Asian Performing Arts History
Asian Performing Arts Council (APAC), formerly known as Asian Performing Arts of Colorado, was established in 1986 as a non-profit organization to foster cultural exchange between the United States and Asia, particularly China. Founded by Dr. Martha Liao, a former geneticist who was one of the earliest scientists to introduce recombinant DNA technology to China, APAC has organized countless gala concerts, recitals, community outreaches, exhibitions, TV and radio programs, and other events reaching numerous audiences in both the United States and China. Under Dr. Liao’s leadership as chairman since its founding 25 years ago, APAC has assisted over 100 Chinese performing artists from all disciplines – instrumentalists, composers, singers, dancers and traditional Chinese musicians – in their training and career development.
APAC has supported musicians for studies at the finest institutions such as the Juilliard School, Mannes College, Boston University, and University of Denver Lamont School, among others. APAC’s extensive sponsorship and support have launched many singers onto important stages such as the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, New York City Opera, in major opera capitals such as Paris, Berlin and Vienna; as well as with top-tier orchestras in the world including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, among others.
In 2005, APAC sponsored and coordinated the master class series by legendary tenor Carlo Bergonzi in Beijing, funded by the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation; and co-sponsored the Shanghai International Master Class Opera Program, bringing coaches, conductors and stage directors from the Metropolitan Opera to work with the finest young Chinese vocalists.
APAC has consistently championed Chinese contemporary music. In 2004 it sponsored and presented the Water Passion after St. Matthew by Tan Dun in Denver. In 2007, APAC co-commissioned and co-produced Guo Wenjing’s Poet Li Bai with the Central City Opera in Colorado. The critical and public success of its world premiere in Central City led to subsequent performances in Beijing, Shanghai, Rome, Hong Kong and Los Angeles.
APAC founded the I SING BEIJING program in collaboration with Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters in 2011. The first-ever such initiative to bring Western singers to China for intensive training in both Chinese and Western operatic craft, I SING BEIJING makes its debut concert at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, celebrating also the 25th anniversary of APAC’s achievements in fostering cultural exchange and promoting the arts.