Festival Connect 2024 artwork by Andrew Rasmussen


From January 26 to February 4, Festival Connect returns for its third installment at The Tianjin Juilliard School. The flagship festival highlights a different groundbreaking 20th-century composer every year, tracing their legacy and influence on contemporary music.



Festival Connect 2024 will be a celebration of musical exploration and cultural resonance. This year, we delve into the masterworks of three exceptional composers—Olivier Messiaen (b. 1908), William Bolcom (b. 1938), and Qigang Chen (b. 1951). Our festival not only presents their groundbreaking compositions but also invites you to explore the cultural and social contexts that shaped their musical narratives.  

Olivier Messiaen stands as a beacon among 20th-century composers. His life overlapped with a changing world, and his music bore witness to this transformative era. A composer deeply connected to his spiritual convictions and a dedicated ornithologist, Messiaen's unique voice echoes through compositions that defy convention. From the iconic Quatuor pour la fin du temps, composed in a prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, to the transcendent L’ascension, Messiaen's oeuvre reflects a profound exploration of faith, nature, and the human experience. We celebrate Messiaen’s indelible contribution to classical music and his enduring influence on generations of composers. 

The festival unveils a fascinating connection between Bolcom and Chen through their studies with Olivier Messiaen. As we explore how Messiaen's teaching influenced these diverse styles, Bolcom, with his incorporation of ragtime and jazz, and Chen, with his fusion of Eastern and Western compositional influences, showcase the broad spectrum of Messiaen's impact on their compositions. This shared influence becomes a thematic thread, weaving through the performances, and allowing us to witness the evolution of Messiaen's pedagogical legacy across continents and musical genres.  

This year’s Festival Connect includes a series of four performances: an opening concert supported by the Bank of China Tianjin Branch; two chamber concerts showcasing Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps and Bolcom’s Cabaret Songs; as well as a closing concert by the Tianjin Juilliard Orchestra, featuring Chen’s Reflet d'un temps disparu, for Erhu and Orchestra (2002) and Messiaen’s L’ascension.


Festival Connect reflects the mission of Tianjin Juilliard, to bridge cultures through the art of music. It is not merely a series of performances; it is a curated exploration of masterpieces, each presented in a way that unveils the intricacies of their creations within the cultural and social contexts of their respective worlds. The festival is a testament to the power of music connecting us across generations and cultures. 


Wei He

CEO and Artistic Director of The Tianjin Juilliard School


Tickets for Festival Connect's opening concert are available, and for the closing concerts will be available soon. Free online registration will be available for the chamber music and vocal chamber music concerts shortly. Please check back on the website for updates. For more program and ticket information, please refer to the Performance Calendar.  


Friday, January 26, 7:30 pm, Tianjin Juilliard Concert Hall 

Opening Concert | Tianjin Juilliard Ensemble Concert

Supported by the Bank of China Tianjin Branch

QIGANG CHEN Instants d’un opéra de Pékin for Solo Piano (2019)
OLIVIER MESSIAEN Le Merle noir for Flute and Piano (1952)
                                  Thème et variations pour violon et piano 
WILLIAM BOLCOM The Hawthorn Tree, Song Cycle for Mezzo-Soprano and Chamber Ensemble 
                                 Three Rags for String Quartet (1989)
OLIVIER MESSIAEN Poèmes pour Mi (Second Book) (1945)
QIGANG CHEN L'éloignement for String Orchestra (2004)


Monday, January 29, 7 pm, Tianjin Juilliard Tanoto Theater

Chamber Music Concert

OLIVIER MESSIAEN Quatuor pour la fin du temps (1940)


Thursday, February 1, 7 pm, Tianjin Juilliard Tanoto Theater

Vocal Chamber Music Concert

                                   La mort du nombre
QIGANG CHEN "Under the Hawthorn Tree"
                           "Coming Home"
                           “Qin Huai Legend”

WILLIAM BOLCOLM Selection from Cabaret Songs 


Sunday, February 4, 3 pm, Tianjin Juilliard Concert Hall 

Closing Concert | Tianjin Juilliard Orchestra Concert
Ken Lam, Conductor | Xianghua Ma, Erhu

QIGANG CHEN Reflet d'un temps disparu (2002) for Erhu and Orchestra