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Thursday January 20, 2022

Minnesota Orchestra Celebrates Lunar New Year, Feb. 5 and 6

Audiences have multiple options for how to experience the concert: in person, on TV or radio, or via streaming, as well as in a Sunday one-hour Relaxed Family Concert 

The Orchestra performs two world premiere works

Many guest artists join the Orchestra, including world-renowned pipa musician Gao Hong 

The Minnesota Orchestra presents two concerts in early February that celebrate and honor the Lunar New Year, a two-week-long festival that encourages family and friends to gather together. First, on Saturday, February 5, 2022, conductor Junping Qian makes his Minnesota Orchestra debut leading an evening performance that will also be available live to TV, radio and streaming audiences as part of the This is Minnesota Orchestra series. Elements of the Saturday concert will form a one-hour Relaxed Family Concert on Sunday afternoon, February 6.

In these performances, with artistic guidance from the Minnesota Orchestra’s Principal Bassoon Fei Xie, and local partners Asian Media Access, the Orchestra performs music, including two world premieres, that honors family traditions and themes of unity and health. The concerts are hosted by Roz Tsai and feature Assistant Concertmaster Rui Du, Gao Hong on pipa (Saturday only), as well as jing hu master Zhengang Xie and yue qin master Mei Hu, the parents of Fei Xie. This program is presented as part of The Great Northern.

The concert on Sunday, February 6, is a Relaxed Family Concert designed for audiences of all ages and abilities, including individuals on the autism spectrum and those with sensory sensitivities. All are invited to enjoy music with family and friends in an inclusive environment where everyone is welcome to be who they are.

These concerts are performed at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday, February 5, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, February 6, at 2 p.m. More information is available at minnesotaorchestra.org and by phone at 612-371-5656.

For ticket and purchasing details, refer to the information section at the conclusion of this press release.

The Music
The concert on Saturday, February 5, opens with a traditional Korean folk song Arirang, a
n unofficial national anthem. The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto, featuring Minnesota Orchestra Assistant Concertmaster Rui Du, is a rarity among well-known orchestral concertos in that is credited jointly to two composers—Chen Gang and He Zhanhao. The first of two world premiere performances in this concert is Finnish composer Jaakko Kuusisto’s new arrangement of Circle of Unity, originally written by Vietnamese composer, performer and artist Trinh Cong Son.

For In the Dark Night by Chinese composer Hua Wu (1943-2020), the Minnesota Orchestra welcomes jing hu master Mr. Zhengang Xie and yue qin master Ms. Mei Hu, a husband-and-wife team who are Peking Opera musicians now based in Minnesota. Contemporary Singaporean composer Kelly Tang wrote the Sketches of Singapore in 2008, an elaborate and colorful ode to the culture and geography of his homeland.

In the second of the week’s two world premieres, the composer herself, Gao Hong, takes the stage as the soloist in her Guangxi Impression, Concerto for Pipa and Orchestra. Spring Festival Overture is the most famous composition of Chinese composer Li Huanzhi. The Overture features sounds reminiscent of fireworks and parades, along with a traditional melody conveying greetings for the New Year as well as prayers for peace and good fortune. 

Please note: The Relaxed Family Concert on Sunday, February 6, is programmed with a slightly different order of repertoire and includes all of these works with the exception of Gao Hong’s Guangxi Impression.

For complete program notes and artist profiles, visit minnesotaorchestra.org.

 

The Artists

Junping Qian, conductor

Conductor Junping Qian recently completed his second year as assistant conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He also serves as a visiting faculty member at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is also an accomplished violist.  

Roz Tsai, host
Dr. Benhong Rosaline Tsai is Vice President, Talent, Learning, and Org Effectiveness at Thrivent. She holds a doctorate degree from University of Minnesota, where she currently serves as adjunct faculty for the Carlson School of Management.

Rui Du, violin
Rui Du has been the Minnesota Orchestra’s assistant concertmaster since 2015. He emigrated to the U.S. in 2008 and studied with Victor Danchenko and Herbert Greenberg at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, earning a master’s degree and graduate performance diploma. 

Gao Hong, pipa
Chinese performer and composer Gao Hong is a master of the pear-shaped lute, the pipa. She began her career as a professional musician at age 12, and later graduated from China's premier music school, the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Gao Hong has received numerous top awards and honors and currently teaches at Carleton College. 

Zhengang Xie, jing hu & Mei Hu, yue qin 
Jing hu master Mr. Zhengang Xie and yue qin master Ms. Mei Hu are a husband-and-wife team. While in China, as the top “Cheng” style Peaking Opera fiddler, Mr. Xie and Ms. Hu performed and recorded as solo jing hu and yue qin players with many top Beijing Opera houses, including the Beijing Opera House and National Opera House. Xie and Hu currently reside in Plymouth, Minnesota.

Fei Xie, artistic consultant
Fei Xie joined the Minnesota Orchestra as principal bassoon in 2017 season after serving as principal bassoon of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble he first joined as second bassoon in 2008. When he won the principal role in 2012, Xie became the first Chinese-born bassoonist to hold such a position in a major American symphony orchestra. More: minnesotaorchestra.org.

Asian Media Access, artistic partner
Incorporated in 1992, Asian Media Access, Inc. (AMA) is a multimedia arts agency whose mission is to “Connect the Disconnected” by using multimedia arts and technology as tools for social betterment. AMA recognizes that multimedia and technology are essential for advocacy, communication and education, and by effectively utilizing these different mediums, AMA creates as well as presents programs that educate, enrich the communities, and empower all of us with critical thinking and promote good citizenship—placing special importance on preparing young people to be tomorrow’s leaders. 

 

____

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concert
LUNAR NEW YEAR
WITH THE MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA

Saturday, February 5, 2022, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall 

Minnesota Orchestra
Junping Qian
, conductor 
Roz Tsai, host
Rui Du
, violin
Gao Hong, pipa
Zhengang Xie, jing hu master
Mei Hu, yue qin master
Fei Xie, artistic consultant
Asian Media Access, artistic partner 

CHOI                                      Arirang Fantasy
CHEN/HE                               The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto
SON/J. Kuusisto                     Circle of Unity
WU                                         In the Dark Night
TANG                                     Sketches of Singapore
GAO                                       Reminiscences of My Hometown
LI                                            Spring Festival Overture 

Tickets: $27 to $67

As part of the This Is Minnesota Orchestra series, this concert will be shared live on Twin Cities PBS (via TPT's Minnesota Channel), on YourClassical MPR and at minnesotaorchestra.org.

____

Relaxed Family Concert
LUNAR NEW YEAR
WITH THE MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA

Sunday, February 6, 2022, 2 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Minnesota Orchestra
Junping Qian
, conductor 
Roz Tsai, host
Rui Du
, violin
Zhengang Xie, jing hu master
Mei Hu, yue qin master
Fei Xie, artistic consultant
Asian Media Access, artistic partner

LI                                            Spring Festival Overture
TRADITIONAL/Kim            Shin Arirang
CHEN/HE                               Selections from The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto
WU                                         In the Dark Night
TANG                                     Sketches of Singapore
SON/J. Kuusisto                     Circle of Unity

Tickets: $12

TICKET PURCHASING INFORMATION 

Individual tickets and Minnesota Orchestra subscription packages can be purchased now at minnesotaorchestra.org or by calling 612-371-5656. For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662. 

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a dated negative COVID-19 test (PCR) taken within the 72 hours prior to the event is required for all guests, including children of all ages, entering Orchestra Hall. Details at minnesotaorchestra.org/safety

We currently require masks to be worn inside ALL locations at Orchestra Hall including the lobby, auditorium and backstage. Masks can be removed outside of Orchestra Hall to enjoy a beverage on our patio spaces. Once entering Orchestra Hall, we require a mask for the duration of the experience. These policies remain in place, until further notice.

All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Sensory-Friendly and Relaxed Family Concerts are sponsored by PNC Bank.

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