ward Elysium.

 

The Rose Ribbon

English Translation by Richard Stokes

I found her in the spring shade,
And bound her fast with a rose garland:
Oblivious, she slumbered on.

I gazed on her; with that gaze
My life became entwined with hers:
This I sensed, yet did not know.

I murmured wordlessly to her
And rustled the garland of roses:
Then she woke from slumber.

She gazed on me; with that gaze
Her life became entwined with mine,
And Paradise bloomed about us.

元曲小唱三首

Three Yuan Qu Lyrics

折桂令 · 春情 

Poetry by Xu Zaisi 徐再思

平生不会相思,才会相思,便害相思。
身似浮云,心如飞絮,气若游丝。
 
空一缕余香在此,盼千金游子何之。
证候来时,正是何时?
灯半昏时,月半明时
 

Lovesickness

I never knew lovesickness in my entire life,
Only as I start to experience it,
I am already deeply tormented by it.
My body as floaty as the cloud,
My heart fluttering as the catkins,
My breath as thin as the thread.

Only a trace of your scent remains here. 

My precious one, where have you gone?

Lovesickness hits me,

When does it feel the strongest?

When the lamp is half-dim

And the moon is half-covered.
 

红绣鞋 · 欢情

Poetry by Guan Yunshi 贯云石

挨着靠着云窗同坐,
偎着抱着月枕双歌,
听着数着愁着怕着早四更过。
四更过情未足,
情未足夜如梭。
天哪,更闰一更儿妨甚么!
 

Amour

Leaning on each other and sitting by the cloud windows;
Looking at each other, laughing, and singing on the moon pillows;
Listening, counting, worrying, and fearing the night passing.
Night passing, love lingering,
Love lingering, time flying. 
O Heaven, can’t you spare us two more hours!
 

落梅风 · 蔷薇露

Poetry by Ma Zhiyuan 马致远

蔷薇露,荷叶雨,菊花霜冷香户。
梅梢月斜人影孤,恨薄情四时辜负。

 

Dews on the Roses

Dews on the roses, 
Raindrops on the lotus leaves,
Cold frost on the chrysanthemum flowers,
Whose fragrance permeates the courtyard and the household.
Above the plum tree slantly hangs the moon,
Casting my lonely shadow.
I resent your fickle love, for which I have squandered all four seasons.

English Translation by Jialiang Zhu

Poetry Selections by

David Cameron

From the Car

'Follow it home,' my daughter said,
Seeing a yellow moon from the car.
Sweet girl, I don't nee
d told. It's in my nature
To be moon-led.

 

Death Explained

The crab was dead.
'Look at the crab!' I said,

My son asked, quietly,
'Is it waiting for somebody?'

 

Nothing

I had been not-listening to my son
The best part of a minute, on a walk
In the drizzling rain. And in the time
I dwelt on my substantial thoughts, his talk
I grew to hear, was peppered with the word
Nothing. So many nothings, so much talk
Returning always to absence, extinction,
And not those things encountered on a walk –
Crows cawing from the elms, whatever else
He missed because his mind was nothing-filled
And I because of my substantial thoughts -
Which scattered soon enough, leaving me thrilled
By his ambition at the edge of town:
'To walk on nothing
and never fall down.

The Back of Your Ear

 

The back of your ear is so soft, you said.
Harvest moon, when no one's home.

 

I Never Knew

 

It feels strange again,
And sometimes sleep intervenes:
Our wires uncross,
Bodies stretch.
If bed can be an ocean,
As I've heard it said,
It can be any landscape:
You crawling through rough grass,
I examining
All those roads in the dark I'm drawn to.
It feels s
trange
That night should
be so tender.
I never knew
.

Poetry Selections by

Kathryn Knowles

The Daylight Dancer
 

A falling star 
Eclipsed the eyes 
Of the resting daylight dancer, 
Who spins in time 
With midday tunes 
And lives in a world of sweet dreams. 
With sparkling eyes, 
Glittering sight, 
She’ll take to the sky one more time 
To pirouette 
Upon the wind 
And choreograph the new dawn.

 

The Streets of London
 

I’ll walk with you through the streets of London,
On a sunny summer’s day.
We’ll stop for delights at Fortnum and Mason,
And see shows at the Savoy and Apollo;
We’ll picnic at Jubilee Park,
And listen to the musicians’ drums,
As we watch jets paint flags in the sky;
I’ll take you to see all the sights,
And stroll along the Thames,
Crisscrossing its web of bridges,
And listening to church bells chime;
We’ll wind through the streets, patched old and new,
And travel through time and space;
Because right here, right now,
We’re together again;
Walking the streets of London.

