'A dream come true': 3 ASU violin students to perform at Carnegie Hall

March 17, 2014

There’s an old joke that goes, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

The answer? ASU School of Music student Clarice Collins Download Full Image


For ASU School of Music students Clarice Collins, Xiangyuan Huang and Shu Liu, who will perform at Carnegie Hall on April 25, practice is exactly how they managed to end up on the famous stage.

The three students, all of whom study with Danwen Jiang, associate professor of violin, were selected to play at the InterHarmony Concert Series: “Rite of String” concert after their performances this summer at the InterHarmony International Music Festival. Collins is originally from Toulouse, France, via Plano, Texas, and Liu and Huang are both from Beijing.

One other student who performed at the festival, a pianist from the University of Tennessee, was also selected to appear at Carnegie Hall in April. In addition, four InterHarmony faculty members will perform at the concert: Ning An, piano; Eugenia Choi, violin; Misha Quint, cello; and Howard Klug, clarinet.

InterHarmony offers educational opportunities and performances for aspiring and established musicians during its summer music festival in Italy and Germany, and its New York Concert Series at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

In the summer of 2013, there were three sessions of the festival: two in Arcidosso, Tuscany, Italy, and one in Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Bavaria, Germany. Between the three festivals, a total of 250 students from 20 different countries participated, together with 125 artist faculty and guests.

“We choose students to perform in the InterHarmony Concert Series based on their performances at the festival, both solo and chamber music,” said InterHarmony’s Caitlin McConnell. “If they distinguish themselves in concert, we note it and make decisions based on that, and on how the performers can fit in with our concert programming.

“While our level at the festival in 2013 was exceptionally high, Xiangyuan Huang and Clarice Collins played a knock-out Prokofiev Sonata for 2 Violins while at the festival in Germany. Our music director, Misha Quint, was also very impressed by Shu Liu's performance of Ysaye Sonata No. 2.”

Danwen Jiang said that for every aspiring musician, the chance to play in Carnegie Hall “is a symbol of accomplishment and success.” She described Collins and Huang, who are sophomores, and Liu, a junior, as “among the finest music students in the ASU School of Music,” and added, “now they have the opportunity to share their talents with the world.”

In January 2014, Shu Liu also won the Southwest Division of the Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Competition. This month, she travels to Chicago for a chance to win $3,000 at the national competition, which will be held March 22-24.

“That three of the four university students selected by InterHarmony to perform at their Rite of Spring concert in Carnegie Hall are ASU students is a testament to the level of musicianship and excellence found among all our students in the ASU School of Music,” said Heather Landes, interim director of the School of Music. “We are proud of the outstanding and innovative educational opportunities that make us one of the leading institutions for the study of music in the United States.”

Clarice Collins said that the experience of being selected to play Carnegie Hall was slightly “unreal.” She called Huang “the best duo partner I could ever have asked for, and one of the best friends I have had,” and said that although she and Huang had a great time playing in Germany, “we definitely did not expect any of this! To be able to play Carnegie Hall is a dream come true.”

For more about the InterHarmony International Music Festival, visit interharmony.com.

For more about the ASU School of Music, visit music.asu.edu.

Deborah Sussman

Communications and media specialist, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


Lecture to address religious roots of technological visions

March 17, 2014

Some scholars, inventors and futurists have argued that artificial intelligence, robotics and genetic engineering will soon produce people that will far surpass modern humans in power and intelligence. Will advances in technology lead to extraordinary transhuman beings? And what sort of society do these futurists envision?

Michael Zimmerman, professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder, will discuss religious themes in the ideas of key proponents of these technological innovations in a free public lecture at 3 p.m., March 20, in West Hall, room 135, on ASU’s Tempe campus. banner ad for The Transhumanist Imagination Lecture Series Download Full Image

Zimmerman's lecture, “The Technological Singularity: A Crucial Event in God's Self-Actualization,” will examine the extent to which transhumanism draws upon and extends a long-standing theme in Western philosophy and theology, according to which humans are capable of being God or god-like.

Zimmerman asks whether it is possible to retain what is noble about modernity, including the freedoms connected with politics, research and religion, while correcting its shortcomings – among them serious environmental problems and various technologies that seek to alter human evolution. His work on transhumanism seeks to understand the motivations driving those who wish to enter a new posthuman era as fast as possible.

“Some posthumanists crave life extension and even immortality; others see a fortune to be made in medicine; still others envision Nobel prizes for extraordinary scientific breakthroughs,” says Zimmerman. “Another important factor animating posthumanism, however, is a spiritual-religious yearning.”

One of the key figures that Zimmerman will discuss in his lecture is Ray Kurzweil, an inventor and one of the most influential contemporary writers about the future of technology and human evolution.

“Professor Zimmerman has written most insightfully about the deep religious roots of Ray Kurzweil's notion of Singularity,” says Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, professor of history, director of the Center for Jewish Studies and co-director of the project, “The Transhumanist Imagination: Innovation, Secularization and Eschatology.”

“Zimmerman argues that for Kurzweil, technological development represents a secularized ‘divine spirit’ that works through humans to take charge of its own destiny and spiritualize everything in the universe, including matter and energy,” says Tirosh-Samuelson.

“In Kurzweil's vision, the god-like posthuman is a being that has become divine,” says Tirosh-Samuelson. “This is a profound vision, which simultaneously secularizes and displaces traditional religious ideas.”

“Because science and technology are pitted against religion in popular discourse, many people are surprised to learn about the religious roots that animate many of the technological visions that are shaping our future,” says Ben Hurlbut, assistant professor in the School of Life Sciences and co-director with Tirosh-Samuelson of the Transhumanist Imagination project.

“This is one of the reasons it is important to examine the futures that are being imagined by leading technologists and futurists,” says Hurlbut.

“These visions have tremendous implications for public policy and public understanding,” says Hurlbut, “including the investment of public resources.”

This lecture is part of a series supported by the project, “The Transhumanist Imagination: Innovation, Secularization and Eschatology,” led by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Ben Hurlbut under the auspices of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict.

The project is made possible by a grant from The Historical Society’s program in Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation.

For more information, see the event page.

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict is an interdisciplinary research unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that examines the role of religion as a driving force for human affairs.

Carolyn Forbes, carolyn.forbes@asu.edu
ASU Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict