May 13, 2012, 2 pm, Mothers' Day

Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall

Master Pianist Tian Jiang Commemorates Isaac Stern’s 1979 China Visit

In 1979, the tide brought American violinist Isaac Stern, preserver of Carnegie Hall, then serving as goodwill ambassador, from the United States to China.  A year later, under Mr. Stern’s sponsorship, a young Tian Jiang, became one of the first young musicians to ever leave China to come America to study Western Classical Music. 

This May, exactly 33 years after Isaac Stern’s China visit, Tian Jiang will perform in Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium, commemorating the memory of Isaac Stern—a concert for America’s youths, to help and inspire them with the power and Beauty of classical music just as Tian himself was inspired by its power and helped by Isaac Stern.

The Idea is obvious but utterly fitting.   Isaac Stern is entirely identified with Carnegie Hall. Mr. Stern is identified with the reawakening of "Western" Classical music in China.  Tian's American sojourn came about because of Isaac Stern.  The knowledge of, and interest in, the Chinese’s interest in Classical music was almost entirely communicated to American audiences through the film {From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China}, released in 1980 and winning an Academy Award that year for best documentary feature.

This is now a "full circle"—Isaac Stern is deceased, but the Carnegie Hall Stern auditorium in which Tian will play bears his name;  Tian's purpose is to assist youth in New York City to take up the very Classical tradition that Stern had brought to China those many years ago, in the same way that the young Tian was assisted;  most of all, the purpose is to say "Thank You" for a great gift, in the {only} way that great musicians expect to be thanked—by passing it on to others.  Somewhere in that audience, in May, will be sitting someone or many someone, who will do the same thing, for some other group of people, in some other nation, and so the circle of song goes on.


Friedrich Schiller once wrote: "it is through Beauty, that one proceeds to Freedom" He speaks not of mere physical beauty, but the deeper beauty of the mind,  a mind rendered more beautiful through its ability to both perceive itself, and to articulate its inner, most noble aspirations.  This is the gift and the right that we must give  to young people all around the world, who are the future of humanity. We owe this to both them, and the poets, of all forms of Art and Science, that gave us Classical culture, not as a set of rules, but rather of principles of thought leading humanity to a better, more productive, happier life.

This May 13, 2012, at the Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, a concert was performed by master pianist Tian Jiang. Over 1700 students, parents and teachers from over 80 public schools in the New York City area, most of whom have never been inside of Carnegie Hall, and many who have never heard Classical music, participated in the joy that the mind experiences when the beauty of human emotion and human intellect become one.  In a program of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Chopin, spanning almost two centuries in composition, and almost two and a half hours in performance, there were riveted silence, prolonged applause, and standing ovations from a crowd who the popular opinion of today deems "unable to comprehend or become interested in classical music".  Even two and three-year -old toddlers in the audience listened quietly in attention throughout the entire performance of Mozart's Fantasy in C minor, Beethoven's "Appassionata", and Brahms "Handel Variations".  

  In the aftermath of this concert, we received numerous letters from teachers, parents and students, asking for more of such opportunities for this sustenance for the mind and soul. We therefore considered: why not make true Dr. Martin Luther King's desire and intent, as expressed in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech: "I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits."