For Professor Timothy Salzman, “music is a universal language”. As director of the UW Wind Ensemble, he delights in helping students perfect their playing. But even more so, in using music as a pathway for connecting students with new people and experiences. Over spring break, he brought the entire 56-member UW Wind Ensemble on an unforgettable trip to China. Their packed itinerary included opportunities for hands-on learning at every turn.

The Wind Ensemble’s journey began in the city of Chengdu. Hosted graciously by partners at Sichuan University, CIWA’s partner university in China. The students played two concerts, one with an audience of 3000. Most audience members had little prior exposure to their craft. “Wind ensemble music is pretty new to most people in China,” shares Professor Salzman. “People were just taking it in.”

UW students teach kids at a "master class"
UW students teach kids at a “master class”
Professor Salzman and students after a performance
Professor Salzman and students after a performance

Moving on to the cities of Xi’an and Beijing, UW students conducted several intensive music classes for local music students, “from little kids through college age”, and played several more concerts for audiences verging on 2000 people. Performing at Tsinghua University’s spectacular concert hall was a particular highlight.

The Confucius Institute of the State of Washington (CIWA) made this trip possible by fostering relationships between the UW and Chinese partners. Serving our entire state, CIWA promotes Chinese language and culture learning across Washington, and strengthens educational and cultural exchange and collaboration between China and our state.