By Nina Huang
Northwest Asian Weekly
For the first time ever, the Seattle Symphony and the Seattle Chinese Orchestra will play together on the same stage.
According to Elena Dubinets, vice president of Artistic Planning and Creative Projects at the Seattle Symphony, no other American symphony has played with a Chinese orchestra before.
To celebrate the Seattle Symphony’s 10th annual Celebrate Asia event, they are bringing back the event’s very first guest Warren Chang, director of the Seattle Chinese Orchestra and founder and president of the Chinese Arts and Music Association (CAMA). CAMA is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to disseminate the essence of Chinese culture in the United States.
Several of Chang’s students will be performing at the event as part of the Seattle Chinese Orchestra Youth Ensemble.
In addition, the performance will also feature the up-and-coming conductor, DaYe Lin. Celebrate Asia will mark his debut at the Seattle Symphony.
To note, Lin won first prize at the 6th Sir Georg Solti International Conductors Competition in Frankfurt in 2012.
“We always look for new opportunities to bring new faces to the symphony. He’s quite promising and we’ve been watching him for awhile… I’m hoping he’ll do well here and that he can come back in another capacity,” Dubinets said.
Dubinets said that last year’s concert incorporated Indian components, and they decided to continue to feature Indian music again this year since they hadn’t done enough in the past. She said that sitar virtuoso Nishat Khan will be playing his own compositions with the orchestra.
There are about 80 members of the Seattle Symphony. The Seattle Chinese Orchestra is made up of 16 people who play the erhu (Chinese violin), four dizi (bamboo flute), eight pipa (big lute), two yangqin (Chinese dulcimer), two guzheng (Chinese zither), 12 cellists, four bassists, and four percussionists. In addition, the Seattle Chinese Orchestra Youth Ensemble is made up of four erhu, one yang, two pipa, one guzheng, two dizi, and bells.
Patrons can look forward to the two orchestras playing side by side during the second half of the program. Dubinets said that both orchestras will be positioned next to each other and they’ll play a Mozart piece in different configurations.
In the final act, both orchestras will play commissioned arrangements of Chinese folk songs and a medley of music from notable Chinese films.
Attendees can also look forward to pre- and post-concert performances in the lobby. Celebrate Asia will showcase dancers from Huayin Performing Arts Group, GDPT Lieu Quan – Co Lam Pagoda, Duoc Su Lion dance team, Rhythms of India, as well as drummers from CHIKIRI and the school of TAIKO. On the heels of last year’s participation, Aleksa
Manila, prominent figure in Seattle’s LGBTQ community, will again host pre- and post-concert performances.
Dubinets encouraged attendees to wear festive attire to Celebrate Asia, as it is a great celebration of different cultures and traditions.
Nina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.