Rhapsody in Yellow – A Lecture Performance with Two Pianos


Rhapsody in Yellow – A Lecture Performance with Two Pianos

By Ming Wong (Singapore/Germany)


At a time of rising tensions between the United States and China, artist Ming Wong presents a musical lecture performance that traces the journey of Sino-American “ping-pong” diplomacy, starting with President Richard Nixon’s historic state visit to communist China and his meeting with Chairman Mao Zedong 50 years ago. Evoking an international piano competition and a table tennis match, two classical pianists collaborate on and improvise a performative unification of the sonic regimes of the US and China.


In a ping-pong double concerto accompanied by archival moving images and spoken word, they explore the role of European classical music, modernism and myth-making in the rise of these two nations in the 20th century. From table tennis and television to tanks and trade wars, Rhapsody in Yellow – A Lecture Performance with Two Pianos charts the changing balance of power between the two nations, in a duet of discord and harmony, chaos and serendipity, humour and pathos.


Rhapsody in Yellow premiered in Steirischer Herbst (Austria) and has been presented in other international festivals such as Berliner Festspiele and SPIELART Theatre Festival. It was conceptualised and created by acclaimed inter-disciplinary artist, Ming Wong, who has been recognised for his innovative reimaginations of film and popular culture. Touching on themes of identity, social structures and the language of cinema, his works have toured and been exhibited internationally, and is part of the collections of Singapore Art Museum; M+, Hong Kong; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. Other notable works by the artist include Life of Imitation, which represented Singapore at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 and was awarded a special mention; Wayang Spaceship (2023), commissioned by Singapore Art Museum’s The Everyday Museum; and the book for the acclaimed 1997 musical, Chang & Eng.


Rhapsody in Yellow – A Lecture Performance with Two Pianos is jointly presented by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and Singapore Art Museum, and is part of The Studios 2024.





Concept, Text and Video
Ming Wong

Music Direction
Henry Hao-An Cheng

Ben Kim, Mark Taratushkin

Music conceived by
Ming Wong, Henry Hao-An Cheng

Arranged by
Christopher Schlechte-Bond

Cinematography and Lighting
Liam Morgan

Camera Assistance
Elias Fritz

Technical Direction
Torsten Podraza

Production Management
Mariko Mikami

Commissioned by steirischer herbst ’22 and Singapore Art Museum
Produced steirischer herbst ’22
German premiere: Berliner Festspiele, January 27, 2023.


about the artist

Ming Wong, born in 1971 in Singapore, is an artist working with performance, video and installation to consider the construction, reproduction and circulation of identity. Wong represented Singapore at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 with the solo presentation Life of Imitation, which was awarded a Special Mention. He has had solo exhibitions at leading institutions worldwide, including UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo; Singapore Art Museum; REDCAT, Los Angeles; and Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai. Wong has been included in numerous international biennials, including the Venice Biennale; Performa, New York; Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane; Sydney Biennial; Shanghai Biennale; Lyon Biennale; and the Liverpool Biennial. He lives in Berlin.