The Beijing Viola Ensemble recently kicked off its 14-day tour of Northeast America with a performance at the Grace Baptist Church in Kent.
The 19-member ensemble performed 12 pieces under the direction of Wing Ho. Ho is a former concert master for the Kent State University Symphony who is now the viola professor and chairman of the viola and orchestral studies departments at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.
Ho, who received his masters degree from Yale University and has studied at the Baroque Performance Institute at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, directed 19 students between the ages of 14 and 21 in an hour-long performance that included works by Dvorak, Liu Qi, Vieuxtemps, Bach, Prokofiev, Paganini, Guan Qingwu and Shostakovich.
The ensemble arrived in New York from Beijing then traveled by vans to Kent. Ho chose Kent, his first American hometown, to be the location for the start of the tour.
In addition to performing, the students will take master classes at some of the most prestigious music schools in the Northeast, including Julliard, Eastman, Peabody, Oberlin, Cleveland Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music. Some of the students also will be auditioning for entrance to colleges in the fall.
Ho and the students were provided with meals and housing by host families from Grace Baptist Church, which he attended while at KSU.