MOCATalks: The Making of Men of Iron and the Golden Spike 铁汉金钉 – A Symphonic Oratorio

Wed, Sep 25, 2019 @ 6:30pm - 7:30pm



Tickets are $15 and include wine and Museum admission. Members receive complimentary tickets. Not a Member? Join today!


There is an extraordinary story to be told of the thousands of Chinese workers who contributed to the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad 150 years ago. This fall, that story comes to life in an epic symphonic oratorio by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Zhou Long. Men of Iron and the Golden Spike 铁汉金钉 will receive its world premiere on October 1 at Carnegie Hall, performed by Bard College’s The Orchestra Now with Jindong Cai conducting. Join us for a lively discussion with Zhou Long, librettist Su Wei, and Jindong Cai to learn about the conception, creation, and performance of this large-scale symphonic work.


Zhou Long is internationally recognized for creating a unique body of music that brings together the aesthetic concepts and musical elements of East and West. He received the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for his first opera, Madame White Snake. A prolific composer, his work has been widely performed, recorded, and celebrated. Born on July 8, 1953 in Beijing, Zhou Long enrolled in the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing in 1977. Following graduation, he was appointed composer-in-residence with the China Broadcasting Symphony. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University in 1993 and is currently Bonfils Distinguished Research Professor of Composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.


Su Wei is a senior lecturer at Yale University, where he teaches in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures. A writer and critic whose work has been widely published in China, he is the author of several novels as well as short stories, academic essays, and three collections of memoirs. In 2008 Su wrote the libretto for composer Tony Fok’s acclaimed oratorio-cantata Ask the Sky and the Earth, describing the experiences of the ‘sent down youth’ during the Cultural Revolution.


Conductor Jindong Cai is the director of the US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, professor of music and art at Bard College, and associate conductor of The Orchestra Now. Prior to joining Bard, he was a professor of performance at Stanford University. Over the 30 years of his career in the United States, Cai has established himself as an active and dynamic conductor, scholar of Western classical music in China, and leading advocate of music from across Asia.


This event is part of the US-China Music Institute’s 2nd annual China Now Music Festival: China and America – Unity in Music.


Image credits: Across the continent: the Frank Leslie transcontinental excursion, Horace Baker (1833-1918), UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library; Zhou Long, Jindong Cai, Su Wei, courtesy of the artists.