Violinist Wei Tsun Chang brings TTU to world stage

The Atlantic Ensemble consists of Kirsten Cassel Greer on cello, Jennifer McGuire on piano, Seanad Dunigan Chang on viola and Wei Tsun Chang on violin.
Wei Tsun Chang speaks five languages fluently, but it is with his sixth and perhaps most well-spoken language – music – that he sets Tennessee Tech University on a world stage.

An associate professor of violin since 2002 who also serves as concertmaster for the Bryan Symphony Orchestra, Chang leads the Atlantic Ensemble, a chamber music trio that routinely premiers works by composers from Cookeville to Paris. The ensemble has been together since 2005 with three instruments at its core: violin, viola and cello. More instruments and musicians are added as compositions dictate.

The Atlantic Ensemble's fall performance at TTU premiers two works by well-known composer Charles Ruggiero. The audience for the Sept. 27 performance will be treated to a discussion by Ruggiero, a long-time member of the College of Music faculty at Michigan State University.

Ruggiero's visit to campus is a Center Stage event made possible by the General Education Fund. All Center Stage events are free and open to the public. Center Stage events are selected to enhance student understanding and engagement with the fine arts or world cultures.

"I wanted to bring a composer of Ruggiero's stature to Tennessee Tech to talk about his process, then let the audience hear the finished product. This is a rare luxury for a composer," Chang said.

The concert, to be held at 7:30 p.m. in Wattenbarger Auditorium inside the Bryan Fine Arts Building.

The Atlantic Ensemble consists of Chang, his wife Seanad Dunigan Chang on viola, Kirsten Cassel Greer on cello, Jennifer McGuire on piano and special guest Cassandra Lee on clarinet. Seanad, Kirsten, Jennifer and Cassandra are on the faculty at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University.

Composer Charles Ruggiero
Ruggiero is perhaps best known for a Joseph Lulloff recording of his Three Blues for Saxophone Quartet and for his concert arrangement, Strayhorn. His compositions are eclectic and reflect his lifelong interest in jazz. His composition Strayhorn – written with jazz composer Billy Strayhorn in mind – is being reworked by Ruggiero specifically for the Atlantic Ensemble performance at TTU.

After the TTU performance, Chang travels to his alma mater, Michigan State University, where he earned his doctorate. He's to be featured as a guest artist at MSU's Violin Festival Oct. 10. While there, he'll perform Ruggiero's Intimate Recollections, for violin, viola, cello and piano, Collage 1912 for violin, clarinet and piano as well as Strayhorn for violin, viola and piano. He will also give a violin master class to the violin students.

In November, Chang travels to Paris, where the ensemble has been invited to perform at a concert series at L'Église St. Merri, a church built in 16th century Gothic style. There they will premier a new string trio written for the Atlantic Ensemble by Michael Kurek.