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“As an Asian American artist, this opportunity to showcase a history that has both a direct connection to my ethnicity as well as a global connection is incredibly empowering.”
- Charlton Lee, Founder & Artistic Director, Del Sol Quartet
Between 1910 and 1940 as new immigrants flowed through the immigration station on Angel Island inside the San Francisco Bay, Chinese immigrants faced massive discrimination because of America’s earliest racist immigration legislation – the Page Act of 1875 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. It was the first, and remains the only, law to have been implemented to prevent all members of a specific ethnic or national group from immigrating to the United States. Facing imprisonment, sometimes up to years, in brutal conditions at the detention center, many of these immigrants searched for solace by inscribing poetry onto the walls of the center. Composed by Huang Ruo – acclaimed by The New Yorker as “One of the world’s leading young composers,” and whose recent operas have premiered with the Washington National Opera – ANGEL ISLAND, an oratorio for chamber choir and string quartet is inspired by these poems, weaving a story of immigration, discrimination and confinement – bringing history into the reality of our current lives.