Shanghai Sonatas

Thursday, March 16 – Saturday, March 18, 2023

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Shanghai Sonatas at the Wallis flyer

From March 16-18, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills presented the World Premiere of a new musical, Shanghai Sonatas, by the distinguished composer and pedagogue Sean (Xiang) Gao with our amazing Maestra Green guest-conducting the ensemble for the evening performances.

This work shares the legacy of the Jewish classical musicians who found safety in Shanghai during the Holocaust. The extraordinary music that emerged from these refugees and their Chinese musical students flourished into a tradition of classical music in China that continues today.

“What you have with Shanghai Sonatas is a combination of elements that rarely all come together in one package. There is a compelling story that few know but that must be told. There are intriguing characters from contrasting cultures. There is captivating music from a variety of genres and traditions. There are educational materials tailored to people of all ages. And there is at the heart of the Shanghai Sonatas the creator Xiang Gao whose rich experiences as composer, performer, educator, and presenter combine into a production assured to have wide-ranging appeal.”

Ken Fischer

President Emeritus of the University Musical Society (UMS) at the University of Michigan

About the Creators

Composer and Producing Artistic Director Sean Gao of Shanghai Sonatas
Original concept, Composer, and Producing Artistic Director

Named as one of Musical America’s Top 30 Professionals of the Year in 2021, Sean Gao is one of the world’s most successful presenters, producers, composers, and pedagogues. He has also solo performed violin with 100 plus orchestras worldwide. Sean is the Trustees Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Delaware.

Alan Goodson, Book Writer of Shanghai Sonatas
Book Writer

Alan Goodson is a playwright, translator, lyricist, actor, and director based in Los Angeles. His plays have been presented at new play festivals throughout the country. In addition to his original work, he translates plays and lyrics from German, Hungarian, and Swedish into English. He is a long-time member of the Dramatists Guild, Actors’ Equity Association, and SAG-AFTRA.

Joyce Hill Stoner, Lyricist of Shanghai Sonatas

Joyce Hill Stoner has written the lyrics (and often the music) for 23 musicals produced Off-Broadway, in the NYC Fringe Festival, and in venues in Toronto, San Francisco, Delaware, Maine, and Italy. The NYTimes called her work I’ll Die if I Can’t Live Forever “the best mini-musical in town.” Dr. Stoner is Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Material Culture at the University of Delaware.

Local Partner

Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix logo

Global Partners

National Endowment for the Humanities Logo
University of Delaware Master Players Series Logo
Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix logo
China Institute logo
Violins of Hope logo
Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum logo