NY Phil­har­monic cel­e­brates New Year

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By NIU YUE in New York

For the fifth year in a row, the New York Phil­har­monic cel­e­brated the Chi­nese Lu­nar New Year with pieces by Chi­nese com­posers and a work in­spired by China at Lin­coln Cen­ter in New York on Tues­day night.

This year’s pro­gram pri­mar­ily fea­tured the New York pre­miere of award-win­ning Chi­nese com­poser Tan Dun’s Nvshu: The Se­cret Songs of Women, a sym­phony for harp, 13 mi­cro films, and or­ches­tra (2013), per­formed by prin­ci­pal harpist Nancy Allen.

The pro­duc­tion re­flects the com­poser’s in­ter­est in the mov­ing im­age, sound and his­tory and crafts a mul­ti­me­dia an­thro­po­log­i­cal study of a dis­ap­pear­ing lan­guage and pho­netic script ex­clu­sive to women from Tan’s na­tive Hu­nan prov­ince.

The com­poser col­lected more than 200 hours of field record­ings, which in­clude the van­ish­ing sto­ries and sounds of nvshu and its women. Each of the 13 move­ments fo­cuses on a dif­fer­ent mi­cro­film cre­ated from th­ese record­ings.

Tan’s choice of the harp re­flects not only what he con­sid­ers the in­stru­ment’s fem­i­nine sound and its style of play­ing (which evokes the women of nvshu), but also its dis­tinct phys­i­cal shape, which is sim­i­lar to one of nvshu’s cal­li­graphic char­ac­ters.

“The slow dis­ap­pear­ance of the nvshu tra­di­tion and cul­ture has trou­bled me for many years,” Tan said. “I wanted to do the field re­search, an­thro-mu­si­co­log­i­cal stud­ies, col­lect the songs of nvshu and even­tu­ally com­pose a new sym­phonic con­certo piece for the world and for my home vil­lage, to con­tinue the tra­di­tion and to cre­ate a fu­ture from the past.”

“It’s ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic. We are so lucky to hear Tan Dun’s nvshu tonight in New York,” said au­di­ence mem­ber Wendy Faw­cus “This one ( nvshu) is so melodic and so beau­ti­ful with the sounds of wa­ter com­ing through the mu­sic,” She added.

“It’s won­der­ful. The last work by Tan Dun is very pow­er­ful and beau­ti­ful,” said Marco Grana­dos, a flutist from New York.

The con­cert also fea­tured Maxim Vengerov per­form­ing the clas­si­cal Chi­nese piece The But­ter­fly Lovers Vi­olin Con­certo and Kreisler’s Tambourin Chi­nois.

The Spring Fes­ti­val Over­ture, Chi­nese com­poser Li Huanzhi’s tra­di­tional work cel­e­brat­ing the Chi­nese New Year, was once again used to open the con­cert.

Yu Long, mu­si­cal di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai Sym­phony Or­ches­tra, re­turned to the Phil­har­monic to do the hon­ors.

To salute the Year of the Mon­key, the phil­har­monic also held a free out­door event in the af­ter­noon be­fore the con­cert at Lin­coln Cen­ter’s Josie Robert­son Plaza fea­tur­ing the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Com­pany per­form­ing the tra­di­tional dragon dance, as well as pub­lic school stu­dents from the Na­tional Dance In­sti­tute per­form­ing folkin­spired dances.

United Na­tions Sec­re­taryGen­eral Ban Ki-moon, China’s Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the United Na­tions Liu Jieyi and Chi­nese Consul Gen­eral in New York Zhang Qiyue at­tended the gala.

The Starr In­ter­na­tional Foun­da­tion spon­sored the event. A por­tion of the pro­ceeds will help fund the phil­har­monic’s pro­grams at PS 120 in Flush­ing, Queens, an el­e­men­tary school at­tended by a large pop­u­la­tion of Chi­nese-Amer­i­cans and re­cent im­mi­grants from China.

NIU YUE / FOR CHINA DAILY

Chi­nese com­poser Tan Dun takes a bow af­ter the New York pre­miere of his work Nvshu:TheSe­cretSong­sofWomen, a sym­phony for 13 mi­cro films, harp and or­ches­tra at the con­cert Chi­ne­seNewYearCel­e­bra­tionTheYearoftheMon­key pre­sented by the New York Phil­har­monic at Lin­coln Cen­ter in New York on Tues­day night.

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