Tianjin Juilliard School faculty member Jiang Yiwen fired over racist comments

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/18 17:58:21

From left: Jiang Yiwen and Shanghai Quartet members Nicholas Tzavaras, Li Weigang and Li Honggang Photo: Courtesy of The Tianjin Juilliard School

Jiang Yiwen, second violinist of Shanghai Quartet and son of reputed Chinese violinist and educator Jiang Xiongda, has been fired over racist comments made against the Chinese people, Tianjin Juilliard School announced Wednesday.

"The Tianjin Juilliard School is deeply committed to our values, which include respect for each member of the community in which we live, learn and perform. We are very disappointed by recent comments by violin faculty member Yi-Wen Jiang, which have no place in our—or any—community. We condemn them wholeheartedly. Effective immediately, Mr. Jiang is no longer employed by The Tianjin Juilliard School. We look forward to developing a robust community of artists in China based on mutual respect and the power of the arts," the school posted on its official website and on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Wednesday.

The Tianjin Juilliard School is the first overseas campus of New York's Juilliard School. It appointed the members of the Shanghai Quartet, which included Jiang Yiwen, as part of the school's newest resident faculty in October 2019. The other members of the quartet, violinists Li Weigang Li Honggang and cellist Nicholas Tzavaras, will start at the school in fall 2020. 

Jiang has been asked to leave the quartet effective immediately as well, Li announced on Wednesday morning, noting that the quartet would not tolerate such comments and condemned his behavior, especially during a difficult time when people are fighting together against the COVID-19 pandemic, reported Beijing Daily.

The comments mentioned in the statements most likely refer to a screenshot that went viral on Chines social media platform WeChat. The screenshot supposedly showed a comment from Jiang on a WeChat post from musician Liu Yunjie, in which Jiang called Chinese people "pigs." 

Liu, an associate principal viola of the San Francisco Symphony who has also worked as the viola coach of the National Youth Orchestra of China, was involved in his own controversy a few days prior after he posted a photo of the Chinese national flag with the message "coronavirus made in China" in Chinese on Facebook on Tuesday, which angered Chinese netizens.

"On behalf of the League of China Orchestras and all musicians, we are enraged by such behavior and express strong condemnation," the League of China Orchestras announced on Tuesday on its official WeChat blog.

According to the Beijing Daily report, Jiang has apologized, but Chinese netizens have refused to accept it, noting that Jiang has tarnished his identity as an artist. Many are also calling for the removal of his work from QQ Music, a popular mobile music app in China.


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