Adelaide to see premiere of iconic Chinese composer’s exploration of the secret songs of women.

Adelaide Festival Centre has unveiled the program for the 2014 OzAsia Festival, the annual celebration of Adelaide’s sister state, Shadong Province in China. The festival runs from 3-20 September, showcasing 21 performances and 36 events that promote the rich history and resplendent culture of the region, with more than 250 artists and presenters gathering from across the globe.

Amongst this talent is world renowned composer and conductor Tan Dun, who joins the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra to present the Australian premiere of Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women. The culmination of years of research, Nu Shu explores the secret language developed by women in 13th-century feudal China, weaving heart-wrenching stories of mothers and daughters navigating their lives in secret through the use of the ancient syllabic script.

Central to the composition is the harp solo, an instrument chosen by the composer for its lithe, feminine sound and distinctive curved lines, which are evocative of the elegant, slim language of Nu Shu, as well as the gender that created it. Elizabeth Hainen, solo harpist with the Philadelphia Orchestra since 1994, will join Tan Dun and the ASO for the Australian premiere during the OzAsia festival. Sold out crowds gave the composer a “rock-star ovation” in Beijing at the Chinese premiere in May.

Other acts include Synergy Percussion Meets Noreum Machi, which sees Australia’s oldest and foremost contemporary music ensemble join forces with one of Korea’s most important proponents of traditional drumming. The world-first music project explores the unique cultural and musical fusion in a dark, vibrant and transformative concert experience.

The premiere and exclusive performance of Red Sorghum by the Qingdao Song and Dance Theatre Company, renowned for their breathtaking work, presents themes of love, affection and patriotism. Adapted from the novel by Shandong’s Nobel Prize winning author Mo Yan, and the winner of this year’s Wenhua Prize, China’s Ministry of Culture’s highest award for professional arts, the piece combines dance with unique musical compositions by Cheng Yuan.

Shandong Acrobatic Troupe will provide a visually stunning experience for the whole family, with dream-like staging bringing ghosts, foxes, immortals and demons to life in the Australian premiere of Dream of the Ghost Story, while TAO Dance Theatre, Bejing’s famed minimalist dance troupe, is set to captivate Adelaide audiences with the performance of 6 (yes, that is the title!) and the world premiere of 7.

The program boasts six world premieres and seven Australian premieres, as well as eight South Australian premieres and 26 Adelaide exclusives.

OzAsia Festival 2014 runs in Adelaide from September 3-20.