Student to perform in competition in China

Benjamin Most

Joss Saltzman ’16 will perform original songs and give speeches on his relationship with China and its language and culture in the Chinese Bridge Competition in southwest China in October.

After winning the Southern California preliminary round in May, Joss qualified to participate in the semifinals, portions of which will be televised on Chinese TV. After a week of touring Beijing, Saltzman and the other contestants will travel to Kunming, a city in Southwest China, for the actual competition.

Saltzman will give a prepared speech with 30 seconds of personal introduction and another 30 seconds explaining his friendship with Chinese pianist Lang Lang, with whom he performed a piano piece on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in 2012, and the World Leading Schools Association conferences he attended with students from the United States and China.

Saltzman will also give an impromptu speech, sing original songs he has written in Chinese, take written exams on grammar, culture and idioms and present a video.

Among the songs Joss has written is one that describes the power of music to bring people together.

“For me, I feel like the speaking portion and the talent portion are going to be very strong because that’s what I can prepare for the most,” Saltzman said. “I’ve obviously had a lot of experience with culture in our Chinese curriculum, but they could ask questions that are entirely out of left field, so I have no expectations.”

In the second round of the competition, students will compete in shorter versions of the events of the first round.

“After the speech, test and talent portions, there’s another round, which is like mini-games,” Saltzman said. “There’s a smaller test, a smaller speech, and a smaller talent performance. In general, I think it should go well.”

One of the goals of the Chinese Bridge competition is to join together separate cultures and help students understand foreign customs.

“I’ll have the opportunity to meet people from around the world, but we all like Chinese, so we have something in common,” Saltzman said.