HELLO GOLD MOUNTAIN is an original composition by Wu Fei for chamber orchestra, performed by chatterbird ensemble, featuring Wu Fei on guzheng and Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz (Silk Road Ensemble) on oud — the traditional Chinese and Jewish plucked string instruments respectively.
The work is inspired by real stories of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai from Europe before and during World War II, and built lives in China. From 1933 until the end of the war, Shanghai was often the only port at which Jewish refugees fleeing Europe could disembark without a visa. In the early 1940s, more than 20,000 Jews lived in Shanghai and contributed to its cultural and civic life.
But the Jews could not stay. As China’s bloody civil war came to a close in 1949, most fled. Many emigrated to the US, often arriving at the port of San Francisco, or Old Gold Mountain 旧金山.
What possibilities were lost because the times did not allow neighbors from these different cultures to grow old together, sharing songs and stories?
This project shines a light on the loss of identity caused by displacement, while celebrating the cultural enrichment that happens when we open ourselves to the lived experiences of others. It honors the memory of these refugees, highlighting the connections to the current landscape, and bearing witness to the important and difficult work that is being done every day to create positive change.
Hello Gold Mountain premiered February 2019 at Vanderbilt University's Ingram Hall in Nashville, TN. The premiere was accompanied with a range of community activities presented in collaboration with the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee as well as the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. In 2020, we will tour the work for the first time.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (June 2019)