By Vanessa Kimanga, February 25, 2015
On February 25th the Shenzhen symphony in collaboration with the Seattle Symphony and Stanford University, will perform at Benaroya Hall to celebrate the Lunar Chinese New Year.
The concert will have renowned pianist Yin Chengzong, Chinese pipa artist Zhao Cong and conductor Jindong Cai.
Austin Huang, producer of the Chinese new year concert and president of the Pacific Northwest Cultural Exchange Council, named Yin Chengzong as one of the main attractions. Yin began learning piano at 7 years old and studied piano at Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Although trained as a classical pianist, he is best known for the Yellow River Concerto which he prepared and performed.
Cai is a director for the Gretchen B Kimball of Orchestral studies from Stanford, assistant conductor for Cincinnati Symphony and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. He has worked closely with conductors Jsus Lpez-Cobos, Erich Kunzel and Keith Lockhart.
Zhao Cong plays the Chinese pipa, a four stringed instrument referred to as the Chinese lute. Zhao was recruited as a pipa soloist for the central orchestra for Chinese music in Beijing; she has then toured over 20 countries performing for over dozen heads of states.
The concert holds strong cultural significance – western orchestras travel around China but this is the first time a symphony from China will perform in Seattle. This gives American audiences a unique combination of classical music and Chinese artistic traditions, and gain a better understanding of China’s current social, economic and cultural development.
“I am confident the concert will be a success because Western-style symphonies have played Chinese symphonic music in Seattle before, and it was well received,” Huang said.
The orchestra will have about 90 people, making it a full orchestra with brass, percussion, woodwind and string. The symphony will also perform at Stanford University in Palo Alto, San Jose and San Diego.
The Seattle Symphony will be able to return the favor next year. In June 2016, the Seattle Symphony will embark on its first-ever Asia tour, with appearances in Beijing, Shanghai, and Seoul.