An Oratorio for Voices & String Quartet

Huang Ruo, Del Sol Quartet, The U.S. Air Force Band's Singing Sergeants
Tuesday, May 2, 2023, 7:00 PM

ANGEL ISLAND – An Oratorio for Voices & String Quartet
Huang Ruo, Del Sol Quartet, The U.S. Air Force Band’s Singing Sergeants
Tue, May 2, 7 p.m.
Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art

Between 1910 and 1940 as new immigrants flowed through the immigration station on Angel Island inside the San Francisco Bay, Chinese immigrants faced massive discrimination because of America’s earliest racist immigration legislation – the Page Act of 1875 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. It was the first, and remains the only, law to have been implemented to prevent all members of a specific ethnic or national group from immigrating to the United States. Facing imprisonment, sometimes up to years, in brutal conditions at the detention center, many of these immigrants searched for solace by inscribing poetry onto the walls of the center. Composed by Huang Ruo – acclaimed by The New Yorker as “One of the world’s leading young composers,” and whose recent operas have premiered with the Washington National Opera – ANGEL ISLAND, an oratorio for chamber choir and string quartet is inspired by these poems, weaving a story of immigration, discrimination and confinement – bringing history into the reality of our current lives.

Co-presented in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art and The United States Air Force Band

“As an Asian American artist, this opportunity to showcase a history that has both a direct connection to my ethnicity as well as a global connection is incredibly empowering.” 

 – Charlton Lee, Founder & Artistic Director, Del Sol Quartet
Official photo of the United States Air Force Singing Sergeants

Our Partners

Washington Performing Arts’s classical music performances this season are made possible in part through the generous support of Betsy and Robert Feinberg.

This is one of twenty 2022/23 season performances included in Washington Performing Arts’s The World in Our City initiative, which promotes cross-cultural understanding and cultural diplomacy via the presentation of international visiting artists, globally inspired local programming, and the award-winning Embassy Adoption Program, a partnership with D.C. Public Schools.

Special thanks to the following lead supporters of Washington Performing Arts’s mission-driven work: Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated; D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities; the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; and the Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts.

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