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About Us/Background

 

Founded in 2011 by Asian Performing Arts Council, a U.S. nonprofit organization, foster cultural exchange between U.S. and Asia, particularly China. iSING! Festival began as a young artists program, the first of its kind in China. Today, it has grown to become a unique international vocal arts Festival, attracting post-graduate and young professional singers from East and West. 

 

Since its inception, nearly 400 young singers from over 30 countries have participated in iSING!, performing in over 50 major concerts in venues including Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York, and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

 

Under the leadership of Artistic Director, Hao Jiang Tian, iSING! Festival continues to evolve as it introduces novel new concepts in operatic performance and cultural exchange between East and West. Mr. Tian, a celebrated opera singer performed over 20 consecutive years with New York’s Metropolitan Opera. He has sung over 1400 performances of 50 operatic roles worldwide.

 

iSING! music staff consists of a team of outstanding experts in vocal arts from leading conservatories, music festivals and renowned opera houses. iSING!’s creative and production team includes some of the most sought-after stage directors, set designers, digital scenographers, costume designers and choreographers, who are active in opera houses such as Metropolitan Opera, Berlin Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Covent Garden Opera House, National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Arena di Verona, Bavarian States Opera, Cape Town Opera, Juilliard School, Opera Australia, Glyndebourne Festival, Bolshoi Theater Young Artist Program, Central Conservatory of Music, and Shanghai Conservatory.

Since its launch, this pioneering program has attracted major media coverage such as the BBC, MSNBC, CCTV, Associated Press, NPR, NBC, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Time magazine, among others.

In the 2024-25 season, iSING! Festival will bring its history-making Echoes of Ancient Tang Poems (the “Project”) on an international tour including five cities in North America, Europe and China, featuring a cast of singers in all vocal categories. The Project begins on May 20, 2024, with an intensive training/rehearsal period in China, culminating in a kick-off concert in Beijing, followed shortly after by a concert in a European city to be announced at a later date, marking the official launch of the iSING! Festival Echoes of Ancient Tang Poems Tour. Subsequent concerts will be scheduled and announced throughout the 2024-25 season. Auditions will be held March 19 – April 10, 2024, in New York, San Francisco, Paris, Milan, Berlin, Warsaw and Beijing. Link here for more information on this exciting program.


Poetry of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 A.D.) has been emblematic of the human spirit and cultural refinement. Just like Shakespeare’s oeuvre, Tang poems represent a timeless Zeitgeist. For the first time these 1,300-year-old poems were set to music by young composers from six countries. Thirty iSING! artists from ten countries sang these works in Mandarin.
 

In 2023, iSING! collaborated with the Philadelphia Orchestra to present the historic American premiere of Echoes of Ancient Tang Poems at Lincoln Center and Kimmel Center, in Philadelphia. Thirty iSING! artists from ten countries sang these works in Mandarin.

 

Other iSING! 2023 highlights included the SKP Chengdu iSING! Opera Gala, directed by the acclaimed opera director Hugo De Ana, conducted by Kamal Khan; and a concert reprising selected Tang poems with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the China National Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of conductor Tristan Rais-Sherman.

After 12 triumphant seasons, iSING! has garnered critical acclaim:

  • Nurturing over 400 singers from over 30 countries 

  • Performing in major venues internationally with major orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York City Opera Orchestra, National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra, China National Symphony Orchestra,

  • Creating opportunities for iSING! artists to star in world premieres of three modern Chinese operas including:

    • Voyage to the East at Lincoln Center and toured in Japan

    • Diary of John Rabe at Berlin Staatsoper, Elbphilharmonie, Theater an der Wien

    • Rickshaw Boy performed in five-city in Italy (Teatro Regio Torino, Auditorium di Milano, Teatro Carlo Felice, Opera di Firenze, Parma Concert Hall.)
       

  • Festival artists also continue to garner acclaim including:

 

  • iSING! Alumni 2023-24 Engagements:

    • Guanqun Yu, soprano (2001), Nicholas Brownlee, bass-baritone (2001) in Aida at Frankfurt Opera

    • William Guanbo Su, bass (2017) in Magic Flute at Metropolitan Opera

    • Bu Le, bass-baritone (2017) in five operas at Metropolitan Opera

    • Wei Wu, bass (2011), Briana Hunter, mezzo-soprano (2012) Frederick Ballentine, tenor (2011) in Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera

    • Jamez McCorkle, tenor (2012) in Omar at San Francisco Opera

    • Holly Flack, soprano (2019) in Animal Farm at Staatsoper Berlin

    • Meigui Zhang, soprano (2014) in Don Giovanni at Los Angeles Opera

 

 

  • iSING! Alumni Debuts 2011 - present:

    • Metropolitan Opera

    • Berlin Staatsoper

    • Teatro alla Scala

    • L’opéra de Paris

    • San Francisco Opera

    • Zürich Opera House

    • Houston Grand Opera

    • Washington National Opera

    • National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing

    • Phantom of the Opera on Broadway

 

  • iSING! Alumni at Young Artist Program 2011 - present

    • Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program

    • San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program

    • San Francisco Opera’s Adler Program

    • Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists of Washington National Opera

    • Houston Grand Opera Studio

    • Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers

  • iSING! Alumni Competition Winners

    • Winners of Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions

    • Winners of Plácido Domingo's Operalia

    • Hans Gabor Belvedere International Voice Competition

    • Paris Opera Competition

    • Spoleto Festival

    • George London Vocal Competition

    • Two Grammy Awards winners

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