Four Chinese soloists in music competition semi-finals in Houston

Updated: 2014-05-29 05:03

By MAY ZHOU in Houston (China Daily USA)

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Four Chinese soloists in music competition semi-finals in Houston 

Violinist Tong Yan (right) performs at a reception for four of the Ima Hogg Concerto competition semi-finalists. From left: semi-finalists Lin Yuebing, Shen Jiuming, Ma Lin, He Fangyue, Houston Symphony CEO Mark Hanson and competition chair Hellen Shaffer. MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY 

Four Chinese musicians, selected to be among the 10 semi-finalists in the Ima Hogg Concerto Competition, were introduced to the local Chinese community on Tuesday evening at a special reception hosted by the Houston Symphony and the Chinese Consulate General. The event, held at the elegantly designed Zhang Yaowu Art Center, was part of the Houston Symphony's efforts to better connect with Houston's Chinese community.

Yang Song, Chinese consul for cultural affairs, said in his opening remarks that the Chinese semi-finalists opened channels of communication between people of different cultures.

"Music is a language without barriers," he said, "it's communication that touched the human heart and builds friendship." Yang said he looks forward to more similar partnerships with the Houston Symphony in the future.

Named to honor the memory of its co-founder Miss Ima Hogg, the Houston Symphony's Ima Hogg Concerto Competition has more than 40 years of history. Its director and CEO Mark Hanson said more than 100 musicians aged between 13 and 30 around the world entered the competition and after the first round, 10 were chosen to compete in front of a panel of judges at Rice University from May 29 to June 1.

Four finalists will be selected from Thursday's competition to perform with the Houston Symphony on Saturday in the finals. The top winner will be awarded $25,000 plus a solo appearance with Houston Symphony. Other winners will share $15,000 in prize money.

Hanson also said to better reach out to the community, the Houston Symphony will perform a free concert at the Chinese Community Center on June 7 at 7:30 pm and he welcomes all music lovers to attend.

All four Chinese semi-finalists are currently studying in music schools in the US. They are: pianists Lin Yuebing from New York's Juilliard School and Shen Jiuming from Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles; violinist He Fangyue from the Manhattan School of Music; and clarinetist Ma Lin from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music in Houston.

Both Shen and He studied at Shanghai Conservatory prior to coming to the US, while the other two had their undergraduate training in the US.

Lin Yuebing joked that his parents chose music for him but he continued doing it "because how much I get to meet people and how much I travel around". Last year, Lin was chosen to represent Juilliard School in a performance at a welcoming party for Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong.

Tong Yan, a violinist from the Houston Symphony, performed at the event. Other attendees included Houston Symphony director of community partnerships Steve Wenig and competition chair Hellen Shaffer. The event was sponsored by the Frank Leung Cultural Exchange Foundation, the North American Youth Chinese Orchestra, Zhang Yaowu Art Center and the Shanghai Fellow Association.