February 8, 2016
Senior Director, Communications
TAIWANESE-AMERICAN CONDUCTOR MEI-ANN CHEN LEADS HOUSTON SYMPHONY IN LUNAR NEW YEAR CONCERT
February 18, 2016
HOUSTON (February 8, 2016) – The Houston Symphony celebrates Houston’s diverse Asian community and the Year of the Monkey with a special Lunar New Year concert featuring compositions from Asian and Asian-American composers.
Acclaimed guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen leads the orchestra for this crowd-pleasing program showcasing Asia’s unique cultural fabric at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 18 at Houston Baptist University’s Morris Cultural Arts Center. Chen was recently named one of Musical America's Top 30 Influencers of 2015 and artistic director of the 2016 National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Summer Festival.
The hour-long program commences with Li Huanzhi’s cheerful Spring Festival Overture, considered a musical and cultural gem in the Chinese community. The overture is a work that celebrates and promotes prosperity and good fortune.
In her Houston Symphony debut, violinist Jessica Lee will perform an excerpt of Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto, which was written in 1959 by two Chinese composers, Chen Gang and He Zhanhao. The Concerto is a dramatic orchestral adaptation of an ancient Chinese legend that tells the story of a boy who dies of a broken heart after his beloved girl is promised into marriage to another man. In her grief and as her wedding procession passes by the boy’s grave, the girl jumps into his resting place from where they both emerge as two butterflies, now united forever.
The violin solo and the principal cello represent the girl and the boy, respectively, in this single-movement Concerto. Composed for the western-style orchestra, Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto uses melodies from traditional Chinese folk songs and is one of the most famous modern Chinese orchestral pieces.
Also on the program is Beo Dat May Troi, a popular Vietnamese folk song arranged for orchestra by Vietnamese leading cellist Ngo Hoang Quan, and Gong Xi Gong Xi, a popular mandarin song whose title is a common Lunar New Year greeting, making it almost exclusively associated with this holiday. The song is also known for celebrating the arrival of spring. Gong Xi Gong Xi, the last song on the program, will include a sing-along component with conductor Chen leading the audience.
The concert will take place at the Morris Cultural Arts Center on the campus of Houston Baptist University (7502 Fondren, Houston, TX 77074). To purchase tickets, click here.
LUNAR NEW YEAR
February 18, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Mei-Ann Chen, conductor
Jessica Lee, violin
Li Huanzhi: Spring Festival Overture
Bright Sheng: Black Swan
Huang Ruo: Flower Drum Song from Feng Yang
Ravel: Suite from Mother Goose, selections
Bao Yuankai: Ali Mountain Evergreen
Huang An-Lun: Saibei Dance from Saibei Suite No. 2
Arr. Ngo Hoang Quan: Beo Day May Troi
Sarasate: Introduction et tarantelle for Violin and Orchestra
Chen Gang/He Zhanhao: The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto
Chen Gexin/N. Kroll-Rosenbaum: Gong Xi Gong Xi
Tickets $10 - $20
ABOUT THE HOUSTON SYMPHONY
During the 2015-16 season, the Houston Symphony will celebrate its second season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada, and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $32.8 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians and 4 community-embedded musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 300 performances for 400,000 people, including 97,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.
Vanessa Astros: (713) 337-8560,
Lorena Cozzari: (713) 337-8548,
Kristen Bennett: (713) 337-8557,