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iMusic 12: Shanghai Sonatas - a New Musical in Concert

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Saturday, February 15 and 16, 2020 - Mitchell Hall - 3 P.M.
Shanghai Sonatas Poster

iMusic, a Master Players tradition that fuses music with multimedia and interdisciplinary elements, enters its 12th year this February. This year’s entry in the series will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory over the Axis powers in World War II with the world premiere of the musical theatre showcase, Shanghai Sonatas. Combining musical theater and live classical music, Shanghai Sonatas is a pioneering new musical conceptualized, produced and composed by Xiang Gao. Other creators include Master Players Playwright-In-Residence Alan Goodson; lyricist Joyce Hill Stoner, named professor and founding faculty of UD’s Art Conservation doctoral program; stage director Chongren Fan from New York City; and visual art designer David Brinley, faculty of the UD Art Department.

This hybrid new musical is supported by the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum, the UD Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center, a University General Research Grant, a Partnership for Arts & Culture grant, a Delaware Division of the Arts grant and generous private donors.



Chinese-American violinist Benny Dao, who no longer feels entirely at home in either America or China, arrives in Shanghai to give a concert. He discovers restored violins from the Jewish Ghetto of Shanghai that, when played, transport him back to Japanese-occupied Shanghai of the 1930s and '40s, where he follows the wartime experience of some of the musicians among the 20,000 Jewish refugees who found safe haven in Shanghai and who trained the first generation of Chinese classical musicians, including Benny's own relatives. In becoming a part of the daily life of both the Jews and the native Chinese living within the confines of the Ghetto, he witnesses their joys and sorrows as they struggle with poverty, disease, and capricious overseers. Experiencing how the refugees use music to help create a sense of belonging in their strange new land, and finding that his musical heritage can be traced through his family back to them, Benny discovers a sense of his own belonging as an immigrant struggling to create a balance between his two cultures—and the power of music to bring that about.

To learn more about the musical, visit

This concert will be performed twice:

Buy tickets now! (Saturday, February 15, 2020)

Buy tickets now! (Sunday, February 16, 2020 - repeat)

To learn more about purchasing tickets by phone, order form, or in person, click here.

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iMusic 12: Shanghai Sonatas - a New Musical in Concert
  • Master Players Concert Series
  • 100 Orchard Road
  • Department of Music
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3149
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