By Andrew Hamlin
Northwest Asian Weekly
The Seattle Symphony’s “Celebrate Asia” Concert, upcoming Sunday, March 1, features guest conductor Carolyn Kuan. Amongst other pieces, the symphony will be performing the U.S. premiere of “Revive,” a concerto for koto and shakuhachi written by Japanese composer Yugo Kanno. Another prominent piece, “Xizi,” from Chinese composer Ye Yanchen, won this year’s “Celebrate Asia Composition Competition,” sponsored by the Seattle Symphony. Public relations manager You You Xia took some questions over email.
NWAW: How were the specific pieces chosen?
You You Xia: Programs on Celebrate Asia are chosen through a variety of ways. The piece by Yugo Kanno, for example, was brought to our attention by a Celebrate Asia committee member, who also commissioned the piece. Overall, each year we aim to present new music inspired by Asian culture or written by Asian composers, present Asian performers and conductors both locally and internationally, and overall be attuned and responsive to Seattle’s Asian community.
NWAW: How did Seattle Symphony go about recruiting the guest performers? Which of them are local?
You You Xia: Cellist Meeka Quan DiLorenzo is a Seattle Symphony musician. Guest performers are chosen through a variety of ways. With Kanno’s piece, once again, the soloists were suggested by the composer in consultation with Yoshi Minegishi, commissioner of the piece.
NWAW: How do the pre-concert festivities differ from the show itself? Which performers will be showcased there?
You You Xia: The pre-concert festivities are more like a mini-festival, and takes place in the lobby. It’s not a concert performance which involves the Symphony. The events represent various Asian cultures, such as the Japanese Taiko drumming, the Taiwnese Aborigine dances, etc. They are also not restricted to music only.
NWAW: How did the idea for the show grow and change over time?
You You Xia: The goal of Celebrate Asia has not changed over time, it has always been about honoring the Asian community in Seattle. The concert program each year is put together through a combination of our usual artistic selection process, and also feedback we get from the Asian community.
NWAW: Are there any plans to do similar events in the future?
You You Xia: This is an annual event, so yes, it will definitely happen again next year.
For more information about the program and the pre-program festivities, visit http://www.seattlesymphony.org/about/newsroom/pressrelease/celebrate-asia.
Andrew Hamlin can be reached at email@example.com.