LA Master Chorale Associate Conductor Jenny Wong
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The LA Master Chorale’s music director, Grant Gershon, has been spending the last few weeks in the City by the Bay, conducting the world premiere run of John Adams’ opera Girls of the Golden West. That means for this weekend’s LA Master Chorale concert of all six of the Bach Motets, Associate Conductor Jenny Wong will be on the podium.
Wong grew up singing and conducting choirs in her native Hong Kong. She studied at USC and last year was so impressive as the LA Master Chorale’s assistant conductor, they promoted her to associate conductor. She’s conducted the Master Chorale in Walt Disney Concert Hall before–including for a world premiere of music by Moira Smiley–but Sunday is her first solo conducting appearance there.
Wong says she’s excited to conduct the six motets by J.S. Bach for many reasons, not the least of which is the incredible depth of the music.
“All of us, undoubtedly, who we study Bach’s music, you’re always going to leave it feeling like you can’t study it enough. There’s just so much more to get to know about it. Because Bach’s music there’s such an order to it. And yet, it’s never just because it’s academic. It’s useless to talk about Bach without talking about the reason for which he wrote this. Bach said, ‘The aim and the final end of music is none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.’
“So, when you look at a program like this–which is very different from some of Bach’s other works, like the Passions, the Cantatas, or the Mass in b minor–you have to find and get to the root of why did Bach do this. Why is it in some moments not as dramatic as, say, the Passions? But then you realize that Bach wasn’t trying to be flashy in any way. For him, these pieces–which were occasional pieces–were meant to be comforting for people. To give people hope. And that’s really a big message that I hope audiences will experience in our concert.”
Jenny Wong is the Associate Conductor of the LA Master Chorale. She’s conducting the six motets by J.S. Bach on Sunday, December 10th at 7:00 pm at Walt Disney Concert Hall. You can learn more about those performances here.