By Greg Hugh | January 2023
The Minnesota Orchestra ushered in the Year of the Rabbit with a diverse repertoire by composers across cultures and generations that featured soloist baritone Joo Won Kang and Yiwen Lu, one of the world's great virtuosos on the erhu, who received several standing ovations. Musical offerings included Tan Dun's groundbreaking "Internet Symphony 'Eroica'" and selections from Bao Yuankai's folk song suite, "Chinese Sights and Sounds." (See program notes.)
CAAM Chinese Dance Theater performs at Minnesota Orchestra Hall breakout stage January 28, 2023
The two mass shootings involving Chinese communities in California during the Lunar New Year weekend cast a pall over the Chinese New Year celebrations. The orchestra had issued a statement earlier in the week acknowledging the tragedies, “The concert will “strive to embrace the joy of Lunar New Year traditions while also recognizing the loss and tragedy of this past weekend’s shooting.”
Prior to the concert, there were a variety of traditional and modern Asian dance performances, along with instrumental and vocal music presented by CAAM Chinese Dance Theater, Hua Xing Arts Groups of Minnesota, Yinghua Academy, and more, in the atrium. The pre-concert performances were presented in partnership with the Alliance of Chinese Culture and Arts.
Conductor Junping Qian was at the podium. Qian is a First Prize winner of the 2017 Bucharest International Conducting Competition and assistant conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Qian is also an accomplished violist. Host of the concert was Dr. Roz Tsai, a long-time community volunteer for youth development and arts & culture organizations.
The concert is part of the Great Northern Festival and the orchestra’s second Lunar New Year celebration.