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Chinese New Year Concert and Gala in New York

In celebration of the Chinese New Year of the Rooster, the New York Philharmonic presented China Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring artistic director and conductor Long Yu, and the concert at David Geffen Hall of Lincoln Center in Manhattan on the evening of January 31. The concert greatly showcased the brilliance of both eastern and western arts, celebrating the cultural heritage of China and the West. This was the sixth year that the China Philharmonic Orchestra holds a festive concert in celebration of Chinese New Year, and the concert has become a custom of New York’s “Happy Chinese New Year” event.

China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Liu Jieyi, Consul General Zhang Qiyue, Coordinator for Multilingualism for the United Nations Catherine Pollard and all walks of life in New York attended the concert. Three thousand of audience enjoyed the latest developments of China-US cultural and artistic corporation in a wonder ambience of Chinese New Year. This year’s program featured two soloists making their Philharmonic debuts: trumpet player Alison Balsom in the U.S. Premiere of Chen Qigang’s Joie Éternelle (Eternal Joy), for trumpet and orchestra — which was written for her and which she premiered with the China Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014 — and soprano Sumi Jo in “Signore, ascolta!” from Puccini’s Turandot, “Ah, vous dirai-je, maman” from Adam’s Le Toréador with Principal Flute Robert Langevin, and three Chinese folk songs for soprano and orchestra: “A Little Path,” Huang Zi’s “Three Rose Wishes,” and Li Qingzhu’s “I Live Beside the Yangtze River.” The program also featured Concertmaster Frank Huang performing Saint-Saëns’s Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso; Ravel’s Boléro; and the Spring Festival Overture, Li Huanzhi’s traditional work celebrating the Chinese New Year, which was once again opened the concert.

The David Geffen Hall was in full-house that evening, and many audience dressed up in red or in traditional Chinese outfit. Consul General Zhang Qiyue commented during interviews that the festive concert with the New York Philharmonic has become a custom celebration of Chinese New Year and “Happy Chinese New Year” event has become the sign of China-US relationship and the China-US cultural exchange. More and more Americans are joining the celebration of Chinese New Year and there is an increasing variety of events in New York, especially after Lunar New Year became an official holiday in New York public schools in 2016.

Catherine Pollard read the Message for Lunar New Year from the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during the dinner that followed.

Guterres pointed out in the message that “The Year of the Rooster symbolizes early starts and new beginnings. It stresses the importance of energy, determination and a strong sense of responsibility at work. These are inspiring attributes to help guide us in troubled times […] China plays a vital role for the UN […] I welcomed [President Xi’s] commitment to multilateralism as we strive to advance our common goals for the future.”

Prior to the concert, a performance of dragon dance by Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company and rooster dance by National Dance Institute shined together with two golden rooster figures on the second floor of David Geffen Hall from China Central Academy of Fine Arts, adding another layer to the festive celebration.

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