Last year, when concert halls around the world faced indefinite closure as the pandemic swept across the globe, Taiwan was a fortress of health and safety. It offered perhaps the safest music sanctuary in the world. Concerts took place and musicians played to packed houses. But the tide turned recently as a surge of Covid-19 related infections started to menace the populace in Taiwan. Obliging the guidelines of the health authorities means TMAF with all its educational activities and concerts can no longer take place in Taipei this summer.
How do we keep the music going? This difficult challenge landed on my lap exactly two months before the scheduled start of TMAF. I felt a keen obligation to keep the promise to the young musicians. The show must go on. But how?
Life has certain ebb and flow. As concert hall lights dim in Taiwan, the curtains in America are starting to raise. Can I pivot to America that quickly? Luckily, I got connected with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. After a conversation with their visionary and energetic president, David Stull, I felt this might just be possible. Our collaboration evolved and progressed quickly. We had to act fast. We had to work out venues, new programs, student housing, vaccination, concert planning, lodging for the faculty, new staff, catering and rerouting the faculty and students 10,000km away. Not easy. But I am pleased to present to you TMAF@SF. The talented students will have state of the art facilities at San Francisco Conservatory for their studies and performances.
We will present performances in two beautiful concert halls at the San Francisco Conservatory. The acoustically excellent Hume Concert Hall and the brand new Barbro Osher Recital Hall in the stunning Bowes Center. We will also perform a concert at the Frost Amphitheater on Stanford University campus in Palo Alto. Our concerts will be streamed by Violin Channel worldwide as well as being aired by Taiwanese TV.
I am grateful to the San Francisco Conservatory for their invaluable help. I am moved by the generosity of our great sponsors in Taiwan and many supporters in the USA. Despite this detour, they have remained steadfast in their support of this festival.
TMAF wishes Taiwan a speedy tamping down of the infections. I look forward to TMAF returning to Taipei in 2022. This summer, however, come and watch us in gorgeous San Francisco or online. I know all the musicians will play with their hearts and with great beauty.
Artistic Director, Taipei Music Academy & Festival