 

“It’s hailing outside,” said the whale
 

It’s hailing outside —
A storm as sharp and cold as steel
Or shards of mirrored glass.
 
The sky is smearing —
Its colours bleed and blend around
Just like watercolours 
That drip off the brush
To trickle down into the seas
And stick to salted whales.
 
The rainbow swimmers
Break up through the swelling surface
To lick the painted hail.

It tastes sweet but dry,
Since the sky has been fully drained
And all its colour bleached.
 
The blinding white sky,
Imposing in its emptiness,
Just a blank canvas now
.

Poetry Selections by

Edith Yang Qing 杨青

雨笺
The Rain Letters

 

1.
 

雨和春天一起
在晓雾快要掀开窗帘的时候
悄悄潜入迷蒙的梦境
用那还看不见晶莹的雨滴
一点点一丝丝的轻柔
抚摸还未醒来的肌肤
滑入等待了一个冬天的空寂

 

Rain and spring together,
As the dawn fog lifts the curtain,
Quietly drift into a misty dream
Using still invisible, crystal-clear drops
Drip by drip, drop by drop, gently caress
The still sleeping skin
Sliding into a winter’s long empty silence

 

2.
 

雨滴透着绿色的珠帘
穿过春的手指
叮叮咚咚敲响大地的心扉
草儿痒痒得笑起来
敞开枯黄了一季的衣裳
露出焦渴的胸膛
张开干裂的嘴唇
咕噜咕噜喝下春的甘霖

Rain drops form a green beaded curtain
Falling through spring’s fingers
Ding ding dong dong drumming the earth’s heart
The tickled grass laughs
Open up a season’s withered and yellowed clothes
Bare the thirsty chest
Part the chapped lips
Gulp down spring’s rain

4.
 

太阳照耀的日子
雨在晴朗透明的天空一隅
想象自己如何可以与阳光相遇
或许遇见的一刻
自己化为一缕轻烟袅袅消逝
或一层层扩散的薄雾
让阳光明白朦胧中的美
是雨从未来得及说出的爱恋

 

On a sunny day
The rain hides in a clear corner of the sky
Wondering how it can meet the sunlight
Maybe the moment we meet
I will disappear into a wisp of smoke
Or become layers of diffused mist
Let the sun understand t
he beauty in the haze
Loving words the rain never had enough time to say

5.
 

春雨喜欢进入街巷
从木质的屋檐下滑落
总被那里的古朴气息感染
滴滴答答丝线般湿了青石板
以略带忧愁的韵律书写心情
轻柔移步 轻溅水花
房前屋后满了思念的兰草
叙旧私语连成天井下的诗行

 

Spring rain likes to enter the streets
Sliding and falling from the wooden eaves
Taking in the quaint at
mosphere there
Tick tock wetting the bluestone slab like a silk thread
Write your mood with a slightly sad rhythm
Move softly, splash lightly
In front and behind the house are full
 of longing bluegrass
Reminiscing about the p
ast and whispering poetry under the patio
 

7.
 

春天在雨声中一点点走近
一阵冷峻带走厚重的冬
一股温柔带来清雅的春
总有人在屋檐下暗自欢喜
也有人在氤氲中默然忧郁
雨自顾自地飘洒淋漓
尽致滋润广厦石林
尽情抒写蕴含的春语
雨笺在淅淅沥沥中翩翩而著

Spring is approaching little by little in the song of rain
A sharp chill carries away the heavy winter
A gentle swell brings the elegant spring
Some people privately rejoice under their roof
Others are sunken in the quiet, melancholic mist
Rain just keeps falling
Moistening the thousands of houses and buildings
Jotting down the brooding words of spring
Amidst the pitter-pattering, the rain letters are written

 

English Translation by Yang Sui and Jialiang Zhu
 

云是天空的语言

Clouds are the Language of the Sky

Poetry by Edith Yang Qing 杨青

1.

云飘散,天空变幻莫测
云聚拢,天空紧张焦虑
云密布,天空暗沉愠怒
云点缀,天空舒缓浪漫
万里无云,天空完全静默

Clouds dispersed, the sky is ever changing
Clouds gathered, the sky is nervous and anxious
Clouds full and dense, the sky is darkened and angry
Clouds scattered, the sky is calm and romantic
No clouds for miles and miles, the sky is completely silent
 

2.

云描绘着天空丰富的表情
一会儿喜笑颜开敞亮无际
一会儿忧伤哭泣低垂着头
当欢喜在天空的胸膛翻涌
天空可以唱出大海的歌

 

Clouds depict the rich expression of the sky
Sometimes smiling with joy, bright and vast
Sometimes crying in sorrow, its head hanging low
When joy surges in the chest of the sky
The sky can sing the song of the ocean
 

3.

云表达天空沉靜悠远的思索
一会儿拉一条幽深的直线
一会儿翻开历史的书卷
当愤怒冲进天空的心
天空喷射出冰雹的子弹

 

Clouds express the contemplative thoughts of the sky
Sometimes pulling a secluded straight line
Sometimes turning the scroll of history
When anger surges in the sky’s heart
The sky spits bullets of hail
 

4.

云在大海上空写着蓝色的传说
她用暗灰描着空中的岛屿
仿佛遗忘了纱巾在月亮肩上
都是天空孤寂时的作品
不经意可以成为永恒的典藏

 

The cloud writes blue legends above the ocean
She paints the islands in the sky with dark grey
As if she left her veil on the moon’s shoulders
All of this is the work of the lonely sky
Inadvertently becoming eternal classics
 

5.

云在清晨讲述昨夜的星空
藤蔓依然缠绕着葡萄架
月亮坐过的秋千轻轻摇荡
晨风带着云的温柔回到天空
问候正准备跃出海平面的太阳

 

Clouds recount last night’s starry sky in the morning
Vines are still twisting around the grape trellis
The swing on which the Moon sat gently sways
The morning breeze brings back the tenderness of clouds to the sky
Greeting the sun that awaits to leap above the horizon
 

6.

云在傍晚沉湎粉橙的香槟
淡淡的醉意写在她脸上
天空落在湖面微澜里
云忘记自己的语言
身上的紫纱也掉进了水里

 

A cloud indulges in the pinkish-orange champaign at dusk
With light tipsiness written on her face
The sky falls into the gentle ripples of the lake
The cloud forgets her own language
Her purple veil also slips off into the water
 

7.

夜晚的天空比白日清醒
云化霓裳轻盈曼舞
星座成为星星的宫殿
亿万光年阻挡不了彼此的遥望
惺惺相惜缩短了心的距离
云的长袖载满星的诗语
隐逸启示着渺小的无限 

 

The sky at night is more alert than during the day
Clouds turn into ethereal garments and gracefully dance
Constellations become the palace of stars
Billions of light years cannot obstruct our longing gazes
Empathy and kinship shorten the distance between our hearts
Clouds’ long sleeves are brimming with the poetic lines of stars
Solitude reveals infinite meaning in the minutest of beings

English Translation by Jialiang Zhu

Selections from

Chants d'Auvergne

(Songs from the Auvergne)

La pastoura als camps

Quon lo pastouro s'en bo os cams, 
Quon lo pastouro s'en bo os cams, 
Gardo sèï mountounadoï,
tidera la la la la la loï!
Gardo sèï mountounadoï!

Guèlo rèscoutr' un moussurèt,
Guèlo rèscoutr' un moussurèt;
Lou moussou l'ogatsavo,
Tidera la la la la la loï!
Lou moussou l’ogatsavo!

"Ah! Daïssa mè bous ogasta!
Ah! Daïssa mè bous ogasta!
Sès ton poulido filho!
Tidera la la la la la loï!
Sès ton poulido filho!"

"Estaco boustré cabalèt,
Estaco boustré cabalèt,
O lo cambo d’un' 'aôbré,
tidera la la la la la loï!
O lo cambo d’un' 'aôbré!"

È lo perdri, quan lo tènio,
È lo perdri, quan lo tènio,
Guèlo s'èn ès onado,
tidera la la la la la loï!
Guèlo s'en ès onado!

The shepherdess in the fields

 

When the shepherdess goes off into the fields, 
When the shepherdess goes off into the fields, 
To tend her little sheep,
tidera la la la la la loï!
To tend her little sheep!

She meets a gentleman,
She meets a gentleman;
The gentleman looks at her,
Tidera la la la la la loï!
The gentleman looks at her!

“Ah! Let me gaze at you!
Ah! Let me gaze at you!
You’re such a pretty girl!
Tidera la la la la la loï!
You're such a pretty girl!” 

“Tie up your horse,
Tie up your horse,
To the branch of a tree,
tidera la la la la la loï!
To the branch of a tree!” 

He lost her, when he got hold of her,
He lost her, when he got hold of her,
She ran away,
tidera la la la la la loï!
She ran away!

 

Baïlèro

 

Pastré, dè dèlaï l’aïo
a gaïré dè boun ten,
dio lou baïlèro lèrô.
È n’aï pas gaïré, è dio, tu
baïlèro lèrô.

Pastré, lou prat faï flour,
li cal gorda toun troupèl,
dio lou baïlèro lèrô.
L’èrb ès pu fin’ ol prat d’oïçi,
baïlèro lèrô.

Pastré, couçi foraï,
èn obal io lou bèl rîou
dio lou baïlèro lèrô.
Espèromè, tè, baô çirca,
baïlèr
o lèrô.
 

Baïlèro

 

Shepherd across the water,
Are you having a good time?
Calling “baïlèro lèrô!”
Hey, it’s not so great. 
Over to you: “baïlèro lèrô!"

Shepherd, the field is in flower;
This is where you should be tending your flock,
Calling “baïlèro lèrô!”
The grass is finer in the pasture over here:

Over to you: “baïlèro lèrô!"

Shepherd, how can I get over?
There’s a wide stream between us.
Calling “baïlèro lèrô!”
Wait for me; I am coming to get you: 
Over to you: “baïlèro lèrô!"

 

L'aïo dè rotso

L'aïo dè rotso té foro mourir, filhoto!
Nè té cal pas bèïr' oquèl',  aïo, quèl' aïo,
Mès cal prèndr'un couot d'oquèl' aïo dè bi!

 

S'uno filhoto sè bouol morida, pitchouno,
Li cal pas douna d'oquèl' aïo dè rotso,
Aïmaro miliour oquèl' aïo dè bi!

 

Water from the Spring

The water from the spring will kill you, little girl!
No, no, you mustn’t drink that stuff,
Much better to have a bowlful of wine instead!

 

If a girl wants to get married, my little one,
She shouldn't have water from the spring,
She will be much happier with a swig of wine!

Lou coucut

Lou coucut oqu'os un áuzel
Que n'io pas capt plus de to bel
Coumo lou coucut qué canto,
Lou mió coucut, lou tió coucut, 
è lou coucut dès autrès.
Dió ? Obès pas èntendut canta lou coucut?

Per obal, found del prat,
Sé ni’o un áubré flourit è gronat,
Qué lou coucut l'i canto.
Lou mió coucut, lou tió coucut, 
E lou coucut des autrès.
Dió ? Obès pas èntendut canta lou coucut?

E se toutse les coucuts
Bou lioù pourta souneto,
ô ! forióu çin cent troumpetoï!
Lou mió coucut, lou tió coucut,
E lou coucut des autrès.
Dió ? Obès pas èntendut canta lou coucut?

 

The cuckoo

The cuckoo is a bird
There is no bird more beautiful
Than when the cuckoo sings,
My cuckoo bird, your cuckoo bird,
And the cuckoo bird of others! 
Say? Haven’t you heard the cuckoo bird sing?

Down there, in the meadow,
There’s a tree in flower and ready for fruit,
Where the cuckoo sings.
My cuckoo bird, your cuckoo bird,
And the cuckoo bird of others! 
Say? Haven’t you heard the cuckoo bird sing?

If all of the cuckoos
Wore a little bell,
Oh! It would be as loud as five hundred trumpets!
My cuckoo bird, your cuckoo bird,
And the cuckoo bird of others!
Say? Haven’t you heard the cuckoo bird sing?

ARTISTS

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David Jaeger

David Jaeger is a composer, music producer and broadcaster, who created "Two New Hours", an important contemporary music series in Canada which was heard on the national CBC Radio Two network from 1978 to 2007. From 1974 to 2002 he served as the CBC Radio coordinator of the CBC/Radio-Canada National Radio Competition for Young Composers.

 

Jaeger's compositions range from chamber music to vocal and choral works and opera, as well as orchestral and electronic music. Since his retirement from CBC in 2013, he has concentrated increasingly on compositions for chamber ensembles and voices. The current work, I Never Knew, is a good example.

 

In 2002 Jaeger was elected President of the International Rostrum of Composers and was the only non-European ever to be named to this post. He served as President for six years. He was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2018.

Roydon Tse

Creating “Exquisitely layered soundworlds” (I care if you listen) and writing music “Brimming with youthful vitality” (Winnipeg Free Press), Canadian composer Dr. Roydon Tse seeks to communicate to audiences from all backgrounds with music that reflects our lived experiences.


Named one of CBC music’s Top “30 under 30” in 2017, Roydon has collaborated with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Hamilton Philharmonic, Brussels Philharmonic, the Verona Quartet, and members of the Paris Opera and La Scala Orchestras, among others. Notable accolades include seven SOCAN Foundation Awards for composers, the Washington International Composition Prize (2015), Lieutenant Governor of Alberta’s Emerging Artist Award (2018), and the Johanna Metcalf Protégé Prize (2019).


From Hong Kong, Dr. Tse studied composition at the University of British Columbia and University of Toronto.

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Edith Yang Qing 杨青

Chinese-Canadian poet Edith Yang Qing specializes in poetry, prose, literary translation and criticism. She is the editor of American Magazine New Literature and a life member of Canadian Women Writers Association. She has co-published a collection of poems Echoes of the Kingdom of Heaven (Timur Publishing House) and co-translated Neruda's One Hundred Love Sonnets (Taiwan Tonsan Press).

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Kathryn Knowles

Kathryn Knowles is a composer, cellist, conductor, and writer currently based in Toronto, Ontario. Her compositions have been played in workshops by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the New Orford String Quartet, and the Penderecki String Quartet. Her most recent piece, Dreams of Hope, was commissioned by Joseph Petric and funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. She is currently collaborating with Morgan-Paige Melbourne to write a musical titled Between Fires, also funded by the CCA. Kathryn has performed and recorded with Juno-nominated singer-songwriter Lindsay Schoolcraft, and she recorded tracks for an upcoming album by the Juno-winning band, OKAN. Her poetry and short stories received honourable mention in the Writer’s Digest 89th Annual Writing Competition, and her debut fantasy trilogy, The Quiescence Trilogy, is available for purchase now. In addition to this, Kathryn is also a Centre Director with Sistema Toronto, the Music Director of Music4Life String Orchestra, and the Founder of Mad Endeavour. 

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David Cameron

David Cameron is a Glasgow-born poet and novelist. In 2014 he received the Hennessy Literary Award. He has been described as ‘one of the most insightful and thought-provoking poets around’, and his poetry (collected in The Bright Tethers and Korean Letters) has been praised by Nobel laureate, Seamus Heaney. Reviewing Cameron’s first collection of fiction, Rousseau Moon, Robert Nye wrote that Cameron’s work ‘transmutes the base matter of common experience into something like gold’; a reviewer described Cameron’s experimental novel, Prendergast’s Fall, as ‘one of the most inventive and interesting novels of recent times’. Cameron has also written a critical study, Samuel Beckett: The Middle and Later Years. He continues to work closely with the Toronto-based composer David Jaeger on several settings of his poems. From late 2000 to mid-2004, Cameron lived in Amsterdam, where his forthcoming novel Femke is set. He now works as a learning consultant in Belfast.

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Zi Xin Emily Lapin

Zi Xin Emily Lapin is a Chinese-Canadian soprano based in Toronto, Ontario. A recent graduate of the University of Toronto, she obtained both a Master of Music and a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance. Amidst COVID-19, Emily was featured in various digital performances including the premiere of Palej’s digital opera Art of Love with COSA Canada, pianist Jialiang Zhu’s lecture recital showcasing Chinese Art Song and Brampton’s Vibrant Classical Music and Dance Festival. Other performance highlights include the title role in Semele (Toronto Opera Lyric Theatre), Second Woman in Dido and Belinda (OperaQ), and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte (Halifax Summer Opera Festival). She has been featured numerous times as a soloist and chorister in VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert’s productions. In past summers, she sang Solomon’s Queen in Handel’s Solomon (Victoria Conservatory of Music) and studied at the Stratford Summer Music Vocal Academy. Emily is also an active voice and piano teacher to all ages.

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Jialiang Zhu

Chinese pianist Jialiang Zhu passionately embraces vocal collaboration, chamber music, and solo music. Currently pursuing a Doctoral of Musical Arts Degree, she studies with Lydia Wong at the University of Toronto. She is a featured pianist and Project Assistant on Chinese-Canadian composer Alice Ping Yee Ho’s 2022 album A Woman’s Voice – Songs and Duets for Voice and Piano. A specialist in Chinese art song, she has presented this repertoire at organizations such as Canadian Opera Company, University of Toronto, and University of Ottawa. Her article “Singing Classical Chinese Poetry” was published in Art Song Canada Winter 2022 Issue. Her doctoral thesis is a performance guide for non-Mandarin speakers on how to tackle Chinese art song and poetry.

Jialiang co-founded the Bedford Trio with violinist Alessia Disimino and cellist Andrew Ascenzo in 2016. They are the inaugural Irene R. Miller Piano Trio in Residency at the U of T’s Faculty of Music. They have been the adjudicators for the U of T Piano Trio Composition Competition. In December 2022, they released digital album "Silver Screen", live recordings of cinematic music from their current concert season. As a featured soloist, Jialiang performed Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with York Chamber Ensemble and the U of T Symphony Orchestra and Choirs.

